Televisions

78 comments on “Connecting Sound bar to TV Isn’t As Hard as You Think

  1. James

    I found it astounding that this article completely failed to touch on what I think is clearly the most significant fact to consider when setting up a sound bar: most TV’s DO NOT output Dolby Digital 5.1 from their optical output when the source is from media attached to the TV via HDMI. Most TV’s can only output DD through the optical-out when the media source is internal, rendering this article just shy of pointless.

    • That is a great point that we’ll outline in a later series when discussing HDMI ARC, however I have found that most people do not purchase soundbars for the ability to decode or play back 5.1/7.1 surround sound.

      • George

        Have you published that series on HDMI ARC yet? I am one of those who is interested in how to connect to get 5.1 playback through the soundbar.

      • Carol

        Yeah ok I’m not a tech savvy person but would to improve the sound coming from my caravan 22inch tv I only have Foxtel connected to it nothing else would one of these soundbars work for me

  2. I bought a soundbar because my tv has no audio out and very poor quality speakers. I currently run an S/PDIF from my cable box to my soundbar, but I need to physically disconnect that source when I want to watch something from my WD Live TV box. Is there such a thing as an S/PDIF switch where I can have both sources permanently connected with a single output into the soundbar?

  3. Kenny

    My sound went completely out on my tv. I can’t figure out the problem, would a soundbar still work so I could keep this tv it’s only a few years old.

    • You’ll need to determine if the audio output of your TV still works. That means you want to connect the RCA audio outputs of the TV to some device (any device) that has an audio input so you can test it. If you get audio, then, yes, a soundbar will work.

  4. Paul

    Hi

    Can you tell me if i connect a sound bar or a subwoofers to my tv will i lose the tv speakers sound?

    LG 55UB850V Smart 3D 4k Ultra HD 55″ LED TV

    Thanks

    • Optical output should not disable the TV speakers (though I recommend turning the volume all the way down if you use a soundbar). Connecting to the headphone jack should defeat the TV speakers, however.

      • fred cates

        can i plug a sound bar into a 19 inch flat screen tv through the head phone jack
        or what do i hook it up to, i’m 70 years old and don’t under stand the computer lingo
        how do i do it.

        • Fred, technically if you can get from the headphone output your TV into the analogue input of your sounder with the correct cable, you will get audio. You may have to lower the output of the TV, and raise the output of the sounder to get it sounding correct. Check first, however, if your TV has a pair of red/white audio outputs first.

  5. Chris Haynes

    I am trying to connect a Philips smart TV to a Samsung HW-H550sound bar using HDMI, I have cable TV which is plugged into the first HDMI port, I have bought a pigtail splitter to plug both cable and soundbar through this connection, this being the ARC, when I plug this in to the TV nothing happens at all. The soundbar does not work in the HDMI2 connection at all, the only connection that does work is the Aux cable. Any ideas, I think I am doing it all very wrong….

    • What are you splitting? You want to connect the HDMI OUTput of the Samsung HW-H550 to your TV’s HDMI ARC port (there’s only one and it should be labeled). You want to connect your CableTV box to the HDMI INput of the Samsung HW-H550. Then you should be able to see your TV and also receive sound when you use functions on the TV and select the D.IN input on the soundbar. The ARC function is activated in D.IN mode if the unit is connected to an ARC supporting TV.

  6. Brian stephens

    How do I make the sound bar the default audio choice. Ie, now have to hit aux button on dish remote to get to volume, then hit sat to go back to normal tv functions.

  7. tony cirelli

    I just purchased an ilive soundbar for my 55 inch haier tv, i can’t get this dam thing to work. I can’t use the rca cables, is there another way to hook it up. Thanx

  8. Old Owl

    Hi, have a Samsung 60″ with 3 HDMI of which one is HDMI ARC. I have now an Apple TV connected to ARC, a satellite box and a Chromecast to the others.
    I now wish to connect a Panasonic Soundbar SC-NTH170 and please inform how this can be achieved.
    Great if I can have an answer.

