Both Soundbars and projectors have come a long way, and they can really transform your audio and video streaming experience. But, with a projector sitting in the back of the room while a Soundbar should sit in the front, can you use the two together?
A Soundbar can be used with a projector by connecting with an extended HDMI cable, RCA cable, or another type of compatible cable with your projector. This means running the cables across the room (ex. hidden behind the wall). Another option is to use a wireless transmitter (Bluetooth, HDMI, etc.).
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You can consider using a Soundbar in the same way that you would use other types of speakers when working with a projector. In this case, though, whether the projector is the source of the media or you are using an external source (like a laptop or DVD player), you can connect each device.
It just might take a few more established connections since the Soundbar would, in essence, be acting as the receiver in this case. Let’s take a closer look.
How to Connect a Soundbar with a Projector
If you are satisfied with the audio quality that is produced by your Soundbar and you are hoping to connect it with your projector, then you might think that connecting the two devices is as simple as plugging them in with the appropriately compatible cable. Unfortunately, there is one major hiccup with this: the placement of the two devices should be at the opposite ends of the room.
Because of the Soundbar (front) and projector (rear) placement being on opposite ends of the room, you will need to connect the Soundbar with the projector either using a compatible extended cable that runs hidden on the wall or ceiling, or you can opt for a wireless transmitter. Keep in mind that you will need a high-quality transmitter to avoid audio or video lag.
Of course, this type of connection is assuming that you are using a more common long throw projector. If you are using a short throw projector, you will still need to run an extended cable since the throw distance will likely be farther from the screen than a traditional cable will run.
However, the one caveat to the extended cable will be if you are using an ultra-short throw projector that sits in close enough proximity to the screen that the Soundbar can connect to it with a standard cable.
In this case, then you would, in fact, be able to simply plug one device into the other with a compatible cable. Still, since many users are referring to short throw or long throw projectors (as opposed to ultra-short throw projectors), it is important to consider how this distance in the placement of your Soundbar and projector will affect the connection possibilities.
So, if you are wanting to connect your Soundbar to a short throw or long throw projector (as opposed to an ultra-short throw projector), consider the following options for a well-established connection.
Be sure to consider the media source, projector (which can sometimes act as the media source), and the Soundbar in terms of compatibility with these options as all of these components need to be connected.
Connecting a Soundbar with a Projector Using an Extended HDMI Cable
Especially when working with newer projectors, you will likely find that the port compatibility options between both your Soundbar and your projector tend to be HDMI ports.
If this is the case, then you can use an HDMI cable to connect the two devices. If you are using an older projector, you might find that it does not have HDMI compatibility. In this case, you can use an HDMI converter on the end of another type of cable, or you can opt for another type of connection.
Still, it is also important to remember that since your projector will likely be sitting in the rear of the room (especially if using a long throw projector) or at least the middle of your room (using a short throw projector), you will need to find a way to hide the HDMI cable. that you are using to establish this connection.
If you don’t hide the HDMI cable, it will get in the way of your screen (if hanging) or could become a tripping hazard (if secured to the floor and run in this direction).
With this in mind, consider the following steps for using an extended HDMI cable to connect your Soundbar and projector (and recognize that the same steps can be applied if using a digital optical cable):
1. Choose the right cable.
If you are using an HDMI cable to connect your Soundbar and projector, you need to ensure that this type of cable is accepted on both of these devices. You can do a quick check on the specifications of your device to ensure that both accept an HDMI cable.
Once this is confirmed, opt for an extended HDMI cable that is long enough to run the distance between where your Soundbar and your projector will be placed. Try to find an option that has a good bit of leeway considering you will need to move the cable out of the way and hide it from view.
2. Plug the extended HDMI cable into the Soundbar, projector, and external media source if applicable.
If you are using your projector as the source of media, then you will only need to connect your Soundbar directly to the projector. However, if you are using an external media source like a laptop or DVD player, then you will need to connect all three devices.
Whichever option you choose, be sure to connect a cable capable of transmitting the audio and video signals between the devics. So, you can use an HDMI cord to connect the Soundbar to your laptop, for example, and then connect the Soundbar to the projector after as well.
