Connecting your wireless headphones to your TV can be a stressful task. That is until you read this definitive guide.
Let’s start off with the basic here. How does the whole thing work? Where is the communication taking place?
- A transmitter
- A receiver
The transmitter to send the audio signal over to the receiver who convert the digital signal into an analog one.
The good news is that if you have a pair of wireless headphones, you already solved 50% of the equation.
Your TV might or might not be the transmitter though. It depends on whether the TV has a built-in transmitter and also the type of wireless connection that your headphones support. So how do you know it supports Bluetooth? We will come to that in the later section.
There are 3 common types of wireless connection that headphones can establish with the TV:
Most smart TVs, at least those made by the big boys – LG, Samsung, and Sony, comes with a Bluetooth transmitter installed. This makes it convenient to connect (or pair, in Bluetooth lingo) your wireless headphones to the TV.
The process is the same as how you will pair your headphones to your mobile phone.
- Put your headphones into pairing mode. Wireless headphones will have a blue blinking light to indicate that it is in the pairing mode.
- Enable the Bluetooth function on the TV. Every TV has a different way to access the Bluetooth support. We will show you an example of a LG TV.
Click on “Setting” or the gear icon on the remote.
Go to “Sound” mode.
Select “Sound Out”.If you cannot find your service menu, you can try looking for your TV model on this website.
- Once the Bluetooth is enabled on the TV, it will do a scan of devices that are in pairing mode.Select “LG SoundSync/Bluetooth” and click on “DEVICE SELECTION”.The TV starts searching for available Bluetooth devices.
- After the scanning is done, you should be able to see your headphones in the list of detected devices.
A list of Bluetooth devices in pairing mode will be on the “Available Devices” list.
- Select the pair of headphones that you want to connect to. Once paired, you will see it in the “Paired Devices” list.
There are three different classes of Bluetooth:
- Class 1
- Class 2
- Class 3
Difference between Class 1, Class 2 and Class 3 Bluetooth
Class 1 Bluetooth devices can transmit up to 328 feet or 100 meters. It is 10x further than Class 2 and 100x further than Class 3.
Power hungry but works well for TV
In order to transmit a much further distance than Class 2 and 3, Class 1 Bluetooth transmitters are understandably more power hungry than the others.
In the case of tv usage, this is not a worry because the power source is the TV where the voltage supply is much higher than a battery-powered device.
Since it’s rare to find a TV that comes with Radio Frequency (RF) transmitter installed, headphones with RF support come with a wireless transmitter included.
You just have to plug the transmitter into the audio output of the TV. The transmitter will convert the audio signal from the TV and send them to the wireless headphones over radio frequency.
With RF, the listeners can transmit audio at a longer range (up to ~328 feet or ~100 meters) than what a Bluetooth connection can offer.
But it doesn’t come without a downside. The quality of the RF connection can be interfered by other electronic devices such as microwave and mobile phones. Any device that uses the same frequency (from 900MHz – 3.2GHz) as an RF headphone will add noise to the connection.
Infrared is the technology that powers our remote control and it also used for wireless TV headphones.
Unlike the RF, the quality of the connection is not hampered by neighboring devices using the same frequency. It is also said to be able to deliver better sound quality to the headphones than Bluetooth.
However, an infrared connection works on “line-of-sight” technology. Any obstruction between the transmitter and receiver will cause the connection quality to deteriorate. You will see this with your remote controls. Just block the remote with your hand and you will not be able to switch your channels.
Another thing about infrared is that its connectivity range is even shorter than Bluetooth.
Just like the RF headphones, infrared headphones will include an infrared transmitter which you will need to attach to the audio output of the TV. Once plugged in, the transmitter will convert and send the audio signal via infrared to the wireless headphones.
There is no short answer to this.
Each type of connection has its own pros and cons. It depends on your personal needs and also your TV setup.
- Easily pair with any Bluetooth headphones
- You have the flexibility to change your Bluetooth headphones
- Better connection stability than RF and infrared
- Slower transmission speed than RF and infrared
- Might cause laggy-ness or delay in audio transmission
- More setup steps required
aptX Low Latency
But if you are worried about the laggy-ness of the Bluetooth headphones, look out for Bluetooth transmitter that offers aptX Low Latency support. When paired with headphones that comes with aptX Low Latency support, you are able to achieve synchronize audio experience with your TV.
- Fast transmission rate
- No delay in audio
- Very long range
- Fast and easy setup.
- Prone to noise interference with other RF devices
- Make sure your TV is in an isolated room
- RF headphones can’t be easily used for other audio devices like PC and smartphones
- Fast transmission rate
- No delay in audio
- Supposedly best sound quality
- Line-of-sight technology means there must be absolutely no blockage between the TV and the headphones
- Short range
But what if your TV, unfortunately, does not support Bluetooth?
Not an issue. There is a solution for this – Bluetooth Audio Transmitter.
But before you purchase any Bluetooth transmitter on Amazon, you must understand one concept: the connection between the TV and the transmitter is still wired.
With a wired connection, the cable plug type at each end of the cable determines whether you can connect the devices together.
Hence, you must check two things:
- TV audio output
- Audio jack of the Bluetooth transmitter
The audio output can be found on the back of the TV. An example can be seen from the above image. All the audio output are in the red box.
- The ones labeled “L” and “R” are the RCA jacks.
- The one labeled “AUDIO” is the 3.5mm headphone jack
- The one labeled “OPTICAL” is the optical TOSLINK output
Some of the older TV models do not have the 3.5mm headphones jack and the optical TOSLINK output. They only have the RCA jacks as audio output.
Some TV is even more troublesome and only has optical TOSLINK as the only audio output. You will need to get the Prozar DAC where it converts the TOSLINK into 3.5mm and RCA audio output.
Make sure you physically check your audio output. Don’t take it for granted.
Some transmitter’s audio jack, like the Taotronic TT-BA01, is only limited to one 3.5mm connector. Hence, if your TV only supports RCA output, you will need an adapter like this to convert the connection.
If you are sick of buying yet another adapter, you can consider higher-end transmitters like the Avantree Audikast where they offer a variety of audio jack like 3.5mm, RCA and optical digital Toslink.
For most modern TVs, it is almost impossible for a TV to not have ANY audio output at all. It is more likely that you cannot identify the audio output.
This is highly dependant on the TV models itself and unfortunately, not many models support such a feature. Many TVs including Samsung TVs will mute their internal speakers once you connect your headphones to the TV.
However, it is said that LG TV does support this feature. If you are an LG TV owner, you are in luck. See if the below steps works for you.
Unfortunately, this above steps only worked for me to a certain extent. My TV only has support for simultaneous audio support for Internal TV Speaker + Wired Headphones. It doesn’t work for wireless headphones.
So what if you do not want to fork out the price of a brand new TV just for this simultaneous playback feature?
There is a simpler and cheaper solution and it comes in the form of Avantree Oasis Plus.
The Oasis Plus allows you to play audio through an external speaker like sound bar and also wirelessly to your headphones at the same time.
Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too? 🙂
So with all the knowledge you learned, you can now be the go-to source for anything headphones and TV related. But what about the best wireless headphones for TV?
No worries, we got you covered with this compiled list of best wireless headphones for TV.
It has a good mix of Bluetooth, RF and Infrared headphones with varying prices and design. You will bound to find something that you like.