    • I am not familiar with that soundbar model. If it has an “ARC” (Audio Return Channel) HDMI output, connect that to the ARC input of the Samsung. If it does not have HDMI with ARC, then you are going to have to connect the digital optical output of your Samsung TV to the sounder and see if your TV allows for audio output to be sent to the digital output from other devices connected via HDMI. There’s no reason to reserve the ARC input for the Apple TV.

  9. DL

    Hi there, So we have a sound bar installed on our TV – as well as Chromecast. My question for you is there anyway to play to sound through the soundbar while using CHromecast. If you could please fill me in on how to do it. Thanks

    • If your TV supports transcoding audio from HDMI input sources to the optical output, then yes. You’ll need to look that up in the user manual, and also check your audio settings in the TV’s System menu to see if it has any related settings there that can help.

    • Chris

      Did you find another solution somewhere? I have the same problem, I’ve connected a Chromecast to my HDMI input, but the TV’s optical output won’t send the Chromecast audio to my sound bar… sucks! =( knowing a work around would be great ~ Chris

  10. Maltese Falcon

    Hello, I just purchased a 65HU8500 Samsung along with a soundbar (H7500) to go with it. What would be the best setup to connect the above when I also have a PS4, Dreambox and Android Box? Should I use HDMI between the TV and soundbar; Or is the optical digital output better? And what about the other devices? Thanks!

  11. JR

    Hi, I am planning to buy Samsung UN32H6350 TV. I only want better sound for TV viewing-
    Nothing more- Just have a cable box-Called Samsung and they mentioned 3 different models I could use but I didn’t understand what the girl said when she talked about sound bars compatible with either Optic cable vs HDMI input. One soundbar she said was HDMI imput, and another less inexpensive one was Analog Digital input. I had no idea was she was talking about as I know nothing about these things. How do I know which has better sound Optic cable or HDMI? Or doesn’t it make a difference? Do I just get one the recommended sound bars and see what kind of cable it comes with? Also won’t I need an extra cable to connect to my Optima cable box also? Any help you could provide this senior would be most appreciated! Been searching for days to understand but I still don’t get it 🙁 Thanks a million if you could help me in simple terms.

  12. randy

    I have a TV, a cable box, and a media player box, and a sound bar. If all the device’s are connected to the TV via HDMI cables, Then i run the optical cable from the tv to the sound bar. I should then be able to have the sound come through the sound bar, for either the tv, or the media player..is this right?

  13. Peter Phelps

    hi there,I have an outside gazebo bar area with two TVs one near bar and one near lounge area… Can I use one soundbar for both TVs? I won’t have them on at same time with different channels going… Example fox sport on one and housewives on other! If both TVs are on they will be on same channel or only one tv will be on either in bar or lounge. Any suggestions?

  14. brij

    i didnt understand one part . when soundbar is acting as a hub for all devices that means it is getting both audio and video . Then y do we need to output the audio from tv back to the bar through arc or optical . The tv is getting the video from the bar and the bar is getting the audio from the device

  15. Sheila Bair

    My dad’s TV sits on a counter that divides the dining area from the kitchen. He sits at the table with the TV blasting because he is hard of hearing, and the person working in the kitchen (me) goes bonkers because of the noise. The speakers appear to be on the bottom edge of the TV, but I swear the sound comes out of the air vents on the back. We were hoping to simply plug in auxiliary speakers that faced the dining area, but that’s not an option with his TV. I have provided the TV and cable box info below. Is there anything we can do (on a tight budget) to remedy this? Considerations, if it’s a headset, it has to be wireless. The walkway to the sliding door is between the dining table and the kitchen counter, so there can’t be any wires that run from the TV to my dad. If he can’t control the volume with a remote, he won’t use it. It would be great to have the option of choosing between a headset for my day, as well as the ability for everyone sitting at the table to be able to hear the TV. “If they can put a man on the moon…” Thank you in advance!

