Soundbars are a great way for you to enjoy your home theater movie watching and music listening experience.
You cannot get an immersive listening experience by just relying on your TV speakers. But you can take the experience to the next level by adding a quality soundbar.
This can be made even better by getting one with satellite speakers for the surround and height or up-firing speakers for 3D sound formats such as DTS-X, Dolby Atmos, Auro 3D, and the likes.
But you have done your research, bought your Dolby Atmos soundbar then for some reason find that using HDMI or Optical cables to connect to your TV would not be the best option. The reasons for anyone to do this would be that you either have an old TV or due to personal preference.
Granted, if an HDMI or optical cable connection is not for you, I will guide you on how you can connect your TV to your soundbar without these cables.
There several ways to connect your soundbar to your TV to your soundbar without optical or HDMI cables;
- Through a wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection
- Using an RCA connection
- Using an auxiliary cable
- Using a coaxial cable adapter
Let us break down each of these options.
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1. A wireless Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection
Connecting your TV to your soundbar wirelessly is the best way to do it without the hassle that comes with cables.
Doing this can give you a virtual surround sound if your soundbar has formats such as Dolby Pro logic that can up-mix 2-channel audio. This may be great for aesthetics but will not support hi-res audio due to limited bandwidth (up to 2 Mbps for Bluetooth 5.0) hence cannot match HDMI’s bandwidth (up to 48 Gbps for HDMI 2.1).
experience that you would also get from the optical or HDMI connections.
However, for you to do this both your soundbar and TV need to be Bluetooth enabled. You can call the manufacturer’s support or read the specs to confirm if this is the case before purchase.
But if you already have a TV or soundbar that does not have Bluetooth, there is the option of using a BT adapter.
If your devices are Bluetooth enabled, simply pair them.
Check the user manual to learn how you can turn on the Bluetooth for your specific devices and how you can pair them.
For the second wireless connection option, Wi-Fi, most of the Bluetooth-related drawbacks are averted. This is because Wi-Fi can support a higher bandwidth than Bluetooth (up to 2 Gbps for the 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 standard) with lower drop-offs which is great for hi-res audio codecs such as Dolby Atmos.
Wi-Fi can also allow you to connect to several soundbar speakers for a multi-room setup.
But for this connection to work, both the soundbar and the TV need to support a connection over Wi-Fi (Wi-Fi mode) with both of them connected to the same router at the same frequency.
Your TV will also likely have an app that you can use to find and connect to the soundbar (check the user manuals for both). So, this will most probably not be the option for you if you are not using a smart TV.
2. Use traditional RCA cables to connect older TVs
Do your TV and soundbar have RCA analog inputs and outputs? If yes, this is the option for you.
Most RCA cables are made up of 3-color coded cables (yellow for the video signal, red and white/black for the audio signal).
Most soundbars have the capability to handle a 2-channel RCA connection for audio. The red plug is mainly used for the right channels and white/black for the left channel.
The RCA ports for your television should not be input ports but output ports.
If the TV only has RCA input ports, you will need to split the audio signal from the source before it gets to the TV. Power off both your soundbar and TV then plug in both the red white cables accordingly from your audio source. You will only leave the yellow cable for the video signal to the TV. Power on your devices and you are good to go.
If your TV has RCA output ports, power off your devices. Then plug in red and white cables to your TV and then plug in the corresponding color plugs to your soundbar. Easy, Right?
You should note that if you are using RCA cables, you will not get that surround sound experience from your soundbar when listening to music or watching a movie. RCA cables only limit you to 2-channel audio.
3. Connecting TV to the soundbar using a 3.5 mm auxiliary (AUX) cable
If your TV does not have wireless connection capabilities, a 3.5 mm AUX cable will come in handy.
Most TVs come with a 3.5 mm output jack that you can also use to connect to your headphones. You have also most likely used this connection on your smartphone, Laptop, etc. to listen to music.
Plug in the AUX cable to your TV (mostly labeled AUX out) the other end to your soundbar.
If either your TV or soundbar does not have a 3.5 mm AUX connection port, you can get a high-quality RCA to AUX cable. These cables are not expensive and have one AUX end and 2 (red and white) RCA ends.
AUX cables transmit audio signals from one source to the speaker unidirectionally. Make sure that the AUX cable you purchase has support for surround sound.
4. Using adapters
Back in the day, in the era when VCR and DVD players were common, most TVs used a coaxial cable connection. Coaxial cables have jacks that look like a raised cylinder with a hole and a small pin sticking outside the cylinder hole.
Now if you have this type of TV, you will need an adapter or a splitter to connect your TV to your soundbar. Purchase a splitter/adapter depending on the audio input ports on your soundbar.
If your TV and soundbar have HDMI or Optical connection ports, you are likely better off using these connections other than the ones mentioned above. This is a great way to watch a movie without compromising your sound quality.
But if this is not an option for you any of the methods mentioned above will be great for you.