How to configure optional TV headphone usage
September 2, 2018 3:41 PM   Subscribe

We have a big TV with a glass base. It's a pain to move. We sometimes want headphones plugged into it. We have to move it to plug or unplug them, and the port is inconveniently placed, too. Is there a box I can HDMI into, HDMI out to the TV, and plug headphones into that box? With adjustable volume?
posted by radiosilents to Technology (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Why not just jump the distance from the inconvenient port to somewhere convenient with an 1/8" cable?
posted by humboldt32 at 3:49 PM on September 2, 2018 [2 favorites]


Yeah, standard male to female 3.5mm cable will do this for basically free.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:12 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


If anything is plugged into the 3.5mm jack on the TV, all sound is routed that way. I want a way to hear audio via the headphones sometimes, while still being able to hear sound "out loud" when I choose to without moving the entire business.
posted by radiosilents at 5:11 PM on September 2, 2018


I did that with an external amplifier/receiver. There's probably a simpler way, but I never found it.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 5:31 PM on September 2, 2018


I did that with an external amplifier/receiver. There's probably a simpler way, but I never found it.

Yeah, same here.

We have a setup that involves running the optical audio (TOSLINK) into an $8.00 DAC and then into an inexpensive Sony receiver/amplifier ($180 CAD new about five years ago). That gives me the option of switching between the headphone out and the stereo speakers hooked up to the receiver/amplifier, which are reasonably inexpensive but decent bookshelf speakers that sound way better than the built-in TV speakers.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 5:50 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Agreed, in that case, the HDMI box you're looking for is a Home theater receiver/amplifier.
posted by humboldt32 at 5:53 PM on September 2, 2018


The Wirecutter's recommendations for this are good, and their budget recommendation will see you right on this front.
posted by mhoye at 6:03 PM on September 2, 2018


Many-to-most home theater receivers have a quarter inch headphone jack on the front. The alternative is making your own cable with the headphone plug on one end and a jack on the other, but wired such that the plug sense on the TV isn't activated unless something is plugged in to your cable.

It's possible someone sells such a thing, but given that there are several different ways plug detection is done and the limited market, I don't think anyone sells pre-built versions.

You might check that there isn't an option in the TV's settings to not disable the speakers when the headphones are plugged in before spending time on alternatives.
posted by wierdo at 6:05 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Many-to-most home theater receivers have a quarter inch headphone jack on the front.

Easily remedied with an inexpensive 1/4 inch-1/8 inch (6.35mm-3.5mm) adapter for about $2.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:33 PM on September 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


Yeah I found that odd as well. Who's to say the OP isn't already using headphones with 1/4" jacks. Is that still a thing, or is my age showing?
posted by humboldt32 at 10:05 PM on September 2, 2018


It appears you want an HDMI Audio Extractor, from which you can run a 3.5mm cable to your couch or wherever you want to plug the phones in. There are some with amplifiers, but the one I saw was $450 or so and the remote is extra. It seems like it should be possible to reduce the gain if the headphones are a lot louder than no-headphones, without an actual amplifier, but I couldn't find a box that can do it.
posted by rhizome at 10:52 PM on September 2, 2018


BTW, I couldn't find any version of HDMI Extractor with a 1/4" jack. They all had 3.5mm, but that conversion could be done at the box so you only have to string the 1/4" extender. Might not matter though, electrically.
posted by rhizome at 10:54 PM on September 2, 2018


I use Bluetooth earbuds or 'phones and a Bluetooth transmitter connected to an adapter. The adapter connects to the optical digital output port on my LG TV, and has an instruction sticker on it that says "Set TV to PCM output." This does not affect the normal audio output. The Bluetooth buds and phones both have their own volume controls. This setup works well, and eliminates the headphone cable. The only minor annoyances are having to manually turn on the Bluetooth transmitter, and keeping the headphones charged up.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:41 AM on September 3, 2018


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