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TV Bluetooth: A 101 Guide

TV Bluetooth: A 101 Guide

Bluetooth changed how people use their electronic devices would be an understatement.

The apparent change Bluetooth brings about is not having to use physical cables. But the convenience that Bluetooth technology affords doesn’t get as much recognition and appreciation.

On the other hand, Bluetooth is not impeccable. It has its drawbacks—the most prominent being the potential loss of signal and reduced audio fidelity when listening to music.

But the disparity between wired and Bluetooth audio quality isn’t major. Even if it is significant, it doesn’t trump the sheer comfort of not being tethered to a device.

And you can experience the ease and convenience of Bluetooth with TVs too. But how does Bluetooth in TV work? And are all smart TVs Bluetooth-equipped?

For the answers to the questions and to learn more about TV Bluetooth, keep reading.

How Does Bluetooth Work?

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that connects different devices without wires—for instance, phones to cars, keyboards and mice to computers, etc.

When two Bluetooth devices are enabled and within range, an electronic interaction happens between them on whether the other has shareable data and is trustworthy to communicate with.

When getting started with a new Bluetooth device, you must go through the pairing process, which are the security keys that permit Bluetooth tech to secure and safeguard the user’s device and the data on it. You cannot connect the device to another Bluetooth device without pairing.

Watch this video for a more in-depth understanding of the wireless technology:

How does Bluetooth Work?

Are Wi-Fi and Bluetooth the same technologies?

Bluetooth is quite similar to Wi-Fi, offering or creating a local data network for electronic devices to communicate with each other.

But Wi-Fi is Internet-based or connects a Wi-Fi device to the Internet without wires. Two Wi-Fi-enabled devices don’t talk to each other directly like Bluetooth devices do.

How Does TV Bluetooth Work?

If your TV has Bluetooth, it should work like any device capable of sending or receiving Bluetooth signals.

The Bluetooth option is usually hidden under sound output in the device’s audio settings. Based on the make, the menu options may change.

Some devices you can connect to a TV via Bluetooth include headphones, speakers, soundbars, gamepads, computers (smartphones, PCs, tablets), keyboards, and mice.

Most Bluetooth TVs connect to two or more devices at once. They can be used simultaneously—connecting a couple or more Bluetooth speakers for a boosted audio effect.

Most TVs, however, do not support two pair of Bluetooth headphones at the same time. But there’s a workaround: a Bluetooth transmitter for TVs, like this Avantree Oasis Plus Bluetooth Transmitter .

The transmitter works alongside the TV’s speaker or an external soundbar, thanks to its “passthrough” feature. That means up to two people can listen to TV audio through headphones and others in the room can use the loudspeaker. 

Setting up the transmitter is easy. Watch this video to learn how it’s done:

Avantree - Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver Oasis Plus - How to Use?

Kindly note that some Bluetooth headphones made specifically for mobile devices may not work with TVs. But those may with the Bluetooth transmitter.

Can I Make My Non-Bluetooth TV Bluetooth?

Yes, you can turn your non-Bluetooth TV to talk wirelessly using a Bluetooth adapter, provided your TV unit has an audio jack, RCA, or USB port to connect to the adapter physically.

Some excellent Bluetooth receiver/transmitter adapters or boxes for your TV include:

If your TV is too old, the adapters will not help. But because people used RCA cables to connect TVs to VCR players, it’s doubtful your old TV is devoid of even an RCA connector.  

You can also use a streaming stick or box with Bluetooth functionality to make your TV Bluetooth-friendly.

Here’s a video that shows how to connect your wireless headphones to your TV hooked up to a Fire TV Stick :

Using Bluetooth headphones with a Fire Stick!

Kindly note that not all streaming devices have Bluetooth functionality. Roku Ultra , Apple TV 4K , and Chromecast with Google TV are other streaming devices with Bluetooth support.

If you want Bluetooth functionality in your TV only for wireless headphone audio, get a dedicated Bluetooth TV headphone instead, such as the Avantree Ensemble Wireless Headphones  or Sony Wireless Headphones WHRF400R with Transmitter Dock .

Things to Consider When Shopping for a Bluetooth Adapter/Box

When shopping for a TV Bluetooth adapter, ensure the device supports low latency so that the visuals and audio are in sync.

Other handy features to look for include:

  • the ability to connect and transmit to more than one device simultaneously
  • a reasonably long wireless range
  • strong battery life (if it’s battery-powered)
  • compact size for portability and discreetness

If the adapter is larger than usual, it better justify its larger footprint, like the Avantree Oasis Plus (linked above). The 164 feet (50 meters) range of the Oasis Plus is among the bests in class.

If you’re looking to buy a new TV and would like it to have Bluetooth as standard and not need the above adapters, here are a few TVs to consider:

The reality that Bluetooth is not a standard TV feature or synonymous with all smart TVs is apparent with relatively fewer Bluetooth TV options available on the market.

How to Connect a Bluetooth Adapter/Box to Your TV?

