Soundbars are an incredible piece of technology that can transform your overall audio experience within your home theater. But, if you already know that and are looking to set up the new Soundbar that you just brought home, you might be wondering what to do with the HDMI cable.
To connect a soundbar to a TV with the HDMI cable, you will connect both devices to power and turn them on, locate the HDMI input (ARC) on the TV and the HDMI output (ARC) port on the Soundbar, plug the cable into each device respectively, and adjust the settings on your TV to select the Soundbar as the preferred speaker output.
Of course, there are other ways to connect a Soundbar to a TV, but using an HDMI cable is really quite simple.
Since one of the benefits of a Soundbar is that it streamlines multiple channels of audio into one piece of sound equipment, you might only have to worry about this singular cabled connection (and a source of power for the device).
Let’s take a closer look at the specifics as well as other methods of connecting a Soundbar to your TV.
Also read: How to Hook Up a Soundbar to Multiple Devices
Steps to Connect a Soundbar to a TV with HDMI
Getting your Soundbar set up and ready to go is understandably exciting- something that can have your heart pounding and your feelings of giddiness and joy bursting through your radiant smile.
Now, that might seem a bit far for some of you, but it truly is a joyous occasion. You will understand once you set it all up and begin this experience for yourself.
To connect a Soundbar to a TV with an HDMI cable, follow these steps:
1. Connect both devices to power and turn them on.
More likely than not, your TV will likely already be connected to power (unless, of course, you are just now unboxing that, too). But, one critical step that people often forget when connecting their Soundbars to their TV is that the Soundbar generally requires its own source of power.
Now, not all Soundbars are made the same, so you might find that your Soundbar offers a different method of receiving power. However, the most commonly known method of sourcing power to your Soundbar is connecting it with an AC power adapter or something similar. You might find that you can connect it to power through your TV, but this is not always the case.
Either way, before you become frustrated thinking that the established connection between your TV and Soundbar is not working, be sure that you have remembered the seemingly obvious (and consequently forgettable) step of plugging in both devices.
Then, turn both the TV and the Soundbar on before establishing the connection with your HDMI cable so that you can tell if any notifications pop up.
2. Locate the HDMI input (ARC) on the TV.
Now that you have plugged in and powered on your TV and your Soundbar, you will need to establish the HDMI connection ports on each device, respectively.
It does not matter which device you plug the HDMI cable into first, but you will obviously need to make sure that the connection on each device is fully established (and plugged in all the way).
When locating the HDMI input (ARC) port on the TV, you will likely find this in the same location as all of the other input and output ports. So if you already have cables plugged into the RCA ports (generally the red and white input and output connections), then this is the first place you want to look.
The shape of the HDMI cable is easily identifiable, so you should be able to distinguish this by looking at the end of the HDMI cable and then the port on the TV to make sure it matches.
If you cannot find the HDMI input (ARC) port on your TV, then check by the power and other buttons. Then, if you still cannot find it, consult your TV’s user manual or contact the manufacturer.
Not all TVs use an HDMI cable, but this can be resolved by establishing another type of connection. We will discuss that later on.
3. Locate the HDMI output (ARC) on the Soundbar.
Now that you have located the HDMI input (ARC) port on your TV, you will need to also locate the HDMI output (ARC) port on the Soundbar. This should not be too difficult since the number of ports will be minimal compared to what you might find on your TV.
Once you have found this port and made sure that the Soundbar is plugged into a power source, you will be ready to pair the Soundbar with your TV via an HDMI cable.
4. Plug the HDMI cable into each device respectively.
Now that you know where to plug the HDMI cable into both your TV and your Soundbar, it is time to go ahead and plug the cable into each device respectively.
As mentioned before, it does not really matter whether you plug the HDMI cable into the TV first and then the Soundbar or vice versa. Just be sure that the connection you establish is complete and secure.
5. Adjust the settings on your TV to select the Soundbar as the preferred speaker output.
Now that you have plugged the HDMI cable into each device (and the TV and Soundbar are both plugged into a power source and turned on), you will need to adjust the settings on your TV to select the Soundbar as the preferred speaker output.
While some Soundbars will automatically become the preferred speaker output once they are plugged in, this is not always the case.
If your TV does not automatically opt for the new HDMI input/output option to be the Soundbar, then you might not notice any difference in the sound quality streaming from your TV.
This is likely because, even though the soundbar is plugged in with the HDMI cable, it is continuing to use the internal TV speakers as the preferred source of audio output. Therefore, you will need to manually adjust the automatic preference so that your Soundbar begins to get some use.
To do this, you can consult your TV’s user guide or owner’s manual. But, it is generally pretty simple and follows a general method of procedures.
All you will need to do is to go to the Settings option on your TV and find something that closely resembles the Speaker or Audio selection options.
Then, you will select the Soundbar as the preferred speaker output. You might see this as making the HDMI connection the default option, or you might need to make sure that the source of the Soundbar is set to D.IN.
Either way, establishing the Soundbar as the preferred speaker output option on your TV will make sure that the audio signals are sent to the channels on your Soundbar rather than the internal speakers of your TV (or wherever else they would otherwise be connected to).
Of course, if you are using a Soundbar as a small component of a larger set of sound equipment in your home theater, you will need to make sure that all of the equipment is paired up. But, if this is where you are starting to build your audio experience, then you should be good to go.
How Do You Connect a Soundbar to a TV without HDMI?
Ok, so now you know how to connect a Soundbar to your TV with an HDMI cabled connection. You plug in both the TV, the Soundbar, and turn them both on.
Then, establish a connection between the TV’s HDMI input (ARC) and the Soundbar’s HDMI output (ARC) ports with the HDMI cable. Finally, you adjust the settings on your TV to prefer the Soundbar for audio output.
But, what do you do if your TV does not have an HDMI port and you want to connect your Soundbar? How do you connect a Soundbar to a TV without HDMI?
To connect a Soundbar to a TV without HDMI, you can use a Bluetooth audio transmitter/adapter or consider using an RCA/HDMI cable adapter (or another type of adapter) to fit the compatibility needs of your TV.
There are likely other options out there for rigging your Soundbar to connect it to the TV without the HDMI cable option, but these two main options are likely going to be the easiest options available for you to use.
Fortunately, using a Bluetooth audio transmitter/adapter is pretty simple. If your Soundbar is Bluetooth compatible, then you will only need to plug in a Bluetooth receiver into your TV and connect it with the Soundbar’s Bluetooth signal.
Or, if you are choosing to use the adapter option, this is not too difficult either. If your TV does not have an HDMI port, you can find the RCA input options (right, left, and center channel options typically found as red, white, and yellow ports on your TV).
Then, you can use an adapter that has an HDMI port on one end and RCA cable ports on the other, and connect the devices in the same manner as described above by simply using the adapter as an intermediary that allows the typical transmission of the audio signals.
Of course, you can always consult the manufacturer of your TV or Soundbar to ensure an established connection in whichever way you choose. Finally, you will be well on your way to an established connection that can get you to the end goal of enjoying your Soundbar in the home theater of your dreams.
For a more in-depth explanation, read: 4 Ways to Connect a Soundbar to TV WITHOUT HDMI or Optical
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.