Best HDMI Cable for Soundbar: How to choose one and make a connection

FACTS CHECKED BY  Jose George​

A soundbar is a very effective way to upgrade your TV’s audio quality. The music sounds more alluring and well-defined, the dialog super clear, not to mention the bass that kicks in. For these reasons, it’s a perfect replacement for the inbuilt TV speaker. Fortunately, it’s not hard to set up a soundbar, no matter your type of soundbar or TV. Once you connect the soundbar to the TV, it will automatically detect it. All you need is the best HDMI cable for a soundbar.

Table of Contents

The Benefits of HDMI For a Soundbar Over Other Ports

And if you need help with ports on the soundbar, you can refer to the manual. However, if you don’t have one, it’s available on the manufacturer’s website to download it. 

different ports

(Caption: different ports)

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) ports are visible at the back of a soundbar. The HDMI cables collectively transmit high-quality audio and video. However, the soundbar only transfers only audio. So, consider HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) to transmit a two-way audio channel. Further, the update on HDMI eARC (enhanced audio return channel) led to enhanced bit rates, improved surround sound, and provision for more audio codecs. 

Alongside the HDMI connection, you might also see an optical digital audio port that will produce high-quality audio. However, the HDMI eARC is more advanced. 

You may also see a 3.5 mm analog audio cable port among the cheapest, oldest, and smallest soundbars. You can use it to link your soundbar to your TV, but you will need better-quality audio. 

ethernet port

(Caption: ethernet port)

How to Connect Soundbar to Your TV With HDMI (in 5 Steps)

Aside from the audio ports, you will see a power cable port for the soundbar. In addition, in the case of the Sonos Beam second-generation, there’s an ethernet port for internet connectivity, if needed. You must know the ports on the back of your soundbar before you plug in any cables.

1. Connect the Devices to the Power

Connect your TV and the soundbar to a power source using their respective power cords and turn both devices on. But keep in mind that not all soundbars have the same design. 

However, using an AC power adapter is the most common method of connecting a soundbar to a power source, although in some rare cases, you can use your TV. Just ensure you plug in both devices to the power source and turn them on before you create a link with your HDMI cable to confirm any pop-up notifications.

an AC power adapter

(Caption: an AC power adapter)

2. Find the HDMI Input (ARC)

Your TV’s port at the back, where you’ll find all the other ports, is the HDMI input (ARC). And if you’ve already plugged some cables into the RCA ports (the red and white ones), start by checking there. 

HDMI cables have a unique shape that’s easy to distinguish and identify. Therefore, look at the port on the TV and the HDMI cable’s end to ensure they both match. And if you don’t see the HDMI input, check around the power button and other buttons to see if you can locate it. If you still can’t locate it, refer to your TV’s user manual. Alternatively, you can contact the manufacturer for help.

3. Find the HDMI Output (ARC)

After successfully locating the HDMI input port on your TV, you will need to find the soundbar’s HDMI output (the ARC). 

4. Connect the HDMI Cable to the TV and Soundbar

After figuring out where to plug in the HDMI cable to your soundbar and TV, go ahead and connect the cable to each device. 

It’s worth noting that it makes no difference whether you start by connecting the HDMI cable to the TV and then the soundbar or the other way around. But ensure the connection is secure and complete.

5. Change Your Speaker Settings

Now, you need to change your TV settings and set the soundbar as the speaker output, as this does not occur automatically. See, your TV might not support the new input and output settings you selected; therefore, you’ll hear no sound coming from the soundbar. Instead, your TV continues to use its internal speakers as the audio output source, even with the soundbar plugged in. 

Therefore, you must manually change your speaker output preference to use your soundbar. Here’s how: 

  • First, go to Settings and search for a symbol that looks like the Speaker or Audio selection options.
  • Then, set the soundbar as the output speaker. You might need to select the HDMI connection as your soundbar’s default option. Or you may need to ensure that the soundbar source is set to D.IN.

If you use your soundbar as part of a more extensive sound equipment set in your home theater setup, you will ensure that all the devices are correctly connected. 

How to Choose the Best HDMI Cables for a Soundbar?

There are essential factors to consider when choosing an HDMI cable.

1. The Supported Bandwidth and Resolutions

Select a fast enough cable to handle your gaming or entertainment needs. 

For example, high-speed HDMI cables can provide up to 18 Gbps bandwidth. These are appropriate for a 4K HDR TV and other gaming devices. However, if you want to use a soundbar with, say, PlayStation 5 or Xbox X series, you need something different. For second-generation consoles and TV streaming devices like Apple TV 4K, you’re better off with ultra-high-speed or premium HDMI cables.

