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How to Connect Soundbar to a TV

The best soundbar for a TV would be one that is a breeze to set up. Many soundbars come with manuals and multiple methods to connect a soundbar, but we’re here to let you know which one is the best with minimal lag, and how to do it.

What is the Best Way to Connect a Soundbar to TV?

The best way to connect a soundbar to your TV is through the HDMI input [1]

Not only can it process Dolby Digital technology for clear sound, but it’s also the one that comes with the cheapest cables, and it’s very easy to use. HDMI is the best way for the clearest and highest resolution audio.

HDMI is the best option for many people looking for high-quality sound due to its capability of processing higher resolution. You may need to use an HDMI connection if your content is able to be emitted with Dolby Digital, Atmos, and DTSx technology.

Other input connections digital or analog may not be able to deliver crystal clear sound as the HDMI ARC would. You can expect digital forms of connection such as the HDMI and optical digital input to still be able to deliver higher quality sound compared to analog input options.

HDMI cable

How to Connect a Soundbar to TV with HDMI ARC

Your TV and soundbar should work seamlessly together, and connecting your soundbar to your TV with the right audio cable is an important factor to ensure proper audio. 

You will find the HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port at the back of your soundbar. It will be labeled on most soundbars.

Assuming you have the HDMI cable come in the box with your purchase, you can easily connect the soundbar to your TV via the HDMI port. If you don’t have the HDMI audio return channel cable, you may need to purchase your own.

However, this particular cable is among the cheapest so it won’t set you back too much. Once you plug it in, you need to make sure it’s a tight fit so there aren’t any complications.

Then you need to take the other end of the cable and connect it to your device (your TV). The HDMI port on the back of your soundbar is called the “in port” and the one located on the back of your TV is the “outport”. 

Turn on all other external devices as well as your TV and soundbar. Then, depending on if you have a remote, you need to press the source button then select D.IN. This is how you ensure the TV and soundbar are connected via the HDMI.

How to Connect a Soundbar to a TV without HDMI Arc (4 Alternative Connection Options)

Optical Cable

Similar to connecting the HDMI cable, the digital optical should also come in the box and be connected to your soundbar and TV using both ends. Most excellent soundbar devices should have this cable in the box as well. If not, it’s easy to go out and purchase one.

Find the labeled plug accordingly on the back of your TV and plug one end in the digital audio “out”. 

This is a good way to connect any external device to your TV, and not only your soundbar. The next step is to take the other end of the digital optical cable and plug it into your soundbar’s digital audio “in”. 

It’s also imperative to make sure you push the optical cable all the way in on both ends to make sure the audio won’t suffer any loss of quality. After you have double-checked the cable connection, it’s time to switch on both devices.

Once your soundbar and TV are on, select the source button on the remote or the side of the soundbar and then press D.IN. This should successfully connect your soundbar to your TV via optical digital audio.

hand pointing remote at TV

Bluetooth

The next option is a wireless option which a lot of people tend to go for. It’s one of the easiest methods and also doesn’t require unsightly cables to take up extra space and clutter your interior setup. It also won’t require you to search on your hands and knees for the correct input.

It’s great because you won’t need to double-check if you have wires included in the box or if you have everything you need because Bluetooth is actually built right into your device.

Before you even try to hook up your device to your TV, you need to make the device “discoverable”. This means that when you search for your device with other Bluetooth enabled devices, you can find it.

Once this has been done, you can then search for your device name on your TV. You may not know the label (or the name of your device) outright, but most of the time it follows the model number or brand name. 

After you have “discovered” your device, you can then join the two devices together. This is usually done on the audio source device. Just select your device name and wait for audio pairing. 

Auxiliary Cable

The auxiliary cable is a more conventional way to connect devices and what people usually used when wireless streaming wasn’t available. 

However, the one difference is that the auxiliary cable uses analog connection rather than digital, and connecting your soundbar to your TV using an analog connection won’t produce sound quite as good.

Connect the cable to the “in” and “out” ports on your soundbar and TV. Make sure you wriggle the cables a little bit to make sure everything fits tightly. Then to sync the tv to the soundbar, you need to change the mode settings.

Grab your remote control and select “source” and this time select the AUX mode. After a connection is established, you can then enjoy crystal clear audio from your TV. 

If your soundbar doesn’t happen to have a remote, it should be able to pair with a universal remote, have a compatible app, or a control panel on the side.

man facing flat screen TV

3.5mm Line Out or RCA (Red and White Cable)

Often known as the red and white cable, the RCA or 3.5 mm. This is an old school cable that we may have seen before digital connection or wireless streaming as well. The colors used are red, white, and sometimes black.

Before you can hook up your tv to the soundbar, you need to turn off both devices. Then check the audio ports both on the back of your soundbar and back of your TV. Once you have found it, just insert the corresponding color cables to the outports.

Again, to avoid any lag time or audio interference, check to see if you have pushed all the plugs all the way in. You can then turn on both devices and enjoy the sound streaming from your soundbar without having to adjust the settings.

Since they are analog cables, you can expect the sound quality to be more subpar compared to digital connections.

FAQS

Is it better to connect soundbars with HDMI or Optical cable?

It’s better to connect your soundbar with an HDMI cable because it provides better quality sound. They both pass digital audio from one device to the other, but HDMI possesses the capability for higher resolution.

Can You Connect Soundbars to a TV wirelessly?

You can connect soundbars to a TV wirelessly via Bluetooth. Most soundbars offer Bluetooth as a basic feature and there are even some that allow Wi-Fi connection as well. Both can save you the trouble of cluttering up your entertainment system.

How do you connect soundbars to a TV without a port?

You can connect your soundbar to a TV wirelessly if you there are no ports. Wireless options include Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which many people argue are the easiest way to connect without the hassle of finding and plugging in cables.

home soundbar with Samsung logo

Do I connect the soundbar to the TV or cable box?

You should connect the soundbar to the TV. However, the soundbar can be connected to a cable box or other device that produces audio as well. However, it works best with the TV to minimize lag time.

Can you use any soundbar on any TV?

You can use any soundbar on any TV in general. However, to guarantee that two devices will work well together, you need to be sure they have compatible connections.

We will also say that certain brands create soundbars that work best with their own TVs. For instance, these are the list of soundbars that are best for Samsung TVs.

How do I sync my soundbar with my TV?

You can sync your soundbar to your TV by pressing the audio sync button on the remote. If your remote doesn’t have the audio sync button, you can access audio syncing through the remote by pressing sound control. Then you adjust the audio with the left and right buttons.

Conclusion

How to hook up a soundbar to tv is easy if you know what to look for. 

A device comes with many connections for different methods of connecting. The HDMI is the best option for high-quality sound for your soundbar, but if that isn’t possible, there are other great choices and even wireless options.

Need help with sound delays instead? Here is how you fix a soundbar delay.

Willie Greer

Willie Greer is the founder of The Product Analyst. A cinephile, he has made it a personal quest to achieve the awesomest home theater possible. He now shares what he has learned through the years on the site, and has enlisted the help of tech-savvy colleagues in providing more insight about today’s most sought-after gadgets.
Willie Greer

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