How to Connect a Soundbar to Sky Q Box

So you recently got a new Sky Q box and you’re wondering if there’s a way to connect it to your soundbar to get rich audio. Connecting a soundbar to your Sky Q box is rather straightforward but there are a few important pointers to keep in mind.

I recently encountered this issue, and after fiddling around with different settings and cables, I figured out the best way to connect a soundbar to a Sky Q box. Bear in mind, the steps vary depending on your TV and soundbar. Don’t worry, while it seems a little complicated, connecting a soundbar to the box is actually pretty simple.

One important point is that Sky Q box only supports HDMI-ready TVs (specifically, models that support HDCP 2.2) and I suggest buying a TV that supports HDMI ARC too. Most soundbars will support HDMI too, as well as optical, and other connections, which we’ll talk about later on.

Let’s take a look at how you can connect the soundbar to the box.

How to Connect a Soundbar to Sky Q box:

HDMI ARC

The best way to connect a soundbar to Sky Q is through HDMI ARC. Locate the HDMI ARC port on the rear of your TV and run an HDMI cable from that port to the soundbar. Next, run an HDMI cable (from any free HDMI slot) to your Sky Q Box’s HDMI port.

Even though the soundbar is not directly connected to your Sky Q box with the above configuration, if the TV’s HDMI ARC port is in use (and another HDMI cable is connected from the box to the TV) the TV should route all the audio should to the soundbar.

Bear in mind, you might need to disable your TV’s speakers from the interface, or change the audio source to HDMI ARC. It might work right away, but some times you’ll need to manually change the settings.

Note: Some Sky Q boxes have an HDMI-in port, but it doesn’t seem to work, and it was dropped on newer models.

Optical Audio Cable

Now, in the situation where your TV does not have an HDMI ARC port (or you prefer not to use it) then one way to connect the soundbar would be through an optical cable.

With this method, you would run an optical cable (Toslink) from the Sky Q box to the soundbar. Every Sky Q box has an optical port, and most soundbars do too, so it shouldn’t be a problem.

Nevertheless, connecting the two devices through an optical cable is a good option because you can keep the HDMI ARC port free, the connection is stable, and the sound quality is good too.

If you don’t have HDMI ARC on your TV (or you don’t have extra HDMI cables) then using an optical cable is the best alternative.

Bluetooth

Although using Bluetooth is not ideal, it might work in certain situations. What you can try to do is pair your Bluetooth soundbar to the Sky Q box (it has Bluetooth). Based on my research, this solution is very spotty and it depends on the model of your Sky Q Box.

Most Sky Q boxes only support Bluetooth, which means you can stream music to the box over Bluetooth. They don’t seem to allow audio to flow from the box to a Bluetooth speaker, but you can always give it a shot.

For example, some customers want to connect their Bluetooth headphones to the Sky Q box but unfortunately, that’s not possible. Maybe in the future, they’ll update the firmware to allow the connection, but as of today, it’s not possible.

Why Use HDMI ARC?

Generally, HDMI ARC is the recommended audio method because you can control your soundbar’s volume with your TV remote and it supports more audio formats (such as Dolby Atmos). Most audio experts agree that the audio from HDMI is better than the alternative options.

Is HDMI Audio Better than Optical Audio?

The average consumer probably won’t be able to notice the difference in sound quality between HDMI and optical, at least when using a soundbar because soundbars usually only have stereo audio. Optical only supports Dolby Digital.

On the other hand, when it comes to more advanced audio setups such as 5.1 or 7.1 channels, that’s where HDMI ARC shines. You would want to connect the HDMI ARC from your TV to an AV receiver for surround sound.

Can You Control Soundbar Volume with a Sky Q Remote?

It looks like you can pair a Sky Q remote to your soundbar, and thus control the volume on it through the remote. When using the HDMI ARC method, you can use your TV remote to control the soundbar’s volume, but with optical, it can work too, but the soundbar has to be on the list of Sky Q compatible soundbars.

Connecting Sky Q Box to a Surround Sound Setup?

The best way to connect a Sky Q box to a surround sound system is through an optical cable. Previously I mentioned HDMI ARC is better, but when it comes to audio equipment such as 5.1 systems or amps, HDMI ARC can be troublesome.

The reason is HDMI ARC offers control too, which turns your audio equipment on and off every time you turn the TV on, which can cause problems. Normally, if the Sky Q box has a separate HDMI ARC port, you could connect the surround sound setup to the box via the HDMI cable.

The problem is the box only has one HDMI port which your TV needs, so you’ll be limited to optical. I recommend using an optical cable from your Sky Box to your surround sound system.

Remember, dealing with audio configurations can be tricky, and you’ll need to try a few different methods and configure the settings on each device too. But with a bit of troubleshooting, you should be able to find the ideal setup for your Sky Q box. When in doubt, you can always call a Sky Q technician for support.

 

Image:William Hook / CC BY-SA

About S. Santos

Tech columnist and tech blogger, audiovisual aficionado trying to keep up with the ever-evolving world of gadgets, home entertainment, and personal technology. If not fiddling with AV cables at home or in front of the computer, he can be found playing tennis or padel.

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