When buying a sound system for television, the biggest question is whether or not your chosen system will work with the television you have. This question applies even to soundbars. Do they work with any TV?
Soundbars have the technology that makes them work with any TV, regardless if they are new or previous-generation models. They also have different technologies to connect with a TV, including optical cables, HDMI cables, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth.
Also read: How to Connect a Soundbar to Your TV with HDMI (in 5 Steps)
To find a suitable soundbar for your television, you need to find out the type of connection that you need. This way, you can ensure that you get a television sound system that provides you with an excellent audio experience.
Soundbars Work With Any TV? How About Yours?
Regardless of whether you have a new TV that needs a matching sound system or wants a better movie night, a soundbar is an excellent investment.
This sound system takes things to an entirely new level.
All soundbars work with every television. Since today’s technology is so advanced than ever, manufacturers could make soundbars compatible with old and new TVs.
However, you must know what ports your television and your chosen soundbar have.
The Ports that Soundbars Use
A single soundbar can provide an excellent sound experience. But connect two soundbars together, and your audio experience will be so much better.
If you are not sure how you can do that, we have listed down the steps to know How to Connect Two Soundbars.
The majority of soundbars found in the market right now connects to a television using an HDMI cable. Some also use optical cables. Either of the lines is responsible for sending digital audio out from your television.
If you purchased a soundbar, these two cables usually come with the package.
But some manufacturers do not include an HDMI cable in their purchase. For this reason, you need to purchase it separately for more or less $10.
Moreover, some soundbars have more than a single HDMI port. But it is worth noting that the right one that you need to connect with your TV is the port labeled as “HDMI ARC” or “HDMI eARC.”
On the other hand, the other HDMI port’s use is for plugging the TV in outboard video components.
That includes a gaming console or a 4K Blu-ray player. Such is helpful, especially true if you want to send high-quality audio formats like uncompressed Dolby Atmos directly to your soundbar.
The Ports of Your Television
Now that you know what ports the soundbar you want to purchase has, the next thing you need to do is to identify your TV’s ports.
This way, you will know that your TV will work with your soundbar.
Of course, the soundbar you chose will likely work with your television. Still, please check before finally purchasing.
Just like your soundbar, your TV needs to have an HDMI port with an “Audio Return Channel” or “ARC” label on it.
If your television is an old model, you may need to use an optical audio output rather than HDMI. It is a square-shaped port that has a round flap. You can find it on either the side or the back of your TV.
Some optical audio output also has a small light indicator that glows red once you plug the optical cable in.
Still, the HDMI ARC is better than the optical connection. Most new TV models have it, making them compatible with advanced audio formats such as Dolby Atmos.
Not only that, but it will also let you control the power and volume of the soundbar using your television’s remote.
An optical audio connection can handle 2.1 and 5.1 channel surround sound. However, that ends there. Meaning you cannot connect your soundbar to audio formats like Dolby Atmos using the optical cable.
The Other Ways of Connecting Your Soundbar Needs to Connect to a TV
Apart from the two cables mentioned above, there are other ways that you can use to connect your soundbar to your TV:
- RCA or 3.5mm line
- Headphone jack
It is important to note that the first two methods only work with smart TVs.
Every soundbar differs in terms of connecting to Wi-Fi. Each brand has a different process of connecting but below is most likely what you need to do.
To connect your soundbar to a smart TV via Wi-Fi, the first thing you need to do is locate the Source button. Next, click the source button on your remote control for you to select Wi-Fi mode.
After changing the source, the next thing you will do is to connect your smartphone to the same Wi-Fi where you connected your TV.
Lastly, download your soundbar’s brand’s dedicated app and use it to connect your sound system with your smart TV.
Bluetooth is a wireless protocol that lets a device transmit audio to another using the “pairing process.” To pair a TV with your soundbar, you first need to make sure that your sound system is in a discoverable mode.
Additionally, you need to ensure that the soundbar that you chose has Bluetooth capability.
Moreover, connecting your soundbar to a TV via Bluetooth varies from one device to another. But most of them have buttons and light indicators.
