Have you ever had a good-looking flat TV that sounded so horrible you didn’t think it was a modern TV? Well, it’s not just you because apparently, despite all the modern changes the TV has gone through over the past couple of years, it has left behind the sound quality of the speakers.
In fact, it’s pretty normal to have a bad-sounding TV. However, it does get annoying, especially if your TV was meant to give the best watching experience.
This is where soundbars came in. Soundbars are speakers that come in the shape of a bar. They’re the long rectangular speakers you find underneath the TV that produces high-quality sounds. It’s the newest replacement to the bulky speakers, and most people are pleased that it was even invented in the first place.
How Do You Operate a Soundbar?
Say, you bought a soundbar. What do you do now? Obviously, you want to connect it to the TV so you would never have to bear the awful, tinny sound of your TV’s speakers.
There are two ways to connect the soundbar to your TV - through an optical cable or through connecting all audio and video components directly to the soundbar. The first one is very straightforward as you’ll simply connect the optical cable to the TV and the sounds will be played directly from the soundbar. The second one is a bit more complex, but not so difficult that you’ll spend an hour connecting it.
How to Connect the Soundbar Without the Optical Cable
Fortunately, there are many ways to connect the soundbar without the optical cable. There are four other ways, and you’ll learn more about them here.
1. Using Bluetooth
Connecting via Bluetooth is so common these days with all the Bluetooth speakers available in the market. This is by far the easiest and most convenient way to connect your TV with your soundbar because there are no cables involved. You can do away with those wires for good!
Of course, connecting via Bluetooth is only possible if your TV has a Bluetooth connection. If it doesn’t, you can purchase a Bluetooth transmitter that converts your TV (or any other audio device) to a Bluetooth device. Otherwise, if your TV supports Bluetooth, then this will just be a walk in the park.
The first thing you have to know is how to activate your Bluetooth connection on the TV. Different TV sets have different instructions for this, but most of them can be seen through the Source options. To be sure, it’s best to consult the manual. When you’ve turned on your Bluetooth on the TV, go to your soundbar and activate Bluetooth as well. On your TV, you’ll see your soundbar come up and then simply choose that.
And just like that, you’re already connected wirelessly.
2. Using HDMI
If you don’t want to use your Bluetooth connection, one of the more popular ways to connect audio is through an HDMI cable. However, your TV should also support HDMI-ARC. ARC is the acronym for ‘Audio Return Channel’ which is basically a connector that allows your HDMI cable to receive and send out audio to and from the TV set. Without the ARC, your TV will just receive data but not be able to send data out. In this case, your TV won’t be able to send audio out which makes the soundbar useless.
For those who have an HDMI-ARC connection, you can connect via HDMI by just plugging the HDMI-ARC. But not so fast! You have to make sure both devices are turned on first. Once they’re turned on, plug the HDMI-ARC end to the TV, and plug the other end, the HDMI to the soundbar. Depending on the soundbar that you have, you might have to go to the connections and select ‘HDMI’ to finish the connection with your TV.
If you’re wondering why people who have Bluetooth connection prefer to connect via HDMI is mostly because the latter can transmit larger audio data. It can process sound formats like Dolby Atmos and 7.1 surround sound.
3. Using RCA Cables
Another way to connect your TV and your soundbar is through RCA cables. The RCA cables are more commonly known as the colourful cables that usually come in red, white (or black), and yellow. The red and white/black are for the right and left audio channels while the yellow plug is for the video.
Unlike the HDMI-ARC cable, you have to make sure that both your devices are turned off before you connect them. Place the red and white/black onto the soundbar since they correspond to the audio ports. Then, connect the yellow plug to your TV. After connecting all the plugs correctly, you can now turn on both the soundbar and the TV.
Some people experience a few problems connecting with the RCA cables because the colour-coding can be confusing. If your TV comes with a manual, make sure to consult it first to make sure that all the plugs are correctly placed in their corresponding ports. You should also try to push the plug a little further because it has to “lock” with the port itself.
4. Using AUX Input
Lastly, you can connect with an AUX cord. AUX is a shortened term for ‘auxiliary’ which is often used to connect audio input and output from different devices like phones, speakers, and TV sets. Most, if not all, soundbars have their own AUX port, so all you really have to do is to plug the AUX IN end to the soundbar and the other end to the TV. Both devices can be turned on while you’re doing this.
If you did it properly, you would already notice the sound coming out from the soundbar. If not, then you’ve probably had the cords backwards. If it still doesn’t work, then you might have to manually choose ‘Aux’ in the sound settings of both the TV and the soundbar.
So as you can see, no optical cable, no problem! Pick from one of these four other options to enjoy your soundbar.