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Bluetooth connectivity can add a lot of extra functionality to your TV, allowing it to interface with your mobile device for various uses, connecting to a soundbar or soundbase wirelessly for cable-free audio performance, and more. However, not all TVs, even models at higher price points, come with Bluetooth capabilities. If you’re wondering how to make a TV Bluetooth-capable, there are some options open to you, some simpler than others.
Whether you are pairing wireless headphones for private listening to not bother others while you watch your shows or you want a setup with a sound bar or other types of wireless audio, like speakers. First, you’ll need to determine whether such an upgrade is possible for your specific model and if it’s friendly enough to your budget to make it worthwhile. Check our top TV list to determine this.
Many people have Bluetooth functionality on their TV already and don’t even realize it. Many Smart TVs come with Bluetooth built-in but may not indicate this obviously. Many people also don’t realize that there are some security issues that can arise with a smart TV. You can learn more by reading our article on how to hack a smart TV camera. However, continue reading for a few things to check to see if you have Bluetooth on your TV already. You should also keep in mind that Bluetooth has a connectivity range that you must stay in to get the signal. The actual range you get will be determined by a number of factors, like interference and Bluetooth version.
If you happened to have a voice describing everything you were doing while going through your menu, you have narration on and it can be annoying if you don’t want to hear it. To get rid of this, follow our guide on how to turn off the narrator on TV. And if it turns out that your TV doesn’t have Bluetooth, here are your options.
The easiest way to add some Bluetooth functionality to your TV is to buy a Bluetooth transmitter or adapter with a 3.5mm or RCA analog port. A Bluetooth transmitter is a small device that connects to your TV via’s audio port or ports- in this case, it’s analog AUX audio in/out, allowing you to connect things like Bluetooth speakers to your otherwise non-Bluetooth TV.
These are inexpensive (quality transmitters can be found starting at around $18) and easy to connect- after you’ve connected the transmitter via your TV’s AUX port using either a 3.5 stereo cable or a stereo pair of RCA cables, you can then pair Bluetooth speakers (or headphones) to the transmitter, which you can then interface with your Bluetooth-enabled mobile device.
The main downsides here are the slightly lower-quality audio you’ll experience with a wireless digital to analog connection, and the fact that you’re not adding full Bluetooth functionality to your TV, i.e. you won’t be able to interface with the TV itself via mobile app, or connect a soundbar to your TV via Bluetooth, for example.
The other main option you have is to buy a Bluetooth transmitter with an optical audio connection and connect it to your TV’s optical/TOSLINK audio out. This functions similarly to the AUX port option above with the main advantage that optical/digital audio offers better sound quality than analog/AUX- optical ports can even transmit compressed surround sound audio.
Once again, however, this doesn’t give you the full Bluetooth functionality of a true Bluetooth-enabled TV, and optical cables are more expensive and can be difficult to find sometimes.
Unfortunately, though it may be possible technically to install a Bluetooth card into a TV that doesn’t have it built in, there’s no consumer-level method that’s no cost and labor prohibitive, which means you likely won’t be controlling your TV with your iPhone anytime soon- though it’s possible modular options may become more available in the future.
Still, a Bluetooth transmitter will allow you to access many of the benefits of Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to enjoy your TV’s audio with wireless Bluetooth speakers and even headphones with minimal expense and difficulty. Additionally, if you would like, you can make your TV into a smart TV.
How do I connect a Bluetooth device to my Roku device?
Most Roku devices are Bluetooth-enabled, meaning that they can connect easily with other Bluetooth devices such as a mobile phone so you can stream audio and video from those devices. All this requires is “discovering” your Roku device from your mobile device’s Bluetooth menu and syncing the two.
What can I do if my TV doesn’t have Bluetooth?
If your TV doesn’t have Bluetooth built-in, you can still use Bluetooth speakers or headphones by connecting a Bluetooth transmitter to your TV’s AUX or Optical audio ports.
How can I tell if my TV has Bluetooth support built-in?
All Smart TVs are Bluetooth capable, and all TVs that come with “smart remotes” are Bluetooth-enabled as well. Lastly, you can check your settings menu under sound output- if a Bluetooth speaker list is present, your TV has Bluetooth.
STAT: Your TV’s AUX and Optical sound ports will allow you to connect to Bluetooth speakers even if your TV isn’t Bluetooth capable. (source)
STAT: The average practical signal range of Bluetooth devices is between 50-70 feet. (source)
STAT: The typical “lag” in Bluetooth devices is around 131.5 milliseconds. (source)