A Soundbar is an electronic device that allows you to have a unique theatrical experience from the comfort of your home. The soundbar eliminates the need for having a home-theatre and surround system speakers, thereby saving you a lot of space and money.
At first glance, connecting a soundbar to your TV may seem like a daunting and complex task. However, our step by step guide will make the work easier and help set up your soundbar in no time. There is more than one way to connect your soundbar with the TV. We have listed out all the different methods from which you can choose the one that is the most convenient for you.
1. Bluetooth and Wireless
If you are someone who likes to go completely wireless, then this is the best option for you. You don’t have to be concerned about where to place the soundbar as you are not limited to the length of cables. The whole setup would look neat and elegant, in addition to enriching the sound quality.
How to Connect?
Connecting your soundbar to a TV using Bluetooth is relatively easy. While the specific way to pair up your soundbar and TV differences across brands, you just have to select your soundbar device name from the Bluetooth visible devices option shown in your TV and then pair it up. If you have created a security key for pairing your soundbar, you will have to enter it and then your TV would be paired. Some brands also offer their own wireless connection options instead of Bluetooth.
- Wireless and easy to connect.
- Don’t need any additional cables or connectors.
- Provides the option to move your soundbar anywhere you want.
- Unstable connection.
- Does not provide the best audio quality.
- Audio latency issues (delay in transmission of data) leading to delayed audio output.
This is the simplest way to connect your soundbar to the TV. Because of the HDMI cable’s capacity to transmit a large bandwidth of uncompressed audio, it is the most preferred option. Apart from this, it supports sound systems from 5.1 to 7.1 and the latest cinematic experiences including Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.
How to Connect?
Connecting your soundbar to TV is as simple as plug and play. In order to connect using an HDMI cable, your TV must support ‘HDMI-ARC’ where ARC stands for Audio Return Channel. You should connect the cable to the HDMI-ARC or the HDMI Out port of the soundbar. The other port HDMI In can be used to connect gaming consoles and other such devices.
- Hassle-free way since it uses only a single cable.
- Supports a large-bandwidth of uncompressed data, thereby providing the best cinematic experience.
- Process the latest and advanced audio formats including Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.
- Older TVs might lack HDMI ports and hence it is not a viable option.
- Expensive when compared to analog cables.
3. Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial
If your TV lacks an HDMI port, then we have got the second-best thing for you. The digital optical and coaxial cables are similar to each other in many ways except the shape of the connector. The former has a square connector and the latter has a circular connector. They are capable of handling digital output of up to 5.1 surround sound.
How to connect?
Similar to HDMI, these come with a single cable and you just have to plug it at the right port mentioned in the TV and soundbar. It is worth noting that while most TVs will have an optical port, they might not have a coaxial port.
- Easy to set up the connection.
- Can support audio output up to 5.1 surround system.
- Affordable than HDMI cables.
- Does not have the bandwidth to support Dolby Atmos and other latest digital outputs.
- Some distortion and loss of data during transmission is bound to occur
4. 3.5mm Line Output and RCA
These are probably the oldest method of connecting your TV to speakers and gaming consoles. If your TV is old and lacks the aforementioned ports, then these are the only viable options to connect your soundbar to the TV. They do a decent job in transmitting data and improving the sound quality of your TV.
How to Connect?
You need to connect one end of the 3.5mm line output cable to the ‘line out’ port of your TV while the other end of the cable is connected to the soundbar. The RCA cable has two connectors in one end and one connector in the other end. The connectors are color-coded to match the ports on the TV. The white colored-connector should be inserted into the white socket and the red colored-connector into the red socket.
- Only viable option if TVs lack HDMI and digital output ports
- Cheaper than other cables
- Cannot deliver a full digital surround experience
- Can become clumsy since it has two or three connectors.
5. Headphone Jack
This is the least preferred method and is only opted for when other connections are not viable. Although they can not offer the same audio quality of HDMI and digital optical/coaxial cables, they provide a good audio experience under the right settings.
How to Connect?
If your TV has an option to change the function of a headphone jack to a ‘line-out’ connection, then you are good to go. Otherwise, you will have to change the audio settings until it produces good sound quality. In general, any audio device connected with a headphone jack has reduced volume owing to safety concerns. Hence, you will have to raise the volume high to get a decent enough sound experience.
- Only viable option if your TV is old and lacks other other ports.
- Cheaper than other cables
- Audio output is not up to the desired quality.
- Does not support the latest audio formats.
Frequently Asked Questions?
Most soundbars are compatible with all TVs irrespective of brand. If your TV has an HDMI port, then you can be assured that any soundbar can be connected to your TV. If not, you have to check the compatibility of your TV and soundbar you are intending to purchase.
If your TV lacks an HDMI port, you can either connect it wirelessly or through other ports such as digital optical, digital coaxial, RCA, and headphone jacks.
HDMI cables support sound systems up to 7.1 and advanced audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. On the other hand, optical cables can support sound systems up to only 5.1.
It is not necessary for your soundbar and TV to be of the same brand. However, you can make use of certain additional functions if they are from the same brand.
If you are using a wired connection, your soundbar will be paired once you turn on the TV and soundbar. In the case of a wireless connection, the two devices will be paired once you turn on Bluetooth and choose the device name. Once paired, most TVs will automatically emit a test sound through the soundbar to confirm that the connection has been established.
You will have to visit the settings option in your TV menu and change audio options from ‘internal speakers’ to ‘external’, ‘receiver’, or ‘optical’. Also, make sure to double-check if you plugged the cables into the sockets properly.
While HDMI cables may seem to be the most ideal choice for connecting your soundbar with a TV to get the most enriching audio experience, the lack of HDMI ports will mean that you have to settle with digital optical or RCA cables. On the other hand, Bluetooth connectivity gives you the freedom to go completely wireless. Opting for a way to connect your soundbar to TV is a highly personalized choice. Depending on the available ports and your preference, you can opt for the one that offers you the most convenient and cinematic experience.