How to Connect Soundbar to a TV without HDMI 

So you recently bought a brand new soundbar and you’re ready to test it out on your TV. Upon closer look, you notice that your TV does not have an HDMI port. How can you connect a soundbar to a TV that doesn’t have an HDMI port?

For starters, if you’re planning to buy a new soundbar, it’s best to check if your TV is compatible with the soundbar you’re interested in. Currently, the most popular method to connect a TV to a home theatre soundbar is HDMI ARC (audio return channel).

On the other hand, even if your TV does not support HDMI ARC, there are plenty of options for connecting your soundbar to your TV.

 Quick note:  Remember you might have to change the “Audio Source” on the given device to the designated mode for it to work. It doesn’t always automatically switch.

Use The Analog RCA Connections (Red, Yellow, White Cable)

Does both your soundbar and TV have analogue connections? These ports are easy to spot because they’re usually colour-coded (red and white for audio). Most older TVs will have these ports.

If your soundbar supports RCA, then all you need to do is connect the analogue cables from your TV to the soundbar. Since the soundbar is only used for audio, you only need to connect the red and white cables to the soundbar. Or the audio out (TV) to audio in (Soundbar).

Use a Male to Male Aux Cable

Most TVs have an aux port, and if your soundbar does too, then all you need is a male to male aux cord. Simply plug one side into the TV and the other side into the port on your soundbar.

Many older monitors or TVs include one of these cables, so you may have one in your house. The good news is you can also use this cable to connect to practically any audio source, such as a PC, Blu-Ray player, Smart Phone, and whatnot.

When purchasing this cable, make sure you choose one that supports stereo, otherwise, your soundbar will have mono-sound, not surround sound. On another note, make sure to plug one end into the port labelled “Audio Out” on the back of your TV.

Aux cables are often confused with headphone jacks because they look similar. The main difference is aux in is designed for speakers, while the headphone jack is designed specifically for headphones. For example, the audio level on the headphone jack is usually lowered to protect your ears.

Speaking of headphone jacks, that’s another way to connect your soundbar to a TV. The steps are the same as with an aux cable, but instead, you’ll need a male to male headphone jack cable. Just keep in mind, the quality is usually lower when using the headphone port, and the audio will be lower, too.


Use an Optical Cable for Digital Audio

Another option to connect a soundbar to a TV without HDMI would be to use an optical cable. Most TVs will have a port labelled Digital Audio Output. Once again, you’ll have to check and see if your soundbar also includes this port.

If both devices have a digital audio port, simply connect them with an optical cable. You may need to switch the audio source of your TV but if everything runs smoothly the sound should come from your soundbar. Most people recommend this method because the audio quality is great and there’s no interference.

Remember to remove the plastic tips covering the pins on the cable!


Use Adapters

If your soundbar and TV do not share any of the above ports and technologies, then the only remaining option is to look for adapters. To start with, take a look at the rear of your soundbar to see what ports are available. Once you know what you’re working with, it’ll be much easier to find an appropriate adapter.

For example, one common adapter is the dual RCA to single 3.5mm converter. You can find adapters for almost any port combination these days. Another solution would be an RCA to HDMI adapter.


RCA to HDMI Converter


Pair Your TV to Your Soundbar via Bluetooth

Does your TV have Bluetooth? If both your TV and soundbar have Bluetooth, what you want to do is pair them both so the audio is transferred wirelessly. Contrary to what you might think, Bluetooth audio can be just as high quality as when using a cable.

The plus side is you won’t have to worry about cable management. Although most soundbars have built-in Bluetooth, most older TVs do not. On the subject of wireless, there’s also the option to connect your soundbar to your TV via WiFi.

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About S. Santos

👋 I'm a technology columnist and tech blogger, with a love for video games, gadgets, home entertainment and personal technology. I've been writing about the industry now for over 10 years - first as an editor of various magazines before branching out to work on my own blog. I like 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, I can be found playing tennis or padel. This blog is my space to explore new topics related to these hobbies; as well as share some thoughts about life in general (sometimes you need a break from electronics!). 😎

2 thoughts on “How to Connect Soundbar to a TV without HDMI ”

  1. how do i set up a 5.1 theatre system to hear tv audio through the theatre system
    The tv only has 2 HDMI ports ( in use)
    to media box and theatre system, the tv has the red and white audio in & out.

    • Hi ShaunThe red white audio cable could work, just get one off Amazon or Mapplin. If the home theatre doesn’t have a red and white cable input try an adapter RCA to HDMI, I might say that I never tried this but could work in theory.


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