How to Add Bluetooth Capability to Your TV

How to Add Bluetooth Capability to Your TV

Not all TV’s come with Bluetooth functionality built in.  Even on TV’s costing several hundred dollars, it’s not always included as a built-in feature. Fortunately there is a way to add this capability to your TV by attaching a Bluetooth transmitter to it. In this particular article, we’ll walk you through this process and also recommend a couple of the best Bluetooth transmitters currently available.

For this example, we’ll demonstrate how this can be done using the TCL 4K Smart LED TV for an example as it’s one of the most popular TV’s to get right now.

STEP 1 – IDENTITY AVAILABLE OUTPUTS

The first step is to determine what type of outputs you have available to work with that you could connect a Bluetooth transmitter to. The good news is there are several type of outputs that will work. And the TCL 4K TV is a good example of one that has more than one output you can use.

TCL 49S405 4K TV Audio Connections
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Here’s a list of the different types of outputs you could use depending on your TV:

  • Headphone Jack
  • Digital Audio Out / Optical Audio Out
  • Analogue Audio Out
  • Or any other 3.5mm audio output jack

Now you may have more than one option available to you. And if that’s the case I would use the headphone jack first if that’s available.

For example, on the back of the TCL 4K TV, you’ll notice (see photo on right) that it has both an “Audio Out” with a little headphone icon (so you can plug your headphones directly into your TV) and an “Optical” audio out which is located at the bottom.

If you want the best audio quality possible, you can choose the optical audio output if that’s not being used.  But again, it’s easiest if you use a 3.5mm output (standard size output jack, like what you’d plug a standard headphone cable into).

Otherwise if you’re using something like an optical audio output, you’ll need to make sure the Bluetooth transmitter you choose has that type of input. If it doesn’t, you’ll then need to look at getting something like a “Digital to Analogue Audio Converter” which converts the optical audio connection into a 3.5mm connection.

But the audio quality of the headphone jack is still excellent so don’t hesitate to use that if it’s not being used.

STEP 2 – GET THE CORRECT BLUETOOTH TRANSMITTER

What can be confusing if you start searching on Amazon or elsewhere for a Bluetooth transmitter is that some of the results you will find may just be Bluetooth receiver only. This means that the device only works to “receive” a signal and not “transmit” or send one.

So just to clarify, the purpose we’re after is for this Bluetooth device to connect to your TV and then “transmit” or send the audio information to something like your Bluetooth headphones, Bluetooth capable soundbar or Bluetooth capable speaker system.

BE CAREFUL TO AVOID ANYTHING THAT IS A “RECEIVER ONLY”

As an example, the TaoTronics Bluetooth Receiver is something you would NOT want to get because it is just acting as a receiver. So it would be unable to “send” any audio information from your TV to something like your headphones or soundbar. So what do you use something like this for then??? Well, this works great when you want to convert something like your car audio system so that it can accept or “receive” a Bluetooth connection or signal from your phone. 

RECOMMENDED OPTIONS

Below are my two favorite options to choose from depending on your budget and situation.

TaoTronics aptx low latency Bluetooth 4.2 Transmitter Reciver for TV
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The TaoTronics Bluetooth 4.2 Transmitter currently offers the best combination of value and all the right features. It’s Bluetooth 4.2, it has aptX and you can pair two devices (such as headphones) at once. The aptX is important so that you have what’s called “low latency.” And this means the delay between the signal is so slight (like 40 milliseconds) that you shouldn’t notice any audio delay.

Otherwise, one of the problems you can run into with other Bluetooth Transmitters is that you’ll see someone speaking or moving their mouth on TV but the audio will be off by 1/2 second or more. And if you’ve every tried to endure something like this, it’s very annoying!

It connects using a 3.5mm connection (perfect for a headphone jack on your TV as an example) and it also allows you to switch between transmitting and receiving mode. This allows you to also use this in your car if you wanted.

Currently, this retails for about $30, but you can click here to check what the current best price is.

TaoTronics Bluetooth Transmitter and Receiver with aptX low latency for TV
Click to enlarge

Now if you’re in a situation where either you don’t have a headphone jack on your TV or all the 3.5mm audio outputs are in use, but you have an optical audio output that you could use, then you’ll want to get the TaoTronics Bluetooth Transmitter with Dual Connections.

This model still has the option for both an analogue audio connection (3.5mm connection) and an optical audio connection as well. It also includes a 3ft optical audio cable in case you don’t already have one to use and it works just fine.

And just like the previous model above, this has low latency aptX so you won’t have issues with there being a delay between what you see and when you actually hear it. It also functions as both a receiver and transmitter as well.

This model does cost a few dollars more at around $34, but you can click here to check what the current best price is.

OTHER OPTIONS DEPENDING ON YOUR SITUATION

Depending on your situation, there are other options that may work better for you as well. For instance, if latency isn’t really something you need (like if you’re just using this to listen to music and not watch movies or TV) then you could opt for something less expensive.

Also, if you need something that extends beyond the typical Bluetooth range of about 30-33 ft then you can spend more money for transmitters that can send a signal over 100 ft away.

But otherwise, for most situations the two models listed above should have you covered.

BOTTOM LINE

The thing to keep in mind is that it’s very easy to convert your TV so that it can send a Bluetooth signal. You just need to make sure you have an available audio output to use. And then you just need to match that output with the appropriate Bluetooth Transmitter.

Hopefully this walkthrough helped, but if you have any questions or have a situation that wasn’t covered in this article, please don’t hesitate to post any comments or questions below!