A soundbar is a nice addition to your home theater system. It can give you a much better sound than what your TV’s built-in speaker can offer.
Even when technology is constantly improving, the sound quality on most TVs, including the high-end models, is still not the best. This is why a lot of people invest in soundbars and other audio devices for their TVs.
So how do you exactly connect a soundbar to a TV?
The easiest way to do it is with the use of an optical cable. Here’s how!
Connecting a Soundbar to a TV with an Optical Cable
Using optical cables to connect devices isn’t rocket science.
It’s as easy as connecting with any other kind of cable. The only difference is with how it works.
Optical cables work by sending audio signals through light from one end to the other. They use fibers instead of metal wires, which results in a decreased loss of signal.
The signals going through the optical wires are also unaffected by the electromagnetic fields around them. Now, let’s learn how to connect a soundbar to a TV with an optical cable:
Step 1: Remove the caps.
Brand-new cables come with plastic caps at their tips. To start using your cable, you need to remove the plastic caps first. Once they’re removed, you’re good to go.
Step 2: Turn off the devices.
Before you start the installation, you need to turn off both the soundbar and the television.
Step 3: Locate the ports.
The next step is to find the port where you’ll plug in the optical cable for the soundbar.
Soundbars have a port with the word “Optical” written beside it, and that’s where the cable will go.
Step 4: Plug in the cable.
Once you’ve turned off both devices and located the ports, insert one end of the cable to the TV, which is called “Optical Out”. Then insert the other end of the cable into the soundbar through a port labeled “Optical In”.
While plugging the cable in, make sure that you’re correctly aligning it to the shape of the input socket. If aligned correctly, it’ll click and snap in the right place with no effort.
Step 5: Set up the devices.
Finally, turn both devices on. After this, you’ll need to select the sources on both devices using their remotes.
Select “Digital” as the source on both devices and wait for the “D-In” notification on the TV screen. Once you can see this notification, you’re all set.
After you’ve connected the two devices successfully, try playing a movie and you’ll hear how awesome your TV sounds.
Does Optical Cable Affect Sound Quality?
In general, optical cables can relay sound better compared to HDMI ARC cables. With optical cables, the quality of the sound transmitted is excellent.
For a better understanding, let’s compare these two cables.
Optical Audio Cable vs. HDMI
HDMI and optical cables can both transmit multichannel audio very easily. The difference between the two is that the latter can’t transfer video signals while HDMI cables can.
HDMI is mostly made up of copper, which is can be a very cheap material. On the other hand, optical cables are made of glass and transmit signals through light.
The benefit of sending a signal through light is that it isn’t affected by outside interference like an electromagnetic field.
Optical cables are a great option if you want to transfer surround sound with up to 5 channels. But if you have an advanced soundbar, which transmits up to 7.1-channel sound, it won’t be sufficient.
Some new technologies like Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD, and TrueHD aren’t supported by optical cables either.
Other Ways for Connecting a Soundbar to a TV
If you don’t have an optical cable, HDMI, or Bluetooth connectivity in your soundbar or TV, then an AUX cable is your only option.
AUX cables can only transfer a 2-channel analog signal, which isn’t great at all. If you want the best sound with surround effects, this cable won’t do you any good.
Connecting it is as easy as connecting any other type of cable. You just have to connect both ends of the AUX cable to the auxiliary port of your soundbar and your TV.
If you don’t like the appearance of wires and prefer a cleaner look for your setup, then Bluetooth connectivity is the way to go.
The only problem with Bluetooth connection is the audio lag, which can be annoying especially when you just want to enjoy a movie.
To minimize this lag, your devices need to have aptX LL codec compatibility. This wouldn’t eliminate the lag, but it would keep it to a minimum.
Because of the audio lag, Bluetooth may not be the best option for connectivity if you want the best sound quality but it’s your only option if you can’t be bothered with cables and wires.
Connecting a soundbar via Bluetooth is also quite easy.
Just go to the Bluetooth settings of both devices. Make sure they’re both discoverable and you should be able to connect them within seconds.
I hope you found this guide helpful in connecting a soundbar to your TV.
Compared to other cables and connectivity options, using an optical cable is your best bet if you want to get the most out of your soundbar.
If you have more questions, feel free to comment below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.
A passion for writing and ongoing research projects gives Catherine an incredibly broad knowledge of all things. She has authored an incredible number of articles and can be found in the wilderness when not attached to technology or listening to podcasts.