Aren’t you getting a clear sound from your TV speaker? I believe in the meantime; you’ve realized that the sound that comes from the TV speakers are not of good quality. To put it nicely, the sound coming from your TV is pointless. That’s why soundbars have become famous. The device allows you to enjoy a good quality sound with the TV show you’re watching. Besides, it frees you from the hassle of placing and setting up multiple speakers.
Recently, I’ve purchased a new soundbar to connect it to my TV. There were some confusions about the soundbar. There was the lack of HDMI or ARC inputs. So, I felt like maybe I should discuss the fact with you. Perhaps, you’re also going to face the same confusion.
So, let’s straight first to the facts.
Amplifying The Sounds from Optical Inputs
The sounds coming from the optical inputs get amplified. You should know this fact and collect your soundbar keeping this in mind. If you anytime hear a salesman telling the otherwise, you should just walk away from this fraud. It’s not possible to control the volume level without amplifying the sound from inputs. All the inputs are always amplified.
HDMI Connection for Sound Quality
You’ll maybe hear that to connect the soundbar to the TV HDMI connection is the best. Well, up to a point it’s true. Usually, Optical cables transmit 5.1 surround channels very well. If you’re looking for transmitting 7.1 sound channels, you’ll require HDMI cables. With the HDMI cable, you can also transmit the uncompressed high fidelity streams.
Maximum soundbars have mainly 2 channels, the left one, and the right one. Besides, there is 1 dedicated bass channel which is for the subwoofer. Hence, the setup is called “2.1 channels.” Many brands advertise “virtual surround”. But in reality, they are only “space fillers.” The purpose of the soundbar is filling up space with sound that opposed to the true surrounding sound.
What is “Surround Sound”?
In the soundbars, there are mainly 2 kinds of virtual surround sound technologies are used. The first type is a “sound expander”. The technology allows the sound coming out from the speaker to fill up a large space. The speakers thus fill up a larger space than what they are capable of. In reality, they are only just expanded the stereo sound. Yet, many brands sell them as “surround sound”. They don’t even know the difference and keep on selling them as surround sound products. Indeed, you’re imagining what confusion rises in this way.
The second technology type is the true “virtual sound”. You may find it sound paradoxical since I’m telling this “true and “virtual” at the same time. It gives the expanded stereo audio and simulates the sound coming from all sides. It can actually simulate the sound without any help from multiple speakers. The “virtual sound” types are available as 4.1, 5.1, 7.1 channel surround soundbar.
Soundbars that properly simulate surround sound are more expensive. The sound bars without HDMI inputs are able to only do the sound expansion. So, in reality, they are just entry-level models. Without HDMI input they can't transmit the uncompressed high fidelity streams fine enough.
Connecting Soundbar to TV without HDMI
The best alternative to HDMI connection is the Optical connection. So, if your soundbar has no ARC input, go for connecting it via optical cable.
Connect the cable TV Boxes, and other media components to your TV using an optical cable. After that simply pass the audio signals from your TV to your soundbar using the optical output.
The advantage of using optical cable connection is its easiness. You’ll need only 1 cable to connect the soundbar to the TV. Moreover, when you change the channels on your TV, the soundbar plays the sound of what you’re watching by itself.
Measures for TVs that Can’t Pass on Surround Sound Streams
It’s a matter of worry because some TVs can’t pass on the surround sound streams to the soundbar. They only throw out the streams through the optical output even when the streams need to be received.
Again, the concern is also valid for soundbar kinds. If your soundbar can’t do virtual surround truly, there’s no need to worry. In this respect, you’ll do more than fine with the optical connection.
Then again, if the soundbar is able to throw out true surround stream, then it may have HDMI inputs. So, you’ll have to plug all the media devices into the soundbar.
The fact is, if your soundbar lacks HDMI inputs, you’re not losing anything. It’s just that you’re using an entry level sound system. This system doesn’t benefit from HDMI anyway. So, use the optical cable connection to connect your soundbar and TV as the alternative of HDMI. By this way, you can simulate the true surround system well enough. Besides, it’s far better to stream high-quality sound from the uncompressed audio streams.