4 ways to connect soundbars to TV

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In recent times we have seen how the television sector is interested by a technological evolution which leads the main companies to create products that are more and more up to the needs of customers, with functionality that allow you to have the best possible experience.

Among the many improvements that can be found in the most modern models there is certainly also the audio compartment , with functions and technologies that allow you to enjoy watching movies, TV series, programs and even listening to your favorite music with a truly exceptional audio level.

However, this is not always the case. It may happen to come across some model that instead from the audio point of view really leaves something to be desired , despite the good conditions “told” in the technical sheet.

Likewise, if we have a somewhat dated TV and don’t have the budget for it buy a new model , we will probably have to settle for a fairly mediocre audio.

The solution is there, and it consists in the use of soundbar , a type of speaker that manages to enhance the TV sound in such a way as to make it finally satisfying. However, there are many models on the market, and it is therefore necessary to clarify some aspects, since the various soundbars have a wide choice of different cables and connectors.

First of all it is good to understand how a soundbar connects to our television. The modalities are essentially two, that is using the soundbar as a hub which is done by simply connecting the cable to the TV, and setting the soundbar as a speaker, connecting all other devices to the TV and finally the television itself to the soundbar.

Keeping in mind that the TV must have “ARC” compatibility, let’s take a look at the better options to connect the soundbar to the television.


hdmi connectors

A HDMI cable it is certainly the best way to connect the soundbar to the TV.

Why use HDMI?

Because HDMI cables have the ability to carry large amounts of data uncompressed digital audio. An HDMI cable responds very well to any 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound system , perhaps even at a higher level.

In addition, HDMI cables are also capable of processing new cinematic experiences such as DTS: X and Dolby Atmos. The important thing is to be careful to connect the cable to the right port.

Most of the HDMI ports found on televisions are input-only. What does it mean? In short they can only receive data from connected devices, and do not send them.

How do you connect the soundbar to the TV via HDMI?

To connect the soundbar via an HDMI cable, your TV must support “HDMI-ARC”. The abbreviation stands for “Audio Return Channel” , a terminology that indicates just how audio can travel in both directions along the cable.

If your TV supports ARC connections it is possible connect any type of device (set-top box, game console, etc.) to the soundbar, then using a single HDMI cable to connect the soundbar to the TV.

When connecting from HDMI-ARC on the TV, be sure to use HDMI-ARC or HDMI Out on the soundbar. To connect other devices to the soundbar, such as game consoles, HDMI In is used.

But do all soundbars have an HDMI connection? Not exactly, as functionality is guaranteed only on medium-high range products. So how to do it if our model does not have one? Let’s see some alternative solutions.

2. Optical digital or coaxial digital

digital optical cable

In case the soundbar does not have a HDMI connector , here is that the most popular alternative becomes the use of a optical digital cable or a digital coaxial, capable of transferring digital audio up to 5.1 surround sound.

What is the difference between digital optics and digital coaxial?

The first difference that immediately catches the eye is that the optical cable has a square connector , while the coaxial cable has a circular connector. Furthermore, optical cables are slightly different from axial cables because they convert the electrical signal into optical light so that you can send it along the cable , and then convert it back to an electrical signal at the other end.

Just this difference pushes several people to prefer the optical cable and the coaxial one, with the hope of being able to have less electrical interference . However, it should be noted that both solutions are capable of sending a high quality digital signal.

Before purchasing, best to give a careful look at the back of your TV. Most TVs have an optical connector, but not all TVs support digital coax.

3. 3.5mm or RCA line out

RGB connector

Both of these cable types carry analog audio rather than digital, so they are unable to deliver a complete digital surround sound experience . However, if we are unable to equip ourselves with any of the options described above, we could still be satisfied with this solution to connect the soundbar to the TV.

How do I connect the soundbar to the TV using the 3.5mm line out?

All we have to pay attention to is using the 3.5mm output connector labeled “line out” on the TV , without getting confused with the headphone jack (which looks very similar).

Why is it better to avoid the second option? The reason is to be found in the audio quality , since connecting the soundbar to the headphone socket of the TV the sound will be far from optimal. This is why it is always best to check that the TV has an output port.

Once the cable is connected to the line-out port, that’s it connect the other end to the soundbar And that’s it.

How do you connect the soundbar to the TV via RCA?

Those most accustomed to these technologies will know immediately recognize the stereo RCA input / output jacks , that is, the red and white connectors.

The procedure is very simple, and consists of connect the red connector to the red output socket and the white one to the white output socket on the TV, then connect the other end to the soundbar.

If you have a TV without a stereo RCA output, you can connect the soundbar to a set-top box, or to a DVD or Blu-Ray player. However, it should be borne in mind that the sound will only play from the device to which it is connected.

4. Headphone jack

headphone jack

Suppose we can’t have it available none of the options described so far: what is there left to do? The last alternative is to connect the soundbar to the TV using the headphone jack . As mentioned the sound will not be of the highest quality, but adjusting the TV’s volume settings you can try to improve this aspect.

How do I connect the soundbar to the TV using the headphone jack?

Some TVs, such as the JVC models, have an option in the settings that allows you to change the function headphone jack into a ‘line-out’ connection. This way the user no longer has to worry about adjusting audio settings.

If, on the other hand, we have a TV that does not provide this option, the only way is that of adjust the volume settings , bass and treble until we are satisfied with the sound, bearing in mind that any device plugged into the headphone jack has the reduced volume for security reasons.

Therefore, it will be necessary turn up the volume on the TV much higher than normal levels, then remembering to lower it before disconnecting the soundbar.

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