Soundbars are excellent for giving your gaming and TV time a whole new definition. They are designed with at least one HDMI connector for easy installation. Although, some include RCA ports, optical ports, and several other features. Obtaining the most incredible sound with the fewest wires connecting a Soundbar to a TV will undoubtedly be a fascinating experience. Here is a quick guide on how to connect a Soundbar to your TV with HDMI.
Firstly, it is vital to note that the HDMI connector that provides complete operation with an eARC TV may seem different depending on the manufacturer of your soundbar. HDMI eARC ports on typical soundbars are labeled as follows:
JBL: HDMI OUT (TV ARC/TV eARC)
LG: (TV eARC/ARC) HDMI OUT
Samsung: HDMI TO TV (eARC/ARC)
Sennheiser: HDMI TV (eARC) OUT
Sony: HDMI OUT TV (eARC/ARC)
Vizio: HDMI OUT (eARC)
Yamaha: HDMI OUT (ARC)
Generally, there are some misconceptions about how to connect a soundbar to a television. It is crucial to understand how to connect a soundbar to a TV for maximum impact. In other words, this is the only way to get the most sound after connecting a soundbar to a TV.
Also, you'll discover that, despite certain technical complexities, it's relatively simple. You will be excited you did when you hear the results, whether it's merely better stereo or futuristic spatial audio.
Why HDMI eARC over Optical cables?
If your TV supports eARC, but your soundbar only has ARC, or likewise, the connection will work. However, you won't utilize the high-bitrate audio sources that eARC may give until all devices are on the same standard. Initially, at the ARC HDMI protocol in 2009, it could function with almost any HDMI connection. When you enable CEC, the TV can operate the soundbar.
On the other hand, ARC did not support more recent surround-sound audio formats. Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Uncompressed 7.1-channel audio, and other high-bitrate audio, such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, were not supported. Meaning, Netflix 4K streaming and Blu-ray discs will not produce the best from your soundbar. All of the top soundbars for TVs in 2021 boast Dolby Atmos and DTS:X compatibility.
In this regard, you'll need a TV with an eARC HDMI connector to enjoy those spatial audio formats from your soundbar. Fortunately, many TVs from 2018 and later support it. However, any HDMI cable will not suffice. To connect eARC TVs to eARC soundbars, seek HDMI with Ethernet cables, High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet cables, or the next-generation Ultra-High-Speed HDMI Cable.
The difference between HDMI-ARC and HDMI eARC
ARC offers compressed 5.1 surround sound audio, but eARC supports uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound audio. Also, it supports higher bitrates, so you can use an eARC connection to achieve genuine Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Lip-sync correction is also integrated into the new format, which is only available as an option with HDMI ARC. On the other hand, HDMI eARC is a new technology that provides faster and more bandwidth than previous generations.
With an HDMI eARC connector, your TV can transfer more data to your soundbar, resulting in more outstanding audio quality. Furthermore, eARC is backward compatible, so you don't have to worry if your TV has an ARC connector and your soundbar has an eARC port. However, if your TV has an eARC connection, you should consider purchasing a soundbar with an eARC connector. Otherwise, you might face some challenges in enjoying your TV's audio quality.
How to connect a soundbar to a TV with HDMI
Now, you know how to identify an HDMI source and what you need for the connection. Here are the guidelines on how to connect a soundbar to a TV.
Start by turning off the TV and the soundbar for maximum safety. Also, to be extra cautious, unplug the power cables from both the TV and the soundbar. Proceed to use an Ultra-High-Speed HDMI cable to connect the TV's HDMI eARC port to the soundbar's eARC port. If your TV lacks an HDMI port designated eARC or ARC, connect the HDMI cable from the soundbar's HDMI TV port to any HDMI port on the TV. You will notice that the video and maybe the basic audio will be transmitted by this connection.
You may also need to connect an optical digital audio connection to both devices for the best sound quality. Connect a 5-meter optical audio wire from the TV's Optical Out (or OPT-OUT) to the soundbar's Optical in (or OPT-IN). You can now connect additional visual devices such as video gaming consoles with HDMI outputs to the TV's other ports. If you use ARC/eARC, either the TV or the soundbar may be the hub/source selection for all external devices, passing audio and video signals through. So it is best to connect them to the soundbar's other HDMI inputs instead.
Reconnect the TV and soundbar power wires and turn on both devices. To guarantee complete compatibility with your soundbar, you may need to alter one or more settings in your TV's menu. The directions for modifying your TV's audio settings differ based on the manufacturer and model. Lastly, choose the Sound Settings or Audio Settings from the TV menu, then change the HDMI Audio Out, Digital Audio settings, or Optical Out, to Auto/Bypass/Pass-Through, PCM, or Digital/Bitstream.
How to connect a soundbar to a TV remote control
It is vital to access the TV's Sound, System, or Expert settings and activate the HDMI eARC, ARC, and CEC modes. With this, you can locate the exact menu settings required to connect a soundbar to the TV. You may consult the TV's manual or the TV manufacturer's website for more precise instructions for your TV model.
Although, the model of your TV and soundbar determines whether they support ARC HDMI, eARC HDMI, or simply HDMI. You may connect the soundbar to a TV using a single HDMI cable for ARC and eARC connections. Otherwise, you'll need to attach an optical audio cable in addition to an HDMI wire. When your eARC soundbar and a compatible TV are connected, the TV's remote control will work on both devices.
Amazingly, you will realize the built-in controls will be able to turn both devices on and off. The volume controls on the TV will control the volume of the soundbar, while the TV's internal speakers will be bypassed. The remote control for the soundbar should also be able to turn both devices on and off. However, both remotes will include device-specific controls that the other cannot, so keep them both handy. Otherwise, you may decide to replace them both with a universal remote control.