    TV: LG 26LS3500
    RF In (Antenna/Cable), AV In, Component Video In(Y, Pb, Pr + Audio), HDMI™/HDCP Input, USB 2.0

    From LG website: This TV does not have a headphone jack. This television is not compatible with any form of a Sound Bar or other Audio System. This TV does not have any form of Audio Output available to send a signal to such a speaker device. The only option for this would be to connect a Cable Box directly to the audio device for the audio, and separately to the TV for the video.
    http://www.lg.com/us/tvs/lg-26LS3500/answers

    Cable Box: Cisco Explorer 4742HDC
    All connections out: HDMITM with CEC, IEEE 1394 (4-pin), Dual L/R Audio, Baseband Video, YPbPr, IR, Optical Digital Audio, RF Out
    http://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/products/collateral/video/series-4000-digital-cable-set-tops/7018348a.pdf

  16. Mehrdad

    Let me start with complimenting you on your nice connection Sound Bar Diagram, very easy to follow. I have a LED Samsung TV (UN55D6500) and I just bought Harman Kardon Sebre SB 35 Sound Bar. I have four Micro HDMI ports on my sound bar. Would you recommend I use the sound bar as hub or the TV? does it matter which port I connect my cable box? Also, if I use the sound bar as a hub and run out of HDMI port, can I connect the additional connections to TV HDMI? I sure do appreciate your advise!

    • Larry

      I have a 55″ smart Samsung TV on a wall mount on our fireplace stone wall and I want to know if I can physically mount a sound bar to the bottom of the TV, so that when we rotate the TV the sound bar moves with it?

  17. Michelle

    I’m just trying to find out a few things that I have been confused about. There is a soundbar, HWj650/Za that shows 4.1 channels but then also shows Dolby Digital® 5.1 channel. Why are both listed? Also, it says Wireless. Does it still have to be connected wired at all? Thanks.

  18. Amanda Andrews

    Hello!
    I need your help please!
    I recently bought a Hipstreet CONCERTO Bluetooth Soundbar from The Brick and am trying to hook it up to my Phillips Smart TV.
    I have the cables hooked up from the soundbar to the TV but when I use Netflix I get no sound through my Soundbar, just the TV.
    HELP PLEASE!!!

  19. gary t barna

    how do I hook a simple soundbar up to my tv using roku ??? aux ports wont give audio out and tv does not have a optical port

  20. Rene

    I have a 6-7 yr old Insignia TV. It has 4 hdmi inputs but none say they are arc. I just bought a Samsung HW-F355/ZA sound bar. I have hdcable box and PS3 connected hdmi. Is there any way to get it connected?

  21. lucy ryan

    I have a LG Bluetooth sound bar and one wireless speaker that came with it. What I want is to hookup a wireless speaker that sets on the table next to me because I still can’t hear the television to well. What kind of speaker do I need to get and is there anything else I need to hook it up right. All I’m going to use it for is television.

  22. Terence charville

    I’ve got a philips sound bar and connected it via optocal cable. But problem is that when people are talking there mouth is not in sync with eachothet

    • Check if you have your TV set to 120Hz or similar. I’ve found with some that if I place it into “Game” mode, the lag disappears. That’s a mode that eliminates the video processing (which can slow the video behind the audio). If your Philips sound bar has HDMI that can also fix the problem as HDMI has an automatic lip sync function.

  23. Derek

    I just purchased a Sony HTCT380 soundbar. I have my Xbox 360, my computer & my cable box connected to the HDMI ports on the soundbar & have the ARC out to my Panasonic TCP50S30. When playing audio through the soundbar from the cable box, the power is no where near the 300W output. When playing audio through all the other sources including Bluetooth or the AUX In, the sound is rich & loud. When the soundbar is at max volume from the cable box, it come no where near the max of the other sources. I’ve played with all the audio settings on the cable box & the TV & still cannot get the audio as powerfull on the output from the cable box to the TV. I’ve tried reversing the HDMI connections & using the Optical Audio out & have gotten the same results. Any ideas on what the problem is & how it can be fixed? Is it the TV? Is it the Cable box? Both are about 4 years old (2011 models).

