Connect a Soundbar to Your TV

18 Jul

Connect a Soundbar to Your TV

This year, the shelves of stores have replenished with a lot of new compact home audio audio systems, known among buyers as soundbars or sound panels. All the leading manufacturers have recently presented their latest models of sound panels, a variety of interface capabilities which sometimes creates a lot of questions when connecting to a TV or other video / audio equipment. Let’s look at the optimal and alternative options for connecting sound panels to a TV and other devices from the home theater.

How to properly connect the soundbar to the TV?

What is a sound bar?
There are individual articles with a detailed description of the features of the device and the operation of these acoustic systems. Briefly, the sound panel is a compact loudspeaker that is installed under the TV screen, or fixed under / above the screen when wall mounting the TV. The sound panel is designed to replace the built-in speaker system of flat panel TVs and allows you to significantly improve the sound reproduction of the received TV programs, as well as in movies and games. Often sold soundbars complete with a compact, wireless subwoofer. If you take into account all the functions of modern soundbars – it’s something like a miniature receiver with built-in speakers, which allows you to create a home theater entry level.
A novelty of this year were sound panels of a new type, decorated in the form of stands for TV.

How to connect the soundbar to the TV

How to properly connect the soundbar to the TV?

Connection via HDMI
The best way to connect the soundbar to a TV or other devices is to use the HDMI interface. Obviously, for this, there is one or more HDMI connectors on the sound panel. Usually there is one HDMI output for connecting to a TV and several HDMI inputs can be used to connect peripheral devices as audio and video sources.
In doing so, you need to make sure that your TV and sound panel support the function of a return audio channel (HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel)). This is necessary so that, using the HDMI ARC, the dedicated audio signal from the TV goes for playback in the opposite direction to the sound panel. This feature should support both the TV and the sound panel. Then the sound from both analog TV channels, and from other sources connected to the TV, through the HDMI cable will be sent to the playback in the soundbar.

There are restrictions in this case. Not every TV can transmit multi-channel audio to another device via a return audio channel. Some TVs provide a maximum – a stereo audio format (two channels), while other TVs can support 5.1-channel Dolby Digital sound. When your sound panel is designed for 5.1-channel sound, and the TV does not support its transmission through the return audio channel, you will not get multi-channel sound from the sound panel.

How to properly connect the soundbar to the TV?

Today, many sound panels have multiple HDMI inputs. If necessary, this allows you to connect the signal sources directly to the soundbar. If the soundbar has multiple inputs and one HDMI output, then from the connected sources, the video signal is automatically redirected to the TV. In short, connect your devices, such as a Blu-ray player and a game console to the sound panel, which will best handle the audio signal and transmit the video for display on the TV screen. The soundbar allows you to switch between connected sources.

How to properly connect the soundbar to the TV?

If you can not connect via HDMI, because the soundbar or other device does not support this convenient interface, you can use the digital audio interface. Most sound panels are equipped with a digital optical (Toslink) interface, and some soundbars use a digital coaxial input. Both connectors serve the same purpose.

To the optical or coaxial input of the sound panel, you can connect a TV, game console, Blu-ray player and other devices that have an appropriate output. The advantage of connecting the TV through this interface is 5.1-channel sound (Dolby Digital or DTS). All audio / video sources are connected directly to the TV (TV tuner, smart TV platform, streaming video, etc.) then the audio signal is transmitted via the optical or coaxial interface to the sound panel. Other audio devices can similarly connect directly to your soundbar, but keep in mind that optical and digital coaxial inputs do not support high-resolution audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream format.

How to properly connect the soundbar to the TV?

Analog interface

If it is not possible to use a digital format using HDMI, optical or coaxial input, then, as a rule, it is possible to use the analog inputs of the TV and the devices connected to it. There are analog inputs and on your soundbar with familiar red / white RCA connectors. This is not the best solution in terms of quality, and allows you to get only stereo sound, but it’s better than nothing.

If you want to get the most out of the sound channel of your TV (Blu-ray player, game console, …), pay attention to the peculiarities of the connection options of the soundbar.

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