How to connect soundbar to tv with optical cable

Have you ever noticed a strange-looking input on the back of your TV that says “optical”? If you did, you’ll be happy to know that the input actually presents another way to connect your TV to a speaker or soundbar and get high-quality sound. The optical input is designed for optical cables that carry a digital signal.

Optical cables work differently than other popular digital cables you are familiar with, such as HDMI. That’s because they use laser light to transmit an audio signal between two devices. Nowadays, people often go for HDMI cable and most of them don’t even know that they can connect their devices in other ways as well.

So if you are interested in learning how to work with optical cable , as well as connecting your TV to the soundbar with it, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll show you the easiest way to connect the soundbar to your TV using an optical cable.

When to go for an optical cable to connect your devices

Both optical and HDMI cables are a much better option than analog cables, which are colored red and white. They can stream high-resolution audio and work with various formats. But, there is a difference between the two digital options. Apart from the fact that they work differently, HDMI is believed to be a better option because it can carry higher sound quality than an optical cable. That is why many homes opt for the HDMI cable. Still, an optical cable is a decent option, which is why many people continue to use it. Also, there are cases where using an optical cable will be much smarter and sometimes the only option.

Your device does not have an HDMI input

Some older TVs, as well as some sound bars, do not have an HDMI port, so it may be a problem connecting them to a sound bar. If your TV is newer, this option is highly unlikely. However, your HDMI may not work for some reason. In that case, most people settle for an analog cable and inferior sound quality. But, now you know you don’t have to. By purchasing an optical cable and connecting your devices, you can still have a great digital connection between the soundbar and your TV.

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Some sound bars, like the SONOS PLAYBAR, only have optical input

Need to eliminate hum

Do you have a problem with that annoying hum coming from your speaker? In many cases, hum occurs when there is a ground loop in your house. Therefore, you will need to isolate the device in question. You can do it with the help of an optical cable. This is because, due to the materials they are usually made of, optical cables cannot transfer that type of noise.

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Want to separate the audio

If for some reason you need to isolate the sound from a digital source, you should know that you can achieve it with HDMI and optical cable. However, the whole process of isolating sound with an HDMI cable will be much more difficult and you will definitely need some additional equipment. Therefore, an optical cable is a better way to go.

Connecting the sound bar to the TV with an optical cable

Now that we’ve covered what is an optical cable and why you will need to use it in some situations, let’s connect the TV and soundbar!

Remove the caps from the optical cable

Is your optical cable new? Well, if this is your first time using the optical cable you are about to connect, you will need to remove the plastic caps that protect the ends of the cable. They are located on both ends of the cable.

Remove the covers

Locate the optical ports on the devices

Before proceeding to the next step, we recommend that you turn off both of your devices (your TV and your sound bar). Then find the digital audio ports on the back of the soundbar and the TV. After finding the ports, you will need to insert one end of the optical cable into the TV (optical out) and the other into the sound bar (optical in).

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Search for optical audio output

Set up your TV and sound bar

Now it’s time to turn on your devices and set them up. On both the TV and the soundbar, you need to go to source selection and change the source to digital. If you see a “D-IN” notification on the soundbar screen, you have successfully connected the soundbar to your TV with an optical cable!

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You should check if you did a good job playing something on your TV.In case you’ve managed to hook everything up and you still can’t hear sound coming from the soundbar, don’t panic just yet! You need to check if the audio is coming from the TV speakers. Sometimes it doesn’t turn off automatically when you connect your devices with an optical cable. Your sound bar should be up and running within a minute.

Other ways to connect your sound bar to your TV

In case you figure it out If your TV doesn’t have an input for the optical cable, don’t worry. As we mentioned before, there are other ways to connect your devices. We’ll also show you how to work with other types of connections.

Alternatives to an optical cable

Alternatives to an optical cable

Use the HDMI cable

When it comes to transmitting audio, using an HDMI cable is the best option. It transmits high-quality sound and is quite easy to connect. If both your sound bar and TV have HDMI ARC ports, you will only need to insert one end of the cable into the sound bar and the other end into the TV. Then you should change the source (audio output) to digital on both devices and you are good to go.

Try the AUX/RCA cable

AUX transmit a 2-channel analog signal. That is why they are not the best option if you are looking for better sound or surround sound. But, if you just want to connect both devices and don’t have a digital cable in your possession, the auxiliary cable will do.

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As with other types of cables, you will need to connect both ends of the cable to your devices. You need to make sure the ends are connected correctly as AUX cables tend to come loose easily. The next step is to change the source to AUX in settings, and you’re good to go.

Connect your devices via Bluetooth

In case Unless you want to go through the hassle of finding ports and connecting cables, you can always go wireless and pair your devices via Bluetooth. Of course, you should check if both your soundbar and TV have Bluetooth. In case they do, enable it on both devices. Don’t forget to make both devices visible in settings. Then wait for your TV to detect the soundbar and connect to it. You should give your TV a few minutes and then play something back to check if you did everything the right way.

In most cases, connecting your TV and sound bar via Bluetooth will cause audio delay that can be quite noticeable and quite annoying. Using Bluetooth to connect the sound bar and TV is only recommended if both the TV and sound bar support the aptX LL codec. And even in that case, the audio and video may not be perfectly in sync. So unless you really have to, don’t use Bluetooth to connect a soundbar to a TV.

The bottom line

We told you it was easy to connect the soundbar to the TV with an optical cable! With just a few simple steps, you can enjoy high-quality sound. On the other hand, if your devices do not have an optical cable input, you will still be able to connect them with the help of HDMI, auxiliary cable or Bluetooth, just as we explained.

Did you find this article helpful? Let us know in the comments below and be sure to stay tuned for more helpful articles!


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