How to Connect a Soundbar to a TV with HDMI

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Updated August 16, 2022

If you are new to the world of TV-assisted speakers, you may wonder how to connect a soundbar to a TV with HDMI. Some of the leading speakers, after all, are premium soundbars, and many connect via HDMI ports. So why choose a soundbar with HDMI inputs, and how do you get one connected to your TV? Keep reading to find out.


  • Most modern TVs feature HDMI ARC ports equipped with Audio Return Channel technology for easy integration with soundbars.
  • Just power on both devices, then plug one end of the HDMI into the soundbar and the other into the TV to experience increased sound quality and access Dolby Atmos and other features.
  • Some TVs and Blu-Ray players will automatically recognize the soundbar, and others will require some settings adjustments via remote control.

Why Use an HDMI Soundbar?

Compatibility is the name of the game here. The vast majority of soundbars connect via HDMI, and nearly every modern TV includes a number of HDMI ports, which is important to know especially if you are learning how to connect a soundbar to a TV. HDMI soundbars offer more compatibility than other wired connections, which you’ll discover when trying to connect a soundbar to a TV with an optical cable. They do require wires, however, this is not the case when connecting a Bluetooth soundbar to a TV.

Insider Tip

Always have spare HDMI cables on hand in case of a failure or malfunction.

Of course, your TV’s HDMI ports should be equipped with ARC technology for transmitting sound. If not, learn how to connect a soundbar to a TV without ARC.

How to Connect HDMI Soundbar

The basic process here is super simple. You plug one end of the HDMI cable into the port affiliated with the soundbar and the other end into a port affiliated with the TV. However, the process doesn’t always stop there. Some modern TVs will automatically detect the presence of a soundbar and make the necessary settings adjustments, but that is not always true. Here are some troubleshooting tips to get everything up and running.

Change the Audio Output Settings

Head into your TV’s audio settings and change them so that your soundbar is the preferred audio source. The soundbar could show up as a selectable option, or you may need to select the specific HDMI port the soundbar is connected to as a primary audio output source. Again, some TVs will do this automatically, with no assistance on your end, but it is always good to know the proper steps. Consult the TV’s instructions for more information.

Make Sure Everything is Powered On

You should make sure both the television and the sound bar are powered on before attempting to use your new setup. It is all too easy to forget the soundbar in this equation and then wonder why you aren’t hearing any audio.

STAT: Altec Lansing introduced a multichannel soundbar in 1998 called the Voice Of The Digital Theatre or the ADA106. It was a powered speaker system that offered stereo, Dolby Pro-Logic, and AC3 surround sound from the soundbar and a separate subwoofer. (source)

Soundbar HDMI FAQs

How do you connect a soundbar to a TV without HDMI?

Depending on your setup, you may need an HDMI ARC adapter of some kind. These HDMI ARC adapters plug right into the HDMI port, turning them into HDMI ARC ports. Otherwise, try for an optical or wireless connection.

How can I tell if my TV has ARC or eARC?

Check the HDMI ARC ports. They should have a little sticker announcing the type of digital audio output. If not, the instructions will help, and so can accessing various settings via remote control or volume control.

Why is my HDMI cable not working?

Any cable, including HDMI ARC and optical cables, can malfunction when connecting to Dolby Atmos soundbars, Blu-Ray players, and just about anything else. Always have another cable on hand to try to increase audio quality or receive an audio signal via an analog connection.
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