How To Connect Your Soundbar To Your TV Without An Optical Cable

By Glen / February 20, 2019

Last Updated on

Soundbars are becoming very popular today, providing a more compact way to add great sound to any room, be it your bedroom or the living room. However, they aren’t always easy to setup.

Many of the modern soundbars that are available on the market can provide exceptional quality in terms of sound and also be loud at the same time, providing the entire family with a way to enjoy a good movie, catch up on some series, or play some games.

Soundbars have a number of advantages to offer over more traditional sound systems, with the fact that they are much smaller and take up less space than having to install multiple speakers in the living room.

While it can definitely be convenient to have a soundbar in your home, the setup process to get everything working correctly can be a bit tedious for some people.

With a soundbar, things are often not as simple as plugging in the soundbar and enjoying great sound – you need to consider a large number of factors when connecting and setting up the soundbar, and the actual connection that will be used is one of the most important factors.

Connecting a soundbar to a television with an optical cable is considered one of the best options, as sound will then be provided in high-quality, but not all televisions on the market today support an optical cable.

There are many televisions, especially ones from older times, that do not have a port for this type of cable.

In these cases, you will need to look at alternative connection methods to use in order to configure the soundbar with your television.

If nothing is working it might be easier to purchase a new set of speakers – if that’s the case be sure to check out my article on the most popular speakers for wall mounting – great for your T.V. set up!


Connecting Your Soundbar To TV When Optical Cable Is Not An Option

When connecting a soundbar to television, many people would think of an optical cable as the default option.

Sure, using an optical cable will provide you with quality sound, but not all televisions support optical output to a sound system, such as a soundbar.

While this may seem like a problem at first, it is important to explore other connectivity options, and an optical cable is not the only way to deliver sound signals from the television to the soundbar.

#1 – HDMI Cable

There are other options that can be used – while these will not all provide the same quality of sound as an optical cable, there is one option that can deliver even better sound when the right accessories are used.

We are referring to a connection through an HDMI cable.

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HDMI is a technology that allows signals to be transferred between two devices quickly and effectively – in fact, HDMI is often considered the preferred method of transferring sound signals that need to be played as 7.1 surround sound, for example.

Thus, HDMI is the very first alternative option that you should consider if you prefer not to use an optical cable or your television does not support this particular method of connecting to your soundbar.

In order to connect the soundbar and television to each other through HDMI, you will need to ensure that both of these devices do support HDMI.

The majority of modern TVs on the market at the moment will have an HDMI port for you to use – some of the newer TV models will offer more advanced technology with their HDMI ports as well, allowing for an even faster and effective transferring of sound signals to your soundbar.

Even though the majority of soundbars do support HDMI as an input option to connect to an external device, there are a couple of soundbars without this particular option. Thus, take a look at your soundbar too in order to ensure it supports an HDMI connection before you go out to buy an HDMI cable.

When it comes to buying an HDMI cable, you should be sure to buy a high-quality one, as these will drastically improve the TV’s ability to transfer sound signals to the soundbar and provide a smoother and more captivating experience.

#2 RCA Cables

Every T.V. is going to have RCA connections. They are the round connections in the back that are colored red and white.

While they won’t provide the same sound quality as optical or HDMI they will at least be able to transfer your sound. If you are unable to use HDMI then this should be your second choice.

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#3 AUX Connection

HDMI and RCA aren’t the only options that you can opt for when the optical cable is not available.

In addition to being able to connect your TV and soundbar with an HDMI cable, you can also use other options, such as connecting the soundbar to the headphone jack on your television.

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Most televisions – both new and old – will have a 3.5mm AUX connection. Even though primarily used in order to connect headphones to the television, many people have found that this particular jack also offers an excellent alternative connectivity option for connecting other types of sound devices to a TV – including soundbars, of course.

In order to connect your soundbar and TV through the 3.5mm headphone jack, you will need to see if your soundbar supports the appropriate connections.

Note that if your soundbar does not have a port to plug in a 3.5mm plug, you can opt for certain types of adapters and conversion cables in order to still use this particular jack on your TV.

For example, you can use an RCA to 3.5mm cable. In this case, you will plug two RCA plugs (red and white) into the soundbar – be sure to plug them into the appropriate jacks on your soundbar.

The other end of the cable will then connect to the 3.5mm headphone jack on your TV. Once connected, be sure to configure the sound on your TV in order to get the best sound experience.

#4 Bluetooth

If your soundbar can receive Bluetooth then you can consider using a Bluetooth amplifier, or even a Bluetooth transmitter.

If your soundbar can’t receive Bluetooth, then you just have to purchase a Bluetooth receiver that outputs whatever your soundbar takes as inputs.

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A word of caution, make sure both the transmitter and receiver are aptX low-latency compatible – it will not work without this format! The latency will be too great and you will hear the sound after the action has taken place on screen.

Conclusion

There are many options to choose from in the modern world when it comes to adding quality sound to your living room, the bedroom, or perhaps to a dedicated entertainment area in your house.

Soundbars are extremely popular because they do not take up a lot of space and they are able to offer high-quality surround sound that helps you truly live the moment, no matter what is playing on the television.

When optical cable is not a connectivity option for you, however, things may seem complicated – fortunately, there are alternative options available for connecting your soundbar to your television, as we described in this post.

About the author

Glen

My name is Glen Parry. I've been in the audio world for over 15 years. This includes guitar, keyboard, ukulele, speakers, headphones and everything else that comes with it. I spend all my free time on music production and jamming with friends. I hope to use this site to share my experience and help anyone looking for solutions to audio related problems.