2. Connector Type

Check if there’s adequate space to connect a regular connector to your TV or console. Go for an HDMI cable with a 90-degree bent or L-shaped connector in narrow spaces. 

3. Length of the Cable

You need an HDMI cable long enough to connect all your devices without any problem. But shorter cables aren’t easily affected by signal interference, screen blackouts, or frame drops. 

If you will position the soundbar up to a distance of 15 feet, use regular or Passive HDMI cables. That’s because these cables are bidirectional and excellent for shorter distances. Note, though, that you can only use them for part 4K @ 60 HDR or above signals. 

On the other hand, if your devices are more than 25 feet away, you require Active HDMI cables. These, too, are bidirectional. 

4. Supported Audio Formats

Consider the audio standards the cable supports. For example, you can easily find HDMI cables that support audio formats like DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD 7.1 to stream high-quality sound on your home theater setup.

When considering object-based audio, it’s essential to mention DTS: X, as it provides quality, natural sound that supports higher bit rates. Dolby Atmos takes the lead as far as object-based surround sound goes. And it offers natural sound and an exciting movie-watching experience.

However, if you have high-end devices supporting object-based audio formats, go for HDMI cables supporting the standards. Such cables will stream the best possible audio output from your devices. 

5. Cable Shielding

Shielding makes a cable robust enough to withstand daily wear and tear without damage. Heavily shielded cables get rigid. Thus they’re challenging to install. HDMI cables have sufficient layers of protection and are flexible enough to endure bends.

6. Price and Warranty

The features of the cable determine its price. It’s essential to determine the features you need before choosing the cable you want to buy without compromising the quality. In addition to price, search for the cables that offer an excellent warranty to cover your HDMI cables. 

Best HDMI Cables for Soundbars

Here’s a list of five of the best HDMI cables for soundbars:

1. Bluerigger 4K HDMI Cable

The Bluerigger 4K has a speed of 18 Gbps, a resolution of [email protected], and inbuilt ethernet and backward compatibility. It supports audio standards such as True HD Dolby 7.1 and DTS-HD Master audio.

Also, the cable provides a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience of up to 32 audio channels.

Further, the cable is available in extended length options of 15, 25, 35, and even 50 feet, with a CL3 rating, making them a good choice for in-wall installation.

The only limitation with this fairly priced cable is the limited length options, as there are no shorter sizes.

2. UGreen Right-Angle HDMI Cable

The Cable has a speed of 18 Gbps and [email protected] resolution. Also, it offers stable signal transfer even when bent. Additionally, this UGreen cable supports high-definition standards such as DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD. Further, it comes six and 10 feet long and has an inbuilt ethernet. Therefore, you can enjoy the benefits of your IP-enabled devices without needing an ethernet cable.

3. Monoprice Certified Premium HDMI Cable

This cable is a premium one with a high speed of a whopping 18 Gbps and the capability to handle a resolution of up to [email protected] Hz. Also, the cable can support high-definition audio standards that include Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, which is ideal for soundbars. Further, this HDMI cable offers high transmission on various devices, such as the Apple TV 4K, Roku, and 4K HDR TV. More to that,  the cable comes in lengths of 30 feet.

4. AUSTERE VII Series HDMI Cable

It is another superior HDMI cable with a speed of 48 Gbps and a resolution of [email protected] and [email protected] 120Hz. If you want to connect your soundbar to a 4K/8K TV, Roku, Apple TV4K, or any other high-end gaming console, the design allows it to handle all of them. Also, it’s an excellent choice for the latest soundbars and supports Dolby TrueHD Atmos, which offers quality and object-based surround sound. Further, this HDMI cable supports eARC technology, an ideal feature due to its higher bandwidth and ability to back more audio channels. The result is the best audio from your TV. That said, this cable is expensive.

5. Belkin HDMI 2.1 Cable

Here is another superior HDMI cable with a speed of 48 Gbps and a resolution of [email protected] and [email protected] 120Hz. If you want to connect your soundbar to a 4K/8K TV, Roku, Apple TV4K, or any other high-end gaming console, the design allows it to handle all of them. Also, it’s an excellent choice for the latest soundbars and supports Dolby TrueHD Atmos, which offers quality and object-based surround sound. Further, this HDMI cable supports eARC technology, an ideal feature due to its higher bandwidth and ability to back more audio channels. The result is the best audio from your TV. That said, this cable is expensive.

Conclusion

For the best sound quality, many use soundbars rather than inbuilt audio speakers for TVs and other entertainment devices.

But in addition to using a soundbar, you must choose an appropriate HDMI cable for better quality transmissions.

Consider the cable bandwidth, length, shielding, price, and warranty given to get the best HDMI cable.

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