A soundbar or soundbar is an amplifier/amp device that amps up or makes louder the sound from your HDTV speakers, thus ensuring better and more voluminous sound quality that surrounds your entire guestroom or bedroom. It’s also easy to set up and extremely versatile. There are many methods of connecting your soundbar to your HDTV, which is something you can customize in order to improve your movie-viewing experience in more ways than one.
Even though different soundbars have their benefits, certain setups provide better sound quality compared to others as well, even when dealing with the same soundbar type. With that in mind, how should you go about connecting your soundbar to your television set with an HDMI cable?
The Best Way to Connect Your Soundbar by HDMI
There many ways to connect your soundbar to your HDTV through HDMI. You either connect the soundbar to the source media itself, such as the video game console or Blu-Ray disc player, or you can connect the soundbar to the television set itself, thus duplicating its speaker system with an amplifier. It’s also possible to use the ARC or Audio Return Channel to activate your soundbar amp.
- The Role of Your Soundbar Amplifier: The main role of y our soundbar is to sound better than your TV speakers or enhance and amplify them. You can connect them to your HDTV, game console, BD or DVD player, or cable/satellite box and they should work excellently regardless especially if you follow the user manual on how to set up HDMI-CEC properly for all the proper “handshakes” and whatnot that assure your soundbar isn’t a piracy tool used to pirate the audio from whatever you’re watching. You can also use an optical digital audio cable to transfer sound alone but the HDMI cable offers better fidelity all-in-all. The remote is there to switch between source media.
- The Best Possible Sound: If you want to get the best possible sound from what you’re watching, then use the first method. If it’s possible to connect your soundbar directly to your cable box or DVD player, then use an external sound device for your viewing or even videogame playing needs. It makes sense too since if you want high-fidelity sound, it makes sense to connect the soundbar to the source instead of daisy-chaining it to the display or output device such as the HDTV, HDMI monitor, or projector. Some cable or satellite boxes outright have an audio output specifically to cater to amp devices.
- When to Use TV Connections and When to Use ARC: Connecting your soundbar to the speaker system of your plasma TV, smart TV, or HDTV makes perfect sense since it works on all instances. You simply might not get the best possible sound because you’re connecting on the output or display device rather than from the source. With that said, ARC is a viable method for getting high-quality sound from your soundbar without connecting to your TV if you’re instead dealing with streaming apps for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Amazon Prime, and Vudu or hardware like Roku and Amazon Fire TV Stick.
- Connect Your Soundbar and a Device using HDMI: Make sure your device, soundbar, and TV are working prior to linkage. However, to connect all of them to each other, turn them off for the time being. Afterwards, connect one end of the HDMI cable (male) to the HDMI port (female) of your HDTV. The other end should go to your soundbar. Voila, you’re good to go. There are usually two HDMI outputs on any given HDTV, so you’ll need to use the unused one while letting the other link to the media source, like your typical game console or BD player. Otherwise, you can link your soundbar to the media source’s second HDMI port as well.
- What If You Have Multiple Source Devices? If you have multiple source devices and only one HDTV, it might be hard to squeeze in your soundbar into the fray. The amp can be considered a second HDMI display device but of the audio variety. In such cases, you might need to get an HDMI switcher or link the soundbar to any device you’re using at the moment. A switcher allows your HDTV with its limited HDMI ports to switch from game console to BD player to DVD player to cable/satellite box, and so forth. A sound splitter can also be used so that the HDTV and soundbar have separate ports to work with for the source device.
- Setting Up your Soundbar After Successful Linkage: Turn your device on and then turn on the soundbar. Press the Function or Source button to change the soundbar connection setting to the HDMI option. This step might vary from soundbar to soundbar so refer to your user manual or instruction booklet for the device for more details. Afterwards, turn on the TV and press the A/V or Video button to set up the TV to recognize the HDMI port where your soundbar is connected. You should see a picture from the device on your TV or hear audio start blaring from your amp.
- Automatic Activations Feature or App: Certain soundbars have apps or features included with them such as Samsung’s “Anynet +” or “Anynet+” that enable you to turn them on automatically by pressing things like the navigation button on our remote control. Doing so will cause the device to turn on alongside your video game system, media player, or cable box when you turn them on. Some soundbars have a dedicated “Anynet +” button so that you won’t need to use your navigation button to activate the feature. Check the manual for more details regarding how you can make it activate alongside the device.
- Turn On Anynet + (HDMI-CEC) on Your TV: You can also have Anynet+ turned on by default on your Samsung TV if you connect a Samsung soundbar on it. However, you can double-check if this is the case by navigating first through Settings, General, External Device Manager, and Anynet+ (HDMI-CEC) to ensure it’s activated or not. This function enables not only your soundbar to turn on when the media device is turned on—it also activates your Samsung TV when you turn on the soundbar itself. Check the user manual for more details in case you lack a Samsung television and the menus for Anynet + don’t match with what’s outlined here.
- Enabling HDMI-CEC Settings for Universal TV Control: You can also enable HDMI-CEC settings on your source device—such as your Blu-Ray player, cable or satellite box, Nintendo Switch, Nintendo Wii-U, PlayStation 3 or 4, and Xbox 360 or One—and set up universal control of your HDTV. To set up your HDMI-CEC settings on your soundbar, get the user manual for it once again. Also take note that if your HDTV is 4K-compatible, you’ll need to make sure that the soundbar you have also supported what’s known as “pass-through” or “pass-thru” 4K pass-thru is supported by Samsung HDTVs from 2017 onwards, particularly the 650 series.
- Components and Soundbar Connected to the TV: You also have the option to have your HDTV control all your input selections while passing the audio signal to the soundbar. Certain TVs require you to first deactivate your speakers before connecting the soundbar. You can do this by going to the audio menu and turning off the built-in speakers or selecting external speakers. Other TVs allow you to mirror or echo the sound on both the built-in speakers to coincide with your soundbar amps. It varies from TV to TV and soundbar to soundbar.
- The PCM Setup versus Connecting Components: Set the digital audio output to PCM if your TV is capable of sending digital surround sound formats from the optical input but your soundbar is incapable of decoding them. This setting allows decoding to happen on the part of the soundbar. If you have a wall-mounted HDTV instead and your soundbar is located on the furniture below the wall-mounted TV set, you can use your soundbar as your A/V component hub instead of connecting everything to the HDTV.
- Installation Takes Longer When Connecting Components to The Soundbar: Expect a longer installation time to happen when opting for connecting your components to the soundbar amp. Thankfully, the HDMI connections ensure that you’ll get the best sound quality from your BD soundtracks or through your cable box multi-channel format when watching something in widescreen 4K Ultra HD quality. If you’re going the optical output, the sound will be downscaled somewhat to lack certain properties when compared to going full HDMI digital surround sound.
HDMI-Based Soundbar Connection In a Nutshell
There is a multitude of ways to connect a soundbar amp to an HDTV or a TV set with an HDMI port, with the most obvious one being through HDMI. You can also use a separate optical cable to allow you to reroute the sound to the soundbar. This article will primarily cover how to “split” the audio from the TV to the soundbar or at least share it to ensure impressive sound amplification across the board.
HDMI-based soundbar connection is the best way to connect your soundbar to your HDTV because it will give you high-fidelity audio comparable to the surround-sound you’d expect from a commercial theater or cinema. Cables for the HDMI format offer digital sound transmission. This in turn results in crystal-clear sound effects, music, dialog, and so forth. It’s the HD version of sound to use HDMI cables for your soundbar connection.