When I was looking to upgrade my home theater system I noticed that there was now a wide array of wireless soundbars. So, I did some research into them and how they work and put together this article to explain it.
So, how does a wireless soundbar work? A wireless soundbar sends and receives sound data over Bluetooth or Wifi. The sound data is referred to as packets which are small bundles of sound information in the form of bits, that are interpreted by the wireless soundbar and sent to the speaker which then plays the sound.
The technical nitty-gritty is a mystery that sound experts and engineers can’t explain. But, is functionally understood by the sending packets analogy. Now, below I will explain the ins and out of connecting them as well as what the best way is to connect a soundbar to an output device such as TV, gaming console, computer, or tablet.
How Does a Wireless Soundbar Connect to a TV?
A wireless soundbar connects to a TV over WIFI and Bluetooth technology. The devices need to be paired, the same as connecting a mobile phone to your car speakers or a stand-alone Bluetooth speaker to make calls, or listen to music.
Once, your soundbar is paired to your TV, it will work the same as being connected with wires, but without the extra clutter of multiple wires.
Soundbars have battery life and need to be charged. Most will give you about 3-4 hours of continuous playtime, and 6-7 hours of standby time, but this does differ by model.
Wireless soundbars typically come with the ability to connect them via wires as well. Some rooms and homes may have interference from other devices.
The layout of particular rooms and the materials of the walls and furnishings might make the Bluetooth or WIFI not perform well. This is a case by case basis and most people find that they will work seamlessly. But, it is a good fall back if you forget to charge your wireless soundbar or the specific room doesn’t allow for a good wireless connection.
A complete home theatre system will use a receiver to separate out the different sound spectrums. But, a soundbar can connect wirelessly or be plugged directly to the TV without the use of a receiver.
A soundbar doesn’t need to go through a receiver and can connect directly to a TV. A receiver is used when multiple devices and speakers are used on the same screen, and to easily adjust the sound settings.
Take for example a setup which includes a console such as an Xbox, a DVD player or computer, a subwoofer, tower speakers and a soundbar.
In a situation like this, you need to change what device is providing the sound: the DVD player or the Xbox. It is cumbersome and time-consuming to unplug the Xbox and plug the DVD player in.
So, a receiver gets used which allows you to change what sound input is being played with a few button presses. It also provides a central place to adjust the volume of each individual speaker such as the subwoofers or tower speakers.
How Do You Connect a Soundbar to WIFI?
A soundbar connects to wi-fi by inputting the password for your WIFI router, the same as you would connect a mobile phone or computer via Wi-fi to your router.
When you get an internet connection from an internet provider they will provide a router or you can buy one separately.
This is what you connect your soundbar to. There are then apps on phones and computers that you use to connect your device to your speakers and TV.
Each soundbar has a unique way of connecting it to the WIFI, and the manufacturer will provide a detailed manual of how to pair the specific soundbar to your other devices.
If you lost your manual you can find them online, or contact their support team to get another copy, or find out how to do it. The process is very similar when connecting a soundbar via Bluetooth. But, there is a unique pin for your soundbar such as ‘0000’.
When you pair your phone, computer, or gaming console to your soundbar it will ask you to input the pin, which you can find in the manual. Once this is done your devices will now be connected.
Do You Need WiFi for a Soundbar?
For the vast majority of models, you can connect a soundbar to your receiver or tv without WIFI. There will be very few exceptions and is something you should check with the specific soundbar and other devices you are using.
You can use a single cable to go straight from your soundbar to your receiver, and you will also need to charge your soundbar or plug it into a power outlet.
The sound produced by your TV, computer, or gaming console is typically fixed. This means that you can’t adjust the volume of your soundbar by using the remote for your TV, or the volume setting on your computer.
So, the remote for the soundbar or buttons on the soundbar itself are used to adjust its volume.
If your TV and soundbar came together you can use the TV remote to adjust the volume of the soundbar. Also, you may need to turn off the stock speakers that come with your TV using the settings to get your soundbar to work. In either case, it is the fastest and easiest to consult your user manual.
Can You Connect a Soundbar with HDMI?
A soundbar can be connected to a receiver or a TV using an HDMI cable. It does, however, require that both your soundbar and the other devices have an HDMI cable port.
You can check this by looking at the specifications in the manuals for both devices or looking for the distinctive port, usually at the back of the device.
On your TV or receiver, you will need to switch the output to go to the HDMI cable to get it to work. It’s best to consult your manual for step by step instructions. But, they follow the general steps of connecting the HDMI cable to both your soundbar and your TV, gaming console, or computer, and then switching the output to HDMI on your TV or other devices.
What’s the Best Connection for a Soundbar?
According to Techtalk.co.uk, an HDMI cable is the best connection for a soundbar. This is because an HDMI cable gives a stable connection that can’t be interrupted by other signals in the environment.
There are many signals sent out by all the different devices that are on and sending information back and forward between each other. This can sometimes cause interference to the connection between your soundbar and your other devices.
This shows up as split seconds of no input, which interrupts the continuous stream of sound. This can get really annoying, and when this happens you should use the wired connection.
Factors unique to the specific room your soundbar is set up in effect how good or bad a wireless connection will be. As a result, most soundbars come with the ability to connect them with a single wire as well.
A wireless soundbar works by connecting to your TV, computer, gaming console, phone, or tablet, or receiver via Bluetooth or WiFI. In the case of WIFI, you connect your soundbar to your wireless router and then connect your wireless router to the device playing the audio.
It is a similar process when connecting them using Bluetooth. The easiest way to connect them is by looking at the instructions in the manual for your specific devices. The most stable connection between a soundbar and an output device is an HDMI cable. This is because there is no way for interference to occur to the signal.
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