How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector

Six ways to connect a soundbar to your projector

This article includes instructions on connecting a soundbar to a projector, including options for each of the standard audio connectors you’re most likely to find on your soundbar and projector.

Options for Connecting a Soundbar to a Projector

There are many different audio and video connections out there, and each projector and soundbar comes with a finite set of audio inputs and outputs. The trick to connecting a soundbar to a projector and getting the best results possible is identifying a compatible output on the projector with a compatible input on the soundbar, with priority given to higher quality connection types.

Here are the connections you may find on your projector and soundbar:

  • HDMI/HDMI ARC: This is the same type of cable you use to connect a game console or Blu-ray player to your projector. It’s a digital connection that allows for excellent quality and surround sound if both your soundbar and projector support it.
  • SPDIF: This is a digital audio cable that uses an RCA or TOSLINK style connection. The sound quality is typically high with this type of connection. If your soundbar doesn't have an HDMI input, there’s a good chance it will support SPDIF.
  • Optical/Toslink: This is another digital option that provides excellent quality. If HDMI and SPDIF aren’t options, this should be next on your list.
  • RCA: This is an analog connection type that can provide decent sound if you have good cables, but it should only be on the table if you don’t have any digital options.
  • Stereo 3.5mm: This is another analog connection type that works fine if you don’t have any options, but it’s limited to stereo and doesn’t provide the highest quality sound.
  • Bluetooth: This isn’t a physical connector type, but you can find projectors and soundbars that support it. Since it’s a wireless connection, the sound quality can suffer if there’s any interference.

How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector With HDMI

HDMI is the best option for connecting a soundbar to a projector because it provides the highest sound quality and support for more than just two audio channels. If you want to use this method, your soundbar needs an HDMI or HDMI ARC input port, and your projector needs an HDMI output port. You’ll also need to buy an HDMI cable if you don’t have one already.

Here’s how to connect a soundbar to your projector with HDMI:

  1. Turn your soundbar and projector off.

  2. Connect an HDMI cable to an HDMI or HDMI ARC output on your projector.

  3. Connect the other end to an HDMI or HDMI ARC input on your soundbar.

  4. Connect a media input device, like a streaming device, laptop, or Blu-ray player to your projector.

  5. Turn your devices on.

  6. If necessary, set your projector’s audio output to HDMI and your soundbar’s audio input to HDMI.

How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector With Optical or SPDIF

Optical audio connections use a square TOSLINK connector, while SPDIF is a digital connection that can use either a TOSLINK or RCA connector. Before you try to use one of these connections, examine the input on your soundbar and the output on your projector to make sure they’re compatible. SPDIF can use both square TOSLINK connectors and round RCA connectors, with the former providing an optical connection and the other using a traditional coaxial cable.

If you’re sure your projector and soundbar are compatible, here’s how to make the connection:

  1. Turn off both devices.

  2. Plug one end of your TOSLINK or RCA SPDIF cable into the corresponding output on your projector.

  3. Plug the other end of the cable into a compatible input on your soundbar.

  4. Connect your input device or devices to your projector.

  5. Turn on the devices.

  6. If necessary, set the audio output of your projector to the optical, digital, or SPDIF output, and the input of your soundbar to the corresponding input port.

How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector Using an Analog Connection

The two types of analog connections found on projectors and soundbars are RCA connectors and 3.5mm TRRS jacks. These connections are compatible, so you can connect the 3.5mm output from a projector to stereo RCA inputs on a soundbar if you have the correct adapter.

Here’s how to connect a soundbar to a projector using an analog connection:

  1. Turn off both devices.

  2. Connect the left and right channel RCA cables to the RCA outputs on your projector, or connect a 3.5mm aux cable to the 3.5mm audio jack on your projector.

  3. Connect the other end of your cable or cables to the corresponding input or inputs on your projector.

    You can use a 3.5mm male to 2x RCA male stereo adapter to switch between the two connections if necessary.

  4. Connect your input devices to the projector.

  5. Turn your devices on.

  6. If necessary, set the projector sound output to analog, and the soundbar input to analog.

How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector via Bluetooth

If your projector and soundbar both support Bluetooth, all you need to do is pair the two devices. This type of connection is subject to interference from other electronics and wireless devices, so the sound quality you experience won’t always be consistent.

Here’s how to use your projector with a Bluetooth speaker:

  1. Turn on the soundbar, and enable pairing mode.

  2. Using the settings menu on your projector, enable Bluetooth and search for the soundbar.

  3. Accept the connection, and enter a pairing code if required.

  4. The soundbar should connect automatically to the projector when both are powered on in the future.

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