I want to improve the sound from my TV
February 18, 2019 3:53 AM   Subscribe

I think I need to add a soundbar. Help me figure out how everything will connect (Roku, Blu-ray, Wii) and how much I should pay.

I am sadly giving up on my amplifier + bookshelf speakers setup I asked about in 2015. The DAC works, but the amplifier seems to have a minimum volume below which it stops making sound, and it's too loud for casual TV watching. Also, it's off-centre (corners of the room), which can make dialogue harder to hear.

99% of the time I just use the TV's speakers (Samsung UE26H4000W). I'd like to boost this though, with the sound coming from the centre. I think a soundbar is what I want. Help me figure out how everything will connect:
  • Roku has HDMI out
  • TV has 2 HDMI ports and one digital audio out (optical)
  • Blu-ray has HDMI out
  • Wii is connected to the TV via Component / AV
So, assuming a soundbar is indeed what I need, (1) should the TV just connect to the soundbar via digital audio out and everything else connect to the TV? And (2) what sort of price range should I be looking at? It's a 32" TV in a 6x4m room.
posted by snarfois to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Generally speaking with a setup like this, yes, all you need to do is connect the soundbar to the TV via (in this case) digital audio out, and everything else stays connected to the TV.

For question 2, I'd say that depends on a) how much you personally think is reasonable to spend and b) how much you care. What Hi-Fi has some pretty good guidelines. Personally I wouldn't bother with anything over a few hundred pounds - even the cheapest one listed there will be immediately and identifiably much better than your TV's built-in speakers.
posted by spielzebub at 4:11 AM on February 18, 2019

Best answer: As spielzebub states, you should hook the soundbar up to the TV via the Digital Audio Out (Optical) port available on your Samsung. You will need to buy a cord for this. I'm fairly certain every soundbar that's more than $75 will have an optical port available.

Once you hook this up, everything that would normally output to your TV's speakers (everything you have listed does this) will go out to the soundbar.
posted by kuanes at 4:28 AM on February 18, 2019

I disagree with above:
If your TV supports HDMI ARC, using HDMI is a much better experience. You can control volume with tv volume control. it's little confusing which port you use though
posted by sandmanwv at 7:20 AM on February 18, 2019

I connected a Samsung soundbar to my TV on Saturday, if you've got a Samsung TV it might not need the optical cable but may be able to use Bluetooth instead. Worth noting that the optical cable should not be assumed to be in the pack as a result of this.
posted by biffa at 8:41 AM on February 18, 2019

As far as I can tell from the manuals I've looked up online, your model of TV doesn't support HDMI ARC. Digital Audio out will be what you want to use.
posted by Aleyn at 1:16 PM on February 18, 2019

We absolutely love our Cambridge Audio TV2 (v2). Connected it via optical to the TV and everything else (Apple TV, PS3, Mac Mini) stays connected to the HDMI ports on the TV.
posted by terrapin at 3:00 PM on February 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

Two weeks ago I purchased an LG soundbar from Target. It was on sale for $160, making it a mid-level normal consumer soundbar. There are much cheaper ones, and there are crazy expensive ones - like Bose.

I LOVE the sound from it and am 100% satisfied with my purchase. I only used an optical cord from the TV to the soundbar, as suggested above, and left everything else hooked up like it already was.

One caveat: I have a Fire TV Cube, and it allows me to use the Amazon remote to control the sound bar AND the TV. You might end up needing to use two remotes: one for the TV, one for the sound.
posted by tacodave at 5:19 PM on February 19, 2019

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