  24. David

    I have a Sony KDL 40BX450 TV and need to hook up a Visio 25″ 2.1 Sound Stand SS2521-C6. The TV”s only audio in and video in are being used by the cords running to the TV from my DVD player. Can you tell me waht I now need to do to connect and use the sound system please? Thanks

  25. Susan

    Just purchased a Sony KDL 48WX600B TV. Trying to hook it up to Vizio VHT215. We followed the hook up as you diagrammed but no sound will come out of the bar. We are connecting Cable box, Apple TV and Blue Ray player to the tv and the optical cable to the Vizio. We previously had a Samsung hooked to the Vizio and ran all devices through the Vizio. It worked fine. We tried running everything through the Vizio, but still no sound. Any suggestions?

  26. Vinod

    Hi, I have an older model (around 5 yrs) plasma from Panasonic. Connected a chromecast to one of the two HDMI inputs. Would I still be able to connect a soundbar to the other HDMI input?? Please help

    • That plasma likely doesn’t have ARC (Audio Return Channel), so what you’re going to want to do is feed the SOUNDBAR an output FROM the TV. This will likely be optical digital or analogue. Then, you need to consult the TV manual to see if it converts the ChromeCast (HDMI input) digital audio to the output you’ve connected to your soundbar (or just connect it and listen).

  27. Debbie

    I have a Sharp Tv ,Roku, and CS-30 sound bar. Roku is hook to tv by hdmi., then optical from tv to sound bar. sound bar works when tv is on but when I switch to the roku I get no sound so I switched the tv to the sound bar to red/white cables sound bar works but
    still no sound when roku is turn on. What am I doing wrong?

  28. fran wald

    My VIZIO HDTV has both analog and digital outputs (TOSLINK and HDMI). I have an old pair of BOSE speakers hooked up to the analog port and am wondering if I can also attach a sound stand to either the toslink or HDMI ports for a richer sound (i.e., have all speakers working simultaneously). My Bose speakers are behind my sitting area and the sound stand would be in front of it.

    • I’m not a fan of “more is better”. While you may be able to do that, I almost never recommend adding more speakers that aren’t specifically supporting a surround configuration like 5.1, 7.1, etc…

  29. Matt

    Iam connecting my LG – HS9 7.1 Wireless Sound to my LG – 55UF850V Smart 3D Ultra HD 4k 55″ LED TV by wireless connection, the sound cuts out or crackles some times and end up switching to tv output most of the time any ideas would be welcome?

    • The only real solution is to play with positioning of the receiver/speakers to get better reception—you should also check for obvious sources of interference, like a wireless router positioned right next to it, etc..

  30. mark

    I run all my output devices into my denon receiver, with one output HDMI cable to my Phillips TV. I Added a soundbar to the mix to eliminate my tower speakers and wires. My TV has digital coaxial and RCA outputs. I have hooked both cables from my TV’s audio outputs (digital/analog) and neither will send a signal to my Soundbar. I have read articles about HDCP encryption not allowing the TV to send an audio out signal if hooked up through HDMI. I bought an HDMI splitter to filter between my receiver and the TV, but it did not work. I am about to go crazy trying to figure this one out.

    • First of all why would you want to eliminate your Tower Speakers for a Soundbar that’s crazy? But what I would do is is check your Denon Receiver output setting and make sure the Sound from the receiver is transfering to your Tv? My Receiver only transfers the (Picture) and not Sound unless I change the setting and bypass getting sound from the Receiver!! If that doesn’t fix the problem go to your Tv Menu and make sure you have the Tv set to Output the sound to the Sound Bar Via your Digital or Analog Cables doing this may bypass the sound coming directly from the Tv but that’s what you would want anyway right? I don’t understand why you would need a Spiitter and all of that? I think one of your settings is off that’s all? If all else fails you may have to call Bestbuy to have someone from their Geek Squad come out and fix it for you but hopefully not because they can be expensive? Best of luck!!!!

  31. Ed S

    I recently bought a Sharp HT-SB602 sound bar. I wish to connect it to a Samsung E 55in LED Smart Series 56 and to a Sony Mini Hi-Fi Component MHC-EC709ip. Any help would be appreciated. thanks.

  32. Gary R. Anderson

    The geeks have WON! First, they put HDMI on everything, so you have to buy new equipment, and then they stopped putting the RCA outputs on the TV. I have a $4000 bluetooth wireless hearing aid that has become useless because they are too cheap to continue putting backward compatible availability on the new equipment. REALLY! how much could a couple of RCA inputs cost?

