Whether you’ve just purchased a new smart TV or have owned one for years, you may not know precisely what each input and output included on your television actually does. To ensure you’re getting as many benefits from your smart TV as possible, you need to understand its capabilities.
Below, we’ll highlight a list of all the most common inputs and outputs on smart TVs. Keep reading to learn more!
Smart TV Inputs and Outputs List
One of the most significant advantages of a smart TV is that most features use an internet connection, negating the need for lots of cables and wires. However, some people still like to connect external devices to their television, such as speakers or gaming consoles.
The most common inputs and outputs you’ll see on your smart TV include:
● HDMI Input
● HDMI ARC Input/Output
● Ethernet Input
● Optical Input/Output
● Auxiliary Input/Output
● USB Input
● Cable Antenna Input
● AV Input
● IR Transmitter
While all of these are common, your smart TV’s exact inputs and outputs will depend heavily on the brand name and specific model. Below, we’ll highlight some common connections for smart TVs. For specifics, consult your TV’s owner’s manual or ask a customer service representative at your local electronics store.
If there’s one TV input that nearly everyone is familiar with, it’s the HDMI, or high definition multimedia interface, input. This is a very commonly-used input, with the ability to deliver both audio and visual content through a single cord.
Today, most smart TVs include multiple HDMI inputs, allowing you to connect several external devices at once. Generally, smart TVs will feature anywhere from two to four HDMI inputs. You can connect nearly any modern device to an HDMI input, including:
● Streaming sticks
● Streaming boxes
● Gaming consoles
● DVD/Blu-Ray players
Specific external devices offer several connection methods. If you have a choice, using an HDMI cable is typically the best option.
HDMI ARC Input/Output
Of the several HDMI inputs you see listed on the side or back of your smart TV, one of them may be labelled HDMI ARC. This stands for “high definition multimedia interface audio return channel.” Standard HDMI inputs typically only work for streaming sticks and gaming consoles, while HDMI ARC input/outputs can connect to external audio equipment. They’re most commonly used to connect a television to:
● AV receivers
● Surround sound systems
Just like on a laptop or desktop computer, the Ethernet input allows you to send a wired internet connection to your smart TV. Some TVs will have this labelled simply as “Ethernet,” while others may call it an “RJ45” or “8P8C” input.
Using a wired connection rather than a wifi connection sometimes improves your smart TV’s speed and performance. This is especially true if your TV is relatively far from your home’s Wi-Fi router. It can even help speed up regular maintenance, such as software updates. If you have a strong wifi connection in your home, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to use this input. However, it’s always good to have a backup.
When you look at the inputs and outputs on the side or back of your smart TV, you may see “Optical” listed. The optical input/output is very small and connects to a thin optical cable. It’s an audio-only digital connection, most often used to connect audio equipment like amplifiers and soundbars to your TV. It’s capable of producing 5.1 surround sound, but not 7.1 surround sound.
Some smart TVs list this port as “Aux In” or “Aux Out.” Others just show a small icon of a pair of headphones. However this input/output is shown on your television, the main purpose of this port is to connect a pair of headphones for private listening.
The auxiliary input/output connects to a single-channel analogue audio cable. Some TVs will mute the sound from the TV’s speakers when headphones are plugged in. If this happens, you may have to either unplug your headphones or change the audio output in your TV’s settings to get it to play out loud again.
Some smart TVs now feature USB inputs. There are a variety of purposes for this input, but the most common is using a USB storage stick or another device to view media stored on the stick, such as photos or videos. Depending on your television model, you may even be able to charge USB-connected devices, such as smartphones, through this input.
Cable Antenna Input
Some people forego their monthly cable subscription in favour of a smart TV. These internet-connected televisions offer access to nearly every streaming service, so not everyone finds it necessary to watch TV shows and movies live.
However, if you have a cable box connected to your television, you may want to plug it into the cable antenna input. This input is often denoted as “Cable/Ant. It allows you to plug your cable antenna directly into your TV.
Nearly every smart TV will include an AV, or audiovisual, input. It’s similar to the older-style RGB inputs, but uses only one cable instead of three. You can connect external devices like DVD players, VCRs, and gaming consoles through this input. It produces both audio and visual signals, meaning it’s the only cord you’ll need to see and hear content from the device.
The IR transmitter input connects a small, wired infrared transmitter, which repeats a signal from your remote to an external piece of equipment, such as a soundbar or surround sound system. If you want to control your audio equipment with the same remote you use for your TV, connecting an infrared emitter to this input is a good idea.
The above list should help you determine what each port on the side or back of your smart TV is actually for. Keep in mind that these inputs and outputs can vary based on both the brand and model of television you own. Check each input or output you see for specific information, then match them to our list.