3. Ensure that the HDMI Source is selected on your projector.
After you have plugged in the HDMI cable, you will need to ensure that the projector is using the Soundbar (HDMI) as the audio source. Be sure to adjust the settings on your projector to keep the HDMI source as your preferred output.
4. Run a performance test.
Before you go through the effort of hiding your HDMI cable, you want to make sure that everything is working as it should. Run a test by streaming a video with audio- a music video of your favorite song, for example. Assuming it all works, you are ready to take it to the next step. If it does not work, then you will need to find the source of the issue.
5. Hide the extended HDMI cable.
Now that you have connected the Soundbar with your projector (and additional media source if applicable), and you know that all of your equipment works, it is time to hide the extended HDMI cable.
Leaving the cable out is not only visually distracting and unappealing, but a loose cord could become a safety hazard in your home theater as well.
You can choose how you would like to hide it. There are a few options like hiding it behind the sheet rock in your walls, running it through the ceiling, or using some kind of cable track that can be secured onto the floor or wall. Either way, you just need to make sure that you do not have loose cords in your home theater room.
Connecting a Soundbar with a Projector Using RCA Cables
Another option to consider when connecting your Soundbar to a projector is using RCA cables. Of course, this option is only viable if this is the compatible cable option for both of your devices. Still, connecting a soundbar with a projector in this way is not overly complicated- you will just be using an analog cable instead of digital.
To use RCA cables to connect your Soundbar with a projector, consider the following steps:
1. Choose an extended cable.
Just like with an HDMI cable, you will need an extended RCA cable option that can connect your Soundbar (in the front of the room) to your projector (in the back of the room). Be sure to choose a high-quality cable for the best audio and video signal transmission.
2. Plug in the RCA cables.
Again, if you are using an external media source, you will need to make sure that all three devices are connected. Plug in the RCA cables between your Soundbar and projector and then a compatible cable between the Soundbar and the media source as well.
3. Ensure that the RCA input is your preferred option.
Just like you would with the HDMI input, you will need to adjust the settings on your projector to automatically choose the RCA input as the preferred setting so that it begins streaming once plugged in.
4. Run a performance test. (See above.)
Hide the extended RCA cables. (See above).
Connecting a Soundbar with a Projector Using a Wireless Transmitter
If you would like to connect your Soundbar with a projector without having to run an extended cable throughout the entire length of your home theater, then you can choose a wireless option. Fortunately, this is not overly complicated.
However, you will need to keep in mind that low-quality wireless transmitters could result in poor-quality video and audio transmission with some serious lag. This could be highly disruptive to your media experience, so be sure to opt for a high-quality transmitter.
To connect a Soundbar with a projector using a wireless transmitter, consider the following steps:
1. Check the compatibility with your devices.
Before you buy a specific wireless transmitter, you need to see what type of connection port it will require. For example, if you plan on using an HDMI wireless transmitter, you need to ensure that you can plug the HDMI port into your projector.
2. Purchase a compatible, high-quality wireless transmitter.
Once you know the right kind of compatibility that you plan on using, it is time to ensure that the wireless transmitter you use is high-quality. If possible, try to avoid Bluetooth transmitters as these can tend to be less reliable with high levels of video and audio transmission.
3. Plug your transmitter into your projector.
Now that you have the right kind of transmitter, you will want to plug it into your projector. This should not be too hard since you have already selected the right kind of compatibility.
4. Connect the transmitter with your Soundbar.
Now, you will need to connect the transmitter to the Soundbar according to the instruction steps that come with your unique transmitter.
Using a transmitter is highly preferable considering you will not have to run an extended cable throughout the length of your home theater. Just be sure it is high-quality and has enough capacity to stream your video and audio without a lag.
5. Adjust the preferred input settings on your projector.
Once you have connected the devices, ensure that the input settings on your projector are selected for whichever source your transmitter is connected to (ex. HDMI or RCA input port).
6. Run a performance test and enjoy.
Since you will not have to hide any cables, all you need to do is to test out the connection and begin streaming your media. It is now time to begin making fun-filled memories with your family and friends.