How to Use Wireless Bluetooth Headphones With Your TV
If you can get everything connected and playing nicely together, Bluetooth headphones can make your TV watching more discreet and comfortable. While some televisions pack Bluetooth wireless connections inside, you can also add external adapters to get nearly any TV running with a set of wireless headphones.
Smart TVs are built with wireless connection technology built-in to the set itself. Using the on-screen display, you can connect your Bluetooth accessories. Find the Accessory menu for your TV, open the Bluetooth options, and set it to Pairing mode. Put your headphones into Pairing mode as well. Often, there will be a connection button on the headphones that you must press for a few seconds. Once Pairing mode has been enabled, you will see the headphones listed on your television's on-screen display. Select the headphones with your TV's remote control to complete the process. Once the headphones are paired with the TV, when both of them are powered on, they will automatically connect to each other.
If you don't have a Smart TV with a built-in Bluetooth connection, despair not. You can still plug in either a Bluetooth dongle or a Bluetooth transmitter. A dongle attaches to the USB port on your television and gives it Bluetooth capabilities. If you use a transmitter it will plug into either the headphone jack or an audio output port on your TV and connect with your Bluetooth headphones. One thing to be aware of is that, when you plug something into the headphone jack of a television, it will often mute the TV's external speakers, so if you want to use both the Bluetooth headphones and the speakers, you will want to plug the transmitter into an audio jack, not the headphone jack. If your television does not have any external audio ports, you won't be able to connect Bluetooth headphones to it.
Bluetooth headphones need to be recharged to keep pumping out sound. Typically you can plug the headphones into a microUSB cable to top up the internal batteries. A good set of Bluetooth headphones should last around 10 to 12 hours. If you plan on roaming the house while listening to your favorite TV show, you might also invest in some extra microUSB chargers, so you can recharge your headset wherever you go.
Although Bluetooth technology allows for transmission up to 328 feet, interference can reduce the range of your headphones. If you're experiencing audio dropouts or a range limitations, you might have some other wireless technology interfering with your signal. Things like microwave ovens, Wi-Fi routers, direct satellite service, cordless phones and wireless speakers can all interfere with Bluetooth transmissions. If you can switch your Wi-Fi to use only the 5GHz, instead of the 2.4GHz, wireless spectrum that will help, as will separating your Bluetooth transmitter and receiver from other wireless devices like a router, cordless phone or microwave oven. Additionally, metal and concrete walls can deflect or absorb wireless signals and reduce the range of your Bluetooth headset.
References & Resources
- Samsung Support: FAQ - Are Any Samsung Plasma TVs Compatible with Bluetooth
- Plantronics: Bluetooth Headset Pairing Guide
- HeadRoom: Finding the Best TV Headphones
- CNET: Harman Kardon BT Review
- Apple Support: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Potential Sources of Wireless Interference
- Bluetooth: Welcome to Bluetooth Technology 101