You will need to press and hold the Bluetooth button until the indicator light stops flashing.
In addition, you should take a look at your soundbar’s manual book to find out exactly how to do this process.
After turning your soundbar’s Bluetooth into discoverable mode, your smart TV will automatically find it.
Select the soundbar from the list of Bluetooth devices to connect it with your TV. Once done, you will have your sound system linked to your TV wirelessly.
Soundbars work with any TV that has a compatible technology. If both products are new, they will likely be capable of working together.
RCA or 3.5mm Line
Connecting a soundbar to a TV using an RCA is pretty straightforward. But you first need to make sure that you are using a 3.5mm line labeled as “line out.”
The 3.5mm line and headphone jack look the same, so you have to check the label before plugging.
If you incorrectly plugged your soundbar into your TV’s headphone socket, the audio will sound awful.
After plugging in the 3.5mm line cable into your line-out port, plug the other end into the soundbar. This way, you will have an excellent audio experience.
Moreover, you can also use the RCA to connect your soundbar and TV. The stereo RCA output and input sockets are circular red and white connectors. So, they are easy to find and recognize.
One thing worth remembering is to plug the red connector into the red output socket and the white connector into the white socket. After that, plug the other end into the soundbar.
If your television does not have a stereo RCA, you can use the sockets for DVD, set-top box, and Blue-ray player to plug the soundbar into it.
Before plugging your soundbar into your TV through a headphone jack, you need to decrease the volume of the TV first. If not, it might sound loud and awful.
Some televisions have a feature where you can change the function of the headphone jack into a line-out connection. If such is your case, then you no longer need to adjust the volume of your soundbar.
Suppose your Tv does not have the said functionality. In that case, you have to adjust your bass, treble, and volume settings until you are comfortable with the sound.
It is also worth noting that anything you plug into the headphone jack will sound low. For this reason, you will have to turn your TV’s volume higher than you used to.
Before you unplug the soundbar to the headphone jack of your TV, you have to turn it back down again.
The Benefits of a Soundbar
You might think that your TV already sounds good even without a soundbar. However, today’s televisions are a lot thinner than they were. For this reason, they have less space for speaker drivers.
As a result, speakers need to adjust and become smaller, which in return makes them weaker.
What is even worse is that most TVs have speakers facing down or away from listeners. This positioning reduces the sound quality further.
Additionally, small built-in TV speakers cannot reproduce low and deep bass sounds. Since they are facing away from the viewers, they cannot produce high-pitched sounds accurately.
Fortunately, soundbars can make your audio experience better. That means you no longer have to watch another movie with poor sound quality.
Here are the benefits that you can get from using soundbars:
Better audio system
The speakers you can find inside a soundbar are more significant than the speaker you can find on display.
They also have a design that provides additional space for the speakers. For this reason, they possess more engineering freedom.
A soundbar has an ergonomic design that lets it produce high-quality output. For this reason, the sound system can make a full range of sound in just a tiny package.
The speakers are facing forward
Regular speakers face away from the listeners. They sit on either the underside or rear of the sound system. For this reason, the sound waves coming from them travel away from listeners.
So, by the time they reach the listeners, they already bounced off of other surfaces.
As a result, the audio becomes low quality and has noticeable reverberations.
On the other hand, soundbars have forward-facing speakers. Meaning the sound it creates directly travels to the listeners. Such a feature significantly enhances volume and gives off-balanced treble and bass.
Better control over volume
High-quality soundbars have advanced volume controls. This feature provides users with precise control on output levels.
For instance, some soundbars have a switch that places a cap on its highest volume.
If you need to, you can protect this cap with a cover plate. This way, you will ensure that the soundbar’s volume will never exceed the volume level that you set.
In addition, some soundbars have an advanced feature that lets them receive IR signals from different remote controls. Such sound systems allow users to control volume at either the remote or the device itself.
As a result, they can learn the IR signals of a small, even if that remote control is not universal.
With soundbars, you can control volume using different devices.
Less sound transference
Powerful audio drivers undoubtedly sound loud. However, such can be a distraction if the sound leaks into other rooms.
