How to Connect a Soundbar to a TV with no Audio Output

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Updated August 16, 2022

If you are new to the world of enhanced TV sound, you may wonder how to connect a soundbar to a TV with no audio output. Some of the best speakers, after all, are premium soundbars, and they typically require some sort of audio output port on the TV to connect to. So what are your options if your TV lacks an audio output? Keep reading to find out.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • If you have an old TV that lacks a dedicated audio output port, such as a CRT display, there are some options that don’t involve audio settings or volume control.
  • Use an optical cable to connect to the optical out of your TV or try a digital to analog converter.
  • You can also go in through a cable box or a set-top box as your source device, as modern iterations often feature HDMI and optical outs. Some Blu-Ray players also offer these ports.

Do Most TVs Have Audio Outputs?

They certainly do, of some kind or another, which is important if you are learning how to connect a subwoofer to a soundbar. Only cathode ray televisions (CRTs) lack any kind of dedicated audio output, and those were phased out in 2002 with the invention of HDMI, which you may discover when learning how to connect a soundbar to a TV without ARC. However, in rare cases, some modern TVs may lack adequate audio outputs for your needs, leading you to figure out how to connect a soundbar to a TV with an optical cable.

Insider Tip

If you want a clean video feed, the best option is to connect a high-quality camera to your laptop or computer.

No matter why your TV lacks an audio output, you won’t need to compare coaxial speakers vs component speakers, as there could be a solution to get a soundbar up and running.

How to Hook Up a Soundbar to a TV Without Audio Output

There are some workarounds here, depending on the type and number of ports available on your TV.

Use Optical Cables

Even if your TV lacks a dedicated RCA port or HDMI port, you can use optical cables to go from the soundbar to the optical out of your television. Look for a port labeled “optical out” or “TOSLINK out.” This won’t give you surround sound or some of the higher-end features of modern soundbars, but it gets the job done.

Use a Digital-to-Analog Converter

If the opposite is true and your TV lacks an optical out but does have an old-school RCA connector, try a digital-to-analog converter (DAC.) Take the optical cable and plug it into the DAC and then an RCA cable from the DAC to the TV’s RCA connection port.

Use a Cable Box

Just because your TV lacks the proper connections does not mean your cable box does. Many modern cable boxes, or set-top boxes, boast HDMI and optical ports. Check the back of the box for available ports and go in that way.

STAT: Many TVs have a menu setting that allows audio to be sent to speakers other than the TV speakers. (source)

Soundbar TV FAQs

How do I fix HDMI setup issues?

If your source device is experiencing HDMI setup issues, don't immediately contact any consumer electronics control group with your email address. Instead, head into the settings to address any issues with audio.

How do I fix audio dropouts?

Audio dropouts happen for a number of reasons, depending on the source device. Check the settings menu, the volume level, the analog audio output, the digital audio output, and more.

How do I fix surround speakers?

Surround speakers are a popular source device or connected device, though they are susceptible to issues. Head into the device menu to address minor issues, though larger problems may require a professional to assess the input ports and the internals of the source device.
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