How to Connect a Soundbar to a TV Without Optical Cable?

If you’re wondering to connect a soundbar to a TV that doesn’t have an optical cable, I have some good news for you. In this article, we’ll walk you through a few potential solutions to your problem. It won’t be long before you can hook up that soundbar and get a much-improved audio experience.

For starters, if you find yourself in this situation you probably have an older TV or soundbar that does not support HDMI cables, only optical cable. Nowadays, the most common way to connect a TV to a soundbar is via HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) but not every device supports this technology.

Maybe you want to connect an optical-audio-only TV to a soundbar that does not have an optical input or the other way around. Either way, we have some fixes you can try out.

Keep in mind, another term for optical cable is TOSLINK digital audio. There are two cables you might confuse with optical cable; TOSLINK and Coaxial. TOSLINK resembles a LAN cable. It’s a little bulkier and has a square-shaped head. The Coaxial cable is similar to the one you use for cable-TV, it has one single pin.

Your TV Doesn’t Have An Optical Audio Out

Consider an HDMI ARC Adapter (Audio Extractor)

One of the simplest solutions is to buy an HDMI ARC to Optical Audio Adapter. These devices are often called Audio Extractors, and how they work is rather complicated. The short version is that they provide multiple ports, some of which may be absent from one of your devices.

For example, if your TV only has HDMI ports and no optical output, while your soundbar only has optical and no HDMI. The adapter adds an HDMI port for the TV (ARC enabled) and an output for the optical, so you just need to plug cables from both audio devices into the adapter, and you should be good to go. It can work in reverse too.

The downside to using these adapters is the quality varies depending on the manufacturer. You will also need an ARC compatible HDMI cable. Regardless, this is one of the best ways to get the ports you need to connect your devices.

But if that doesn’t work…

Connect the TV and Soundbar via Bluetooth

If your TV supports Bluetooth audio, that would be one solution to your problem. Most soundbars have Bluetooth. What you need to do is pair both devices, and everything should work out just fine. The only downside is there may be some interference or audio-lag depending on nearby devices. It’s also best to check which version of Bluetooth your devices support, the older versions will likely have audio delays, for example, 2.0 and lower.

Optical Input to Coaxial Output (Or Reverse)

If your TV has an optical output, but your soundbar only has Coaxial input, one solution would be to get an optical input to the coaxial adapter. These adapters are relatively cheap because they only convert one port to another, instead of multiple ports like the audio extractor mentioned earlier.

Compare the product manuals of your TV and soundbar to see which audio they support. Sometimes a TV will only have coaxial, while the soundbar only has an optical input, in which case you’ll need to find a converter that sends the signal the right direction.

So those are three solutions you can try to connect your soundbar to a TV without an optical cable. In my opinion, the best solution is to find an appropriate adapter, they usually don’t cost much, and they’ll make your life a lot easier. I like the HDMI ARC audio extractor because it provides plenty of other ports that may come in handy down the road.

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About S. Santos

👋 I'm a technology columnist and blogger with over 10 years of experience, currently serving as Blue Cine Tech's AV Editor. Specialising in gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology, my work has been featured in top technology blogs. I'm dedicated to breaking down the complexities of the latest tech trends, from explaining the intricacies of Dolby Vision to optimising your streaming experience. This blog serves as a platform for my ongoing exploration of the ever-evolving tech landscape. If you see me at industry events like CES or IFA, feel free to say hello.

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