  33. Mark

    My sound bar picks up the cable tv sound, but cannot pick up Netflix or Hulu Plus on the smart hub of my Samsung smart tv (although it does pick up sound with the You Tube app). Any suggestions on how to fix this?

  34. Batty

    I have connected my LG sound bar to my LG tv & it works but I cannot have any ‘normal’ sound when the sound bar is switched off. This also means I cannot turn the sound up & down using my sky remote, is there a way to do this?

  35. Raphael M Oliveira

    So I pressed not use on my TV 65 7500 4k curved, n now my Samsung soundbar doesn’t connect to the TV wireless only on hdmi what do I do the TV setting say that if I selected (don’t use) the connection will b denied, how I reset that..

  36. Joe Martinez

    I am having the toughest time trying to figure out how to get sound from my Apple TV 3rd generation through my Vizio (SB4051-C0) Sound Bar. I do not have an ARC HDMI port on my Panasonic 50″ plasma. Currently I am connected from the TV to the sound bar via an optical cable, Apple TV to the TV via an HDMI cable. Sound through sound bar from TV, however, not Apple TV. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  37. Geoff Parsons

    Hi purchased an RCA RLDEDV with build in CD and miserable sound. Bought a Yamaha YAS CU 201 soundbar that sounded great in the guys house ( no sub woofer or controller however) Obviously the RCA on has RCA cable inputs—no optical. So I purchased a Digital to Analog Audio Converter and nothing. A buddy was over today who is much more knowledable, he played around with it and felt that the converter should have been an Analog to Digital. What do you think, could someone define which device is the input and which is the output.. Thanks for any help.

  38. James Hall

    which is likely to provide more enriched sound, hdmi-arc setup o Samsung’s proprietery wireless setup “soundconnect”? Samsung UHD TV and Samsung soundbar (UN65HU9000 and HW-H7501) respectively? I’ve connected both ways, just want to go with the one that “should” provide the most enriched sound. I can’t tell personally.

  39. Jerry Stockwell

    I have a orbitsound soundbar analog only. Trying to connect to Digital Samsung tv via the optical cable and a digital to analog converter. It works but audio level is poor. Any suggestions

  40. Rob

    Great article Clint…..thanks!! Just a simpleton question…..I have all HDMI ports of new Panasonic tv occupied…in fact purchased a couple of switches to connect more products, and connect tv to Sony sound base thru an ARC outlet on both devices. Question is, what are the HDMI PORTS purpose on the Sony sound bar for?? In other words, if I hook up something to HDMI 1 on SONY sound bar! How wil tv know which HDMI device to play…..the one connected to tv or the one connected to sound bar???

  41. Mark G

    I’m new to the whole home theater system area. I just bought a ILIVE tower sound bar with built-in subwoofer ITP152B module. I been having trouble trying to hook it up to my Hisense 46 inch tv and I can’t get any sound out of it. It’s rca jack compatible which I have hooked up to my TV but for my game console I can’t find a optical source on the sound bar. Any help would be greatly appreciated thank you.

  42. Danny Patel

    Hi, I have a Sony Bravia LED TV it has both HDMI arc and optical out. I am trying to connect the to to my Yamaha YSP2500 soundbar. Do I have to use the optical out cable as well as the hdmi arc? No sound comes out unless I have both connected. Thanks in advance.

  43. Chris Mason

    I have just purchased a Panasonic ALL70teb sounbar which I want to link with my slightly older Panasonic viera TV (non ARC) and my virgin TiVo box…what’s the best configuration of the leads/connections ?

  44. George Duckworth

    I have a Samsung TV with HDMi audio output to a soundbar that also has optical audio output, can use this for wireless headphone receiver connection?

  45. Sara Z

    I recently purchased a Vizio SB3831 soundbar and connected it to my Samsung D550 television via digital optical cable. It is working but when I switch over from my television to my Roku in one of my HDMI ports I have to press the INPUT button to switch the audio sources to select “Optical” again. The soundbar works when I do this but have I set something up wrong or do I need to do this everytime I switch from my multiple sources connected to the soundbar

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