Swiitech Bluetooth Transmitter Receiver

Click this image for more information

Connecting a Bluetooth adapter to another Bluetooth device is no different from pairing two standalone Bluetooth devices. Here are the steps (may vary based on the TV brand or adapter unit):

Step 1: To use the Bluetooth adapter with your TV, plug the adapter into your TV’s audio or USB port.

Step 2: The adapter could be capable of receiving and transmitting Bluetooth signals. Therefore, set it to “transmitter” mode to send alerts to another Bluetooth device. The device will have a small switch to toggle between receiving and transmitting.

Step 3: Press and hold the adapter’s pairing button. Wait for the flashing light signal or another sign indicating the adapter is ready to pair.

Step 4: Turn on the other or receiving Bluetooth device and enable pairing functionality on it to connect to your TV’s adapter. Ensure the device is close to or within pairing distance of the adapter.

The entire process should take less than a minute to complete. Once done, you may start using the devices wirelessly.

Bluetooth Adapter Battery

Most Bluetooth adapters come with built-in batteries that charge through their USB ports. If the device connects to your TV via USB, it will charge while serving Bluetooth duties.

But if it uses an audio port or RCA connectors, charge the device separately. You may plug in the USB charging cord while it’s connected to your TV. If the adapter is not battery-powered, it would need a separate power source.

Why is Bluetooth Not a Standard TV Feature?

TV with bluetooth in the living room

Bluetooth is not a standard feature in TVs because the wireless tech is not as necessary in TVs as it is in smartphones, laptops or desktop PCs, and similar devices.

The following are possible reasons Bluetooth is not so common in TVs:

  • People usually plug their external speakers into their TVs via an HDMI port. And a relatively small niche uses wireless headphones to watch TV late in the evening in the living room and not disturb others in the house.
  • Bluetooth may have trouble transmitting audio in real-time, thanks to its various codecs. And implementing codecs with the least delay, such as Qualcomm AptX, is patented technology and can be costly. Moreover, not all wireless speakers and headphones support codecs like AptX. So, it’s not just the TV’s fault.
  • The TV OS may not be intuitive or smooth enough to dig into its settings and turn on Bluetooth every time. The act of plugging in the cord, on the other hand, feels second nature.
  • Bluetooth can jack up the TV’s price. With so many TVs on the market and most trying to undercut the competition, adding a premium feature like Bluetooth would mean a price disadvantage and a few thousand units sold less in a period.

If Bluetooth was inexpensive or free, it would have been a TV standard. But because people don’t really look for Bluetooth support in their TVs, adding the feature at the cost of increasing the price doesn’t make business sense, particularly with inexpensive Bluetooth adapters available.  

How to Check Your TV Has Native Bluetooth?

Setup button on remote

If your TV natively supports Bluetooth, it’s not that difficult to check the same. Here are a few ways to find out:

  • Check the remote. Most Bluetooth TV remotes sport the Bluetooth logo. If you have the TV’s original box, it should also have the logo printed on it somewhere. Some smart TV remotes talk to TVs via Bluetooth instead of infrared, like Samsung’s Smart Remote.
  • Check the TV’s settings. If there’s the option to toggle on/off Bluetooth in the TV’s audio settings, it’s an obvious sign.
  • Read the user manual or look up the manual or your TV’s specifications online. Checking it online is easier than reading a physical manual, as you can search for the “Bluetooth” keyword in the web page or PDF document, not having to read the thing more than needed.
  • Enable Bluetooth on your computer, smartphone, or tablet PC and search for new devices to pair. Your TV will show up in the list of devices if it supports Bluetooth. If your TV doesn’t show, don’t conclude things yet. Perhaps, Bluetooth may not have been enabled by default on your TV.

FAQs

Are All Smart TVs Bluetooth?

A woman watchs TV in her living room

No, not all smart televisions are Bluetooth-capable. A smart TV’s marquee feature is its ability to connect to the Internet wirelessly, which doesn’t encompass Bluetooth capabilities. Bluetooth is usually reserved for the more expensive models.

If you’re looking to buy a TV with Bluetooth, ensure the word “Bluetooth” is mentioned in the device’s connectivity options. The term “wireless” alone doesn’t guarantee Bluetooth support.

Can a TV Play Audio via Headphones and Speakers Simultaneously?

Bluetooth speaker and headphone

No, TVs usually cannot play audio through a pair of headphones and speakers simultaneously.

The built-in speakers are the default audio output source. When you connect your wireless headphones to the TV, the TV mutes its speakers. Some TVs, however, may support the dual audio function.

By the way, if you want to connect an external speaker and wireless headphones simultaneously, the Avantree Oasis Plus Bluetooth transmitter will help.

Conclusion

A person is standing watching a TV

Bluetooth is a standard feature in almost all modern electronic items, except TVs. If you think that’s a big miss, you could be wrong.

As much as you may rely on Bluetooth technology on your smartphones and other portable devices, you won’t be using the wireless tech on your TV.

When was the last time you wished your TV had Bluetooth? Never, or you don’t remember. But if you did indeed miss Bluetooth on your TV, go ahead and buy a Bluetooth adapter or box.

But don’t just buy a new TV, except if you’re planning a TV upgrade already. 

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