How to Connect Soundbar to Your TV without Optical Cable

By Sean Williamson

Purdue University

Licensed according to this deed.

Published on

Abstract

There is no question smart technology has made our lives easier. Thanks to IoT and smart devices that are available in the market today such as our smartphones, smart TVs, voice activated personal assistants, home appliances, self-driven cars, etc., it’s ever easier to connect multiple devices without much of a hindrance. Speaking of smart TVs, if you want better sound and your TV didn’t come with a home theater, a soundbar is one smart solution for all your entertainment needs.

In this post we will try to explain how you can connect a soundbar to your TV without an optical cable.

1. HDMI-ARC

You can connect your soundbar using HDMI-ARC. ARC, also known as Audio Return Channel, allows sound signals to travel in both directions along the cable.

With an ARC port on your TV you can connect set-top boxes, game consoles, etc., to your soundbar. Using just a single HDMI cable you will be able to connect a soundbar to your TV. You can connect either through ARC or HDMI Out on the soundbar. HDMI In is for connecting other kits like Blu-ray players or game consoles. HDMI uses uncompressed digital audio data and supports sound systems from 5.1 to 7.1 surround sound, and even higher. It can also process new sound formats like DTS: X and Dolby Atmos.

Most mid to high-end kits come with HDMI and if yours doesn't have one, the next section will tell you how to connect with Bluetooth. 

To connect via HDMI-ARC:

1. Put your TV and soundbar on.
2. Locate HDMI OUT port on your soundbar and plug in the HDMI cable.
3. Locate HDMI IN (ARC) port on your TV and plug in the other end of the HDMI cable.

2. Bluetooth

Your Smart TV probably came with Bluetooth technology. That’s another way to connect your soundbar to your TV without an optical cable and enjoy much better sound. Moreover, you’ll be completely cable-free with this technology thereby minimizing the clutter. So if you’re in San Diego watching your favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime can be a treat on your smart TV, especially if you have lag-free internet offed by Cox San Diego, that too, with a big sound.

To connect via Bluetooth:

1. Make sure your soundbar and TV support Bluetooth technology.
2. Read the manuals for your soundbar and TV and follow the instructions to pair up the two gadgets.
3. Call or ask the manufacturer’s sales support if necessary.

Different gadgets and devices have different modes of connecting with Bluetooth. So should be the case with your TV as every set differs from the other. There are devices that don’t come with the technology but you can turn them into Bluetooth capable devices by using TaoTronics BA10 Bluetooth transmitter. Doing this will enable you to connect your soundbar and TV via Bluetooth. Again, do check the manual that accompanies your soundbar and TV or calls the manufacturer for support and guidance.

 

3. RCA

This is an analog cable rather than digital so it’s not capable of delivering full digital surround sound. It’s a good option if none of the above are available. Anyone who’s ever hooked up a VCR or CD player to a TV set should know what an RCA cable is. This is the one with the three color-coded plugs on one end that connects to your device. Connect the cable according to the corresponding colors such as the red connector into the red output and the white into the white output on your TV while the other end connects to the soundbar.

Red and white or black are usually for right and left audio while yellow is for video.

You can also connect game consoles, CD players, cable boxes, satellite receivers, etc., with the RCA cable. Moreover, if you lack a stereo RCA output and you need to set up a set-top box, DVD or Blu-Ray player you’ll have to plug your soundbar into one of these devices for sound. The only thing is the sound will only play from the device it's connected to.

4. 3.5mm Line Out

This option allows you to plug the cable into the “Line Out” jack on your TV and not the headphone one. So check your TV has a line out port before proceeding. After plugging your cable into the line-out port, plug the other end into the soundbar, and enjoy better sound. 

5. Headphone jack

Connect your Soundbar to your TV using the headphone jack. You can change the headphone jack to “line-out” so you won’t have to adjust the sound settings.

Using the headphone jack reduces the volume, albeit, for safety reasons. Turn the TV volume up and don’t forget to turn it down before unplugging the Soundbar.

6. Television or Soundbar as the Media Hub

You can enable your TV to become a media hub by connecting other media components directly to your TV. Connecting Blu-ray players, gaming consoles now is as easy as 1-2-3.

However, if your TV is wall-mounted a more sophisticated soundbar with several HDMI or ARC ports is the solution.

Conclusion

As you can see there are many ways to connect your Soundbar to a TV without an optical cable. If you don’t know how just follow the instruction manual that came with your soundbar and your TV to steer you in the right direction. Once connected you’ll get the better sound to enjoy the best entertainment at home.

 

Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  • Sean Williamson (2019), "How to Connect Soundbar to Your TV without Optical Cable," https://stemedhub.org/resources/4291.

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