How Should I Connect My Soundbar To My TV?

Couple watching a movie on a home projector

If you want to create a fully immersive, cinematic viewing experience curled in the comfort of your sofa, a soundbar is a worthy investment.

A soundbar sits you right at the heart of the action, leaving you rocked by every explosion and included in every whispered word. With their crisp, clear surround sound you’ll hear every drop of rain that falls on screen as if it was splashing onto the floor around you.

But before you can enjoy complete immersion in your viewing, you have to set your soundbar up correctly. 

The connection method you choose can actually affect the quality of your soundbars output. Pick the wrong one and it can dull the accuracy of the surround experience, or muffle the clarity. It can also be frustrating and awkward to set up.

This is especially annoying when you’re eager to get started on the latest blockbuster or binge a boxset. To stop you from getting caught up in unnecessary cables and losing your temper, we’ve put together this quick FAQ on how to connect your soundbar to your television.

We’ll cover all the questions we regularly get asked, including the best way to connect and what devices you can connect to get the best use out of your soundbar.

Before we get started, it’s important to note that not all soundbars will be able to use every connection method. If you feel like you’ve tried everything and still you can’t make your TV and your soundbar talk, then take a moment to refer back to the user manual. 

It could just be as simple as the fact that your chosen connection method is not supported.

What is the best way to connect a soundbar to a TV?

If you want a high-quality and reliable connection, then using HDMI is your best bet.

  • For a start, this is the most commonly featured connection type across current soundbars.
  • As it is a physical wired connection, it will always stay stable no matter what other appliances are in the area.
  • Finally, perhaps most importantly, an HDMI connection produces a superior quality of audio. This is because the audio data passed through these cables is raw, rather than compressed for ease of transfer. This means that HDMI cables are easily up to the task of sharing surround sound, as well as handling Dolby ATMOS and DTS:X.

Of course, some people won’t want a nest of trailing cables connecting their devices. Particularly if you want to wall mount your soundbar, or set it up at a distance from the TV. 

So if an HDMI connection doesn’t suit your needs, Bluetooth and WiFi connections are available on many models of modern soundbars too.

How to connect soundbar to TV with HDMI

If you’re struggling to get your HDMI connection to work, it’s probably because you’ve popped it in the wrong port.

To get an audio HDMI transfer, you need to use an HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) port, rather than the standard HDMI port you would use to connect a console or Blu-Ray player too.

Most new TV’s do have an ARC port – or even an HDMI eARC port which provides an even higher quality connection.

In many cases, all you need to do in order to forge an HDMI connection between your TV and soundbar is plug the cable in. If this doesn’t work, then the user manual of your soundbar will offer further advice.

HDMI cable going into a HDMI port

What cable do I need to connect the soundbar to TV?

This will depend on what type of wired connection you choose. 

For an HDMI connection, all you need is a standard double-ended HDMI cable. Exactly the same as you would use to connect a console or player to your TV. Just make sure it goes in the HDMI ARC port.

If your TV has an HDMI eARC port, it is probably worth investing in an HDMI 2.1 cable. These can conduct a higher standard of data transfer than a traditional 1.4 HDMI cable. 

The quality of audio that comes from a standard HDMI port does not require a 2.1 cable because it is not high enough. With an eARC port, it is worth it.

How do I connect a soundbar to TV with optical cable?

If your TV is older and doesn’t have an HDMI ARC port, you can always use an optical cable instead.

Most soundbars have an Optical In port. All you need to do is hook this up to the Optical Out port on your soundbar. As different makes and models of soundbar may need further steps taken, you should refer to the user manual of your soundbar to complete this set-up if it doesn’t work.

An optical connection will still provide quality audio output from your soundbar. The main difference is that it won’t give the same ‘surround sound’ experience.

Another thing about optical connections is that you’re less likely to have an optical cable knocking around the house already. This type of cable is readily available to buy though and won’t be too expensive.

Can you connect a soundbar to a TV wirelessly?

With the sleek, minimalist design of TV’s and soundbars these days, you might want to avoid the unnecessary clutter of trailing wires. This is why many soundbars offer a choice of wireless connection methods.

The main downside of a wireless connection is the quality. The audio will be compressed so it can be sent efficiently, and this can lead to a lower quality experience which is a shame when soundbars are often capable of so much more.

The connection will also be less reliable, with the potential for interference to cut it off unexpectedly. 

Soundbar beneath smart TV

Can you connect a soundbar via WiFi?

Your first wireless connection option will be a Wifi connection. This should be standard across most soundbars currently available. Of course, you will also need a WiFi-enabled television too.

As well as being less messy than a wired connection, a benefit of a Wifi connection is that you can connect multiple devices at once. You can even connect more than one soundbar if you want to.

It also has a long-range, unlike Bluetooth which is quite limited and wires where you are completely tethered to the length of the wire.

Can you connect a soundbar to TV via Bluetooth?

Yes. These days, almost all soundbars on the market will have an option for Bluetooth connectivity.

Set-up should be simple but will differ between brands so consult your user manual. 

A great use for a Bluetooth connection is to connect other devices to the soundbar, where the quality of the output will already be reduced.

What devices can I connect to my soundbar?

A soundbar is a pivotal part of an immersive home cinema experience, but it is able to support a lot more than just your television. Hook it up to your other appliances or devices and you’ll unlock even more benefits from your soundbar.

Can you connect a CD player to a soundbar?

If your CD player is a bit older and you’re wondering how to connect a soundbar to TV with aux, unfortunately not many soundbars still support this connection. 

This doesn’t mean you can’t savour the sounds of your favourite album through your soundbar though. Most smart soundbars will let you stream through Spotify Connect instead.

Can I connect my record player to my soundbar?

The warmth and depth that only vinyl can produce means that records are back at the top of many music lovers’ choice of medium. But to fully appreciate the beauty of vinyl, you need a set of exceptional speakers. Luckily, the audio output on most soundbars is more than up to it if you can find the right connection.

Traditionally, turntables will only have an AUX output and, as discussed above, this is no longer supported by the majority of soundbars. But this doesn’t mean you have to abandon all hope of hearing your beloved record collection in its full glory with your soundbar.

A lot of new turntables come with Bluetooth as standard. And if you’re not in the market for a new player, you can also buy Bluetooth adapters that will take an AUX or RCA connection (which are seen on almost all turntables) and turn it into a Bluetooth signal that your soundbar can receive. 

How to connect soundbar to projector

If you’ve decided to go for a full home cinema experience with a projector, it is always worth investing in a soundbar as well. 

They are just as easy to set up with a projector as with a television, as most will support a standard HDMI ARC connection. You just need to plug it in.

Couple watching a movie on a home projector

How do I connect my soundbar connect to my TV?

There are plenty of ways to get your TV and your soundbar sharing sound. Whether you want the tidy convenience of a wireless connection or the crystal clear audio of an HDMI, it’s about finding the connection that works for you.

If the sound of an immersive, incredible, home cinema experience appeals to you, you can take a look at our range of LG and Samsung soundbars and discover a whole new level of audio experience.