It’s true that you can’t connect your soundbar to a TV using a USB port. But you can hook up a USB device to your television so you will access media files that are stored. But there are alternatives to learn about in this tutorial on hooking a soundbar to your TV.
Can you connect soundbar to TV with USB port? The short answer to this is no. We’ll explain why this is shortly.
However, we will provide you with alternatives so you can be able to set up your TV and make sure the sound is coming out of the soundbar rather than the TV’s speakers. If you follow the steps below, you will get exactly that.
Even though you can use your TV’s USB port, it’s used for streaming your media files. We will discuss this topic in detail to explain why it’s important to know the difference between USB and HDMI and the kind of capabilities each device type has.
This guide was put together to straighten out any confusion that non-tech savvy people deal with on a regular basis. Let’s dive right in and show you what you can do that requires the use of your USB and HDMI devices.
What You Need for This Tutorial?
In order to follow this tutorial, you will need the following:
- An HDMI cable (or cables)
- HDMI ARC
- USB devices
- RCA to HDMI cable box
- HDMI Devices
- Bluetooth adapter (optional)
- Your TV
- 3.5mm AUX cable (Optional)
We will be showing you why these are important and how they can be used. While you cannot plug in a soundbar to your TV using a USB cord, it can be done using an HDMI cable. You’re probably thinking ‘what’s the point of USB ports’?
Not to worry, we’ll show you exactly how to put them to good use. Ready to go? Let’s get started.
Using Your USB Port on Your TV (and Connecting Your Soundbar to Your TV) – Step by Step Instructions for Each
This section of the guide will be broken down into two parts. The first will cover how to connect USB devices to your TV and use them to stream your media files. The second part will provide you with step-by-step instructions on how to connect your soundbar to your TV.
You may have an external device that you’ll want to put to good use. You can be able to play compatible files on your TV such as your videos or music files. Follow along and you can be able to do this correctly.
Connect USB devices to your TV
Below are the steps on how to use a USB on TV:
- Find the USB port located on the back of the television. Once found, connect your USB device.
- Plug in the external device into an outlet (assuming it’s powered by an adapter). An example of this includes an external hard drive. Thumb drives or small USB devices will not apply here since they don’t have power sources of their own.
- Power on your TV and cycle through your settings. Find the USB input option. You may notice other options such as your HDMI and VGA. You can toggle through these using your remote control.
- Cycle through the files stored on your external device. You can play music files located inside your file folder dedicated to it. You can also view pictures and videos (assuming your TV supports those formats like .jpeg or .mp4).
How to connect a TV to your sound bar?
If you want to listen to the sound from the TV via your sound bar, then you’ll want to connect it with one of five different methods. You have RCA, Auxillary (or AUX), optical cable, HDMI cables or Bluetooth. Let’s go down the list and discuss each one:
- HDMI Cable/HDMI cables
One of the more common connection options is your HDMI cable. One option you can consider is using an HDMI ARC cable. Here’s how you can connect them:
- First, make sure that both the soundbar and the TV have working HDMI ARC ports. You must have a high-speed HDMI ARC cable to ensure best results.
- Connect the cable with one end on the TV and the other on the soundbar.
- Power on a source device that is connected to your TV. Then, turn on both the TV and sound button. Then, press the source button on your sound bar (or on the remote control provided). Select D.IN mode and you will see D.IN displayed on the front of your sound bar.
This is a great alternative in the event that you don’t have an HDMI port (for example, if you have an older TV). But don’t lose hope. You can still get the best high res sound formats with a digital optical cable.
What makes this great is that you can enjoy higher resolution audio without having to deal with any kind of humming sounds. That’s because the optical cable contains materials that will prevent any kind of noise from being transferred let alone created.
Now, let’s give you the step-by-step process on how to connect an optical cable to your soundbar and TV:
- Remove the caps from each of the cable’s ends
- Look for the ports on both your TV and soundbar. The TV should have the “Audio output optical” label. The soundbar should have the “Optical In” label. Once located, move on to the next step.
- Connect the optical cord to both ends. Make sure that you hear an audible click on each end to ensure that it is properly connected. From there, you want to switch to digital on your source device. From there, you will see a notification that reads “D-IN” and from there, you should be done.
- AUX (Auxillary)
This is one of your most common connection options. This will require a 3.5mm AUX cable. Let’s show you how to put it to good use:
- Find the AUX in port on the soundbar. It may also be labeled analog output. Either way, locate it along with the AUX output on your TV.
- Connect the cable.
- Switch the TV to AUX mode
- RCA Cables
RCA cables are yellow, red, and white in color. This may require an RCA to HDMI cable box if you have a newer TV. If this is the case, follow these instructions:
- Connect the HDMI end to your TV.
- Connect one end of the color cables into their respective RCA jacks (red goes into red, yellow into yellow).
- Connect the other end of the RCA cables into the RCA jacks located on the soundbar.
The final connectivity method may be the simplest of them all. This is the best option if you want to deal with as little wires as possible. In case you don’t have a Smart TV, you will need a Bluetooth adapter in order to make this work.
Otherwise, you may need to settle for the other options. But in this example, we will be including both situations where you have a Smart TV (and include instructions for those who don’t have one). Let’s continue:
Smart TV installation instructions
- Enable the Bluetooth pairing mode on your soundbar.
- Turn on the Bluetooth option on your TV. Allow the TV to scan for devices and pick up on the soundbar.
- Select the pair option. It shouldn’t take more than a few seconds. You should be done after this.
If you don’t have a Smart TV:
- Connect a Bluetooth Adapter to an audio output port on your TV.
- Check to see if the transmitter is powered on. Some will be battery operated. Either way, make sure that the indicator lights are on. If the battery is low, another indicator light will come on indicating it.
- Set the Bluetooth Transmitter to pairing mode.
- Set the receiving device (your soundbar) into pairing mode.
- Both should be paired within a few seconds.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use DTS HD Master Audio with a USB Port?
You can play audio files using DTS HD Master Audio via the USB port. As long as it’s playing audio files stored on a USB external device, you should be able to play the music files that you want.
Can you use a USB for sound bar?
Once again, a sound bar can be used to play music files located inside your external device. Just connect the USB device to its designated USB port and it should be able to play.
What if my TV does not have an HDMI port?
In the event that your TV has no HDMI port, you can use either AUX or RCA connections. If you have neither jack for it, your best option going forward would be to purchase an adapter and cables for whichever you prefer. For example, it can be an RCA to HDMI adapter if you so choose to use HDMI cables and nothing else.
Did you find this tutorial helpful? What did you enjoy about it? While a soundbar cannot be connected via USB, it can be done through other alternatives as listed above.
If you liked this tutorial, tell us what you think. Also, feel free to let us know which method of connection worked for you best.
John Fleming is the senior editor for Audiophilez.com, covering everything from headphones to smart speakers. He is a graduate of Music Production and Technology. Before Audiophilez, John began his career as a staff writer for two different magazines, where he became a skilled storyteller across different mediums. When he isn’t writing, he can be found biking, reading books, and playing the piano.