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!
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.
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.