Built-in TV speakers are limited in size as well as power capacity. Apart from that, the sound quality from built-in speakers is highly dependent on the installation of the TV. In most cases, the speakers are either on the rear side or on the lower portion of the TV which affects the sound quality.
To avoid these problems, you can simply get an external audio system connected to your newly bought TV. There are many different types of external speakers that are available for TVs such as home theatres, studio reference monitors, and soundbars. Out of which, the soundbars are quite popular. Today, we will learn how to connect a soundbar to the TV without any hassle.
Ways to Connect Soundbar To TV?
For a majority of users, a soundbar is the best solution to obtain high-quality sound output from the TV. Soundbars are generally versatile in nature and they are perfect for all applications whether you are watching a movie, playing a game, or simply listening to music on your TV. The soundbars also support many different types of inputs that allow you to connect them with your TV. Let’s take a look at the options you have to connect your soundbar to a TV.
1. HDMI Cable
The HDMI connection is considered to be the best possible solution for connecting your soundbar to your TV. Almost all TVs support HDMI connections that are highly reliable and support both audio as well as video signals. Also, HDMI cables support even 5.1 or 7.1 audio systems to generate perfect surround sound in your room.
Before you connect your soundbar to your TV via HDMI cable, make sure your TV supports an HDMI ARC connection. If your TV supports it, you will be able to use your soundbar as a singular audio output for all your systems like set-top boxes, game consoles, and TV.
Simply, connect the HDMI cable to your soundbar and the other end to your TV’s HDMI port. After that, select the HDMI ARC or HDMI Out mode on your soundbar. Once you set up your soundbar, you will be good to go for a high-end sound experience. Let’s try to understand why HDMI cables are better than many other options.
Why Use HDMI Cable over Other Options?
First of all, HDMI cables are primarily designed to carry large chunks of data which is the video as well as audio signals from the source. Thus, if you use the HDMI cable for audio, you can expect uncompressed audio quality through your soundbar.
You must have heard about popular sound processing technologies like Dolby Atmos and DTS: Virtual X that are common in premium TVs. Well, the HDMI output ports on the TV are capable of processing this newer technology via the HDMI cable. Hence, you can get a truly cinematic experience by choosing an HDMI cable for an audio connection.
2. Digital Optical Cable
While HDMI cables are possibly the best option for audio output, it’s not available in many cases. Your TV or your soundbar may not support an HDMI connection. In such a case, you can use the digital optical cable for sound output.
The digital optical cable connection might be unfamiliar for desktop and laptop users as it is exclusively available on TVs and sound systems like soundbars and home theaters. The digital optical cable converts the sound signals into light in order to transfer the data. Here’s how you can connect your soundbar to your TV via the digital optical cable.
First of all, refer to the instruction manual of your soundbar and make sure whether it supports the digital optical or digital coaxial cable. If it does support digital optical cable, you will have to get your hands on a high-quality cable. You Can find the digital optical port on the rear side of your TV. Simply connect the digital optical cable to your TV and soundbar and it will automatically detect the soundbar as output.
3. Digital Coaxial Cable
Digital coaxial cables, as the name suggests, feature a coaxial connection that goes in the dedicated port on the as well as soundbar. The coaxial cables also look quite similar to the RCA cables. But, it has a high impedance value (around 75 Ω). Hence, it might not work if you route it through your TV’s RCA ports.
Coaxial cables are slowly getting replaced with digital optical cables because of their potential digital noise problem. But, digital coaxial cables still sound a little better than the optical connection due to high bandwidth capacity. To connect your TV with a digital coaxial cable, simply connect your TV to your soundbar via a gold plated cable to avoid the digital noise issue.
Major Differences Between Digital Optical and Digital Coaxial Cable
Both digital coaxial and digital optical cables are designed to carry audio signals from your TV to your soundbar. But, both options feature their own advantages and limitations. If you have both options available in your system, take a look at their differences presented below.
A digital optical connection utilizes fiber optic cables to transfer the sound signals. The audio signals are first converted into pulses of light which are then transferred through the cable to the designated unit.
Because the signals are passed via light, you will not experience any digital noise in these cables whatsoever. Thus, this type of connection is perfectly suitable for a DAC-enabled soundbar. But due to the limitation on bandwidth, digital optical cables tend to compress the Dolby Digital and DTS generated audio signals.
In the case of digital coaxial cables, the sound signals are directly transferred through the cable which is similar to RCA connections. These cables are rigid in construction and highly durable against bends and twists. Also, digital coaxial cables are comparatively thicker than the RCA cables to provide better stability and bandwidth capacity.
The sound quality obtained on the digital coaxial cables is somewhat superior to the digital optical cables. It can carry uncompressed Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound, using your soundbar maximum potential. But, a lot of people experience digital noise from older digital coaxial cables.
4. 3.5 mm Line Out Cable or RCA cables
Coming to the analog type of connections, you can either go with a 3.5 mm line out connection or an RCA connection for your soundbar. Both of these options are highly traditional and most commonly available on the majority of TVs. Thus, if you are using a brand new soundbar with your old TV, it is probably the only option available in your case.
Using 3.5 mm Cable To Connect The Soundbar To TV
To connect your soundbar to your TV via 3.5 mm cable, your TV must have a “line out” port available. These ports look familiar to the general 3.5 mm ports available on laptops and smartphones. Once you find the correct port, just connect your cable to both TV and soundbar and you are good to go. Just make sure you don’t use the headphone jack port instead of the line out port in order to assure high quality sound.
Using RCA Cables To Connect The Soundbar To TV
RCA ports have been used for audio as well as video input/output on TVs for decades. Thus, you will easily recognize the RCA ports on your TV as they are color coded. Even the RCA cables themselves are color coded. To connect your soundbar to your TV via RCA ports, you simply have to insert the red cable in the red RCA port and the white cable in the white RCA port. In the case of your soundbar, you will have similar color coded ports. Just plug the cables in and you can enjoy your soundbar right away.
5. Headphone Jack
Using the headphone jack for sound output on your TV should be your last resort if none of the above mentioned options worked for you. All you need to do is set up the line out port as a headphone jack through your TV system settings and you can plug your soundbar in the line out port of your TV.
While buying a soundbar, you will have to go through its specification in order to select a compatible option with your TV. In most cases, users buy the soundbar for their currently existing TV. In such a case, you should know the different types of connections available on your TV as well as your soundbar. Now that you have gone through our article, you can easily distinguish between multiple different ports and select the most compatible soundbar for your TV.