On the other hand, soundbars do not transfer so much sound from one place to another. This factor is due to the forward-facing position of its speakers. Since soundwaves travel directly to the listeners, they are much easier to contain than other speakers.
Moreover, soundbars have functionality that lets them output less bass than other speakers. That said, not much bass will travel to your neighboring rooms.
Consumes less space
Soundbars are easy to use. Apart from that, they also consume less space in your home theater.
You can place a sound in front of your television without it blocking the screen. In addition, you can also mount it on top of a surface or a wall.
Mounting your soundbar to a wall (learn how) will ensure that it stays perfectly in its position. When you mount it on top of a surface, you can move it from one place to another whenever you need to.
High-quality soundbars boast enhanced materials. For this reason, they are more durable, easier to maintain, and easier to clean than other sound systems.
The Other Things You Need to Know About Soundbars
Soundbars became very popular in recent years. As a result, manufacturers released so many different models.
A soundbar is an all-in-one sound system that provides listeners with high-quality television audio. Contrary to a surround sound system, a soundbar does not need a vast space.
It also does not require any complexity in terms of setting up and connecting with your TV.
Additionally, a soundbar has a long and slender design. Inside it is two or more speakers.
These speakers act either as stereo or surround sound. Some soundbars even come with a separate subwoofer, allowing it to produce low-frequency sound.
With a soundbar and subwoofer together, there is an added impact, quality, and depth to whatever you are watching and whatever music you listen to.
Moreover, there are two types of soundbars:
- Self-powered or active
- Non-active or passive
Almost every soundbar that you can find in the market is self-powered. That means such a sound system has built-in amplifiers.
However, there are other soundbars equipped with features that require you to connect them to a receiver. Such are called passive soundbars.
Passive or non-active soundbars do not have the advantages that active soundbars have. Active soundbars only require easy setup and operation.
When buying a soundbar, you need to assess the space you plan to place it. If your TV hangs on the wall, you can place the soundbar right below it. Such will provide a neat look.
However, if you want a wall-mounted soundbar, you need to find out how to hide its cords.
Meanwhile, if your television sits atop a table or shelf, you can place the soundbar right in front of it.
But if you plan to put your soundbar this way, you need to measure the surface where you placed your TV. This way, you can ensure that the soundbar will not stick out from the table or shelf.
It is important to note that soundbars have different sizes. Some are only one foot long, while others are five feet wide.
The right soundbar size for your TV will rely on the size of your home theater, the size of the TV itself, and of course, your personal preference.
As mentioned, you can buy a soundbar that comes with subwoofers. But you should note that the subwoofer will limit the placement options for your soundbar. However, they will not limit your options too much.
The reason is that most subwoofers are now wireless. For this reason, you no longer need to connect them with your soundbar using a wire. However, it would help if you still plugged it into a power outlet to make it work.
More than that, the low frequencies that subwoofers produce are usually hard to locate. This factor allows you to place your subwoofer anywhere in your entertainment room.
Despite being far from the soundbar, the subwoofer will still produce audio that sonically blends with the soundbar.
That said, you can say that soundbars are worth having. They work with every TV, so choosing a model compatible with your screen will never be a problem.
- Lee Neikirk and Ryan Waniata, HOW TO CONNECT A SOUNDBAR TO YOUR TV, Reviewed.Com, https://www.reviewed.com/televisions/features/how-to-connect-a-soundbar-to-your-tv/
- How to connect soundbar to TV via Wi-Fi network, Samsung, https://www.samsung.com/latin_en/support/tv-audio-video/how-to-connect-soundbar-to-tv-via-wi-fi-network/
- Pair a Soundbar to Your TV Using Bluetooth or SoundConnect, Samsung, https://www.samsung.com/us/support/answer/ANS00085365/
- 4 ways to connect your soundbar to your TV, Currys.Co, https://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/techtalk/4-ways-to-connect-your-soundbar-to-your-tv/
- Devon Dean, TVS + SOUND BARS = EPIC SOUND, Klipsch.Co, https://www.klipsch.com/blog/buying-a-sound-bar-for-your-tv-read-this-first/
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.