Do you remember the days of running cables from your TV to your fancy speakers to try and create surround sound? Finding cables long enough and a way to safely hide them was always a challenge. But that is no longer necessary with Bluetooth TV transmitters.
Most modern TVs and speakers are Bluetooth-enabled, and you can now send your audio directly from your TV to your speakers wirelessly. But what happens if your TV (or your speakers) aren’t Bluetooth enabled? Well, you can plug in a Bluetooth transmitter or receiver to make them compatible.
In this article, we will explain exactly how Bluetooth transmitters work and share our top five best Bluetooth transmitters for TV. We have also put together a complete buying guide to tell you everything you need to know about choosing a Bluetooth transmitter for TV.
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What Is A Bluetooth Transmitter For TV & Why Do You Need One?
Bluetooth transmitters transmit Bluetooth signals while Bluetooth receivers receive them. But what does that mean in practice?
If you want to send audio from a non-Bluetooth TV to your Bluetooth-enabled soundbar, you can plug a Bluetooth transmitter into your TV so it sends that signal and links the devices wirelessly.
Similarly, if your car stereo is not Bluetooth-enabled, you can plug a Bluetooth receiver into your stereo and it will be able to receive Bluetooth transmissions from your smartphone to play audio.
Most devices on the market can both transmit and receiver Bluetooth signals, making them transceivers, but you will also find devices that only transmit.
These are most useful for people who have older TVs that do not have Bluetooth built-in but want to send audio to their speakers wirelessly.
In this article, we are looking at solutions specific to this TV problem.
While there are many user cases for Bluetooth transmitters, one important one is connecting TV headphones for older users with hearing difficulties. Read our complete article on TV headphones for seniors here.
The Swiitech is the current market leader when it comes to Bluetooth transmitters because it is an affordable option that does it all.
- Transmitter and receiver
- Bluetooth 5.0 aptX LL
- Pair two devices simultaneously
This easy-to-use device is both a transmitter and a receiver, so you can use it to send audio from your non-Bluetooth TV to your headphones or speakers. You can also use it to send audio from your smartphone to non-Bluetooth headphones or speakers. It uses AUX and RCA connections and can connect to your TV, car stereo, speakers, PC, and more.
It uses the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology and aptX LL to ensure that there is no lag between audio and image. When you use it with your TV, you will probably plug the device into a power source. But if you do choose to take it on the road, you get an 18-hour battery life. You can also pair two different devices at the same time. For example, send audio from your TV to two sets of headphones for late-night viewing.
- We love how versatile this transceiver is. You can use just one device to meet all your Bluetooth audio needs. It also uses all the latest technology but comes at a low price.
- While this transceiver is designed to be used portably, it is a little bulkier than we would like.
Avantree is one of the biggest names in TV audio devices, so it is no surprise that they have produced a couple of good-quality Bluetooth transceivers that feature on this list.
- Transmitter and receiver
- Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX LL
- Supports surround and stereo sound
This is both a transmitter and a receiver and is compatible with 99% of your devices that aren’t already Bluetooth-enabled. It connects via Bluetooth 5.0 using another aptX LL and HD.
You can connect to two audio receivers at the same time, and you can connect to soundbars and stereo systems that deliver surround sound without losing any sound quality.
- We like that this device supports surround and stereo sound. After all, that’s why you bought the soundbar or fancy speakers.
- This is quite an expensive option, and while it is high-quality, it is difficult to understand why it is so much more expensive than some of its competitors.
This device is ideal if you are looking for something small and compact that you can use not only with your TV but maybe also in the car or the office.
- Transmitter and receiver
- Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX LL
- Small and compact device
This device is about the size of a dongle and has a rechargeable battery that delivers about 10 hours of audio on a single charge. This makes the Aisidra a realistic device to use in your car to connect to your car stereo.
Both a transmitter and a receiver, it has all the technology that you would expect, including AUX connection, Bluetooth 5.0, and aptX LL. You can connect to two different audio-receiving devices at the same time.
- We like that this device is compact and portable. Many devices that say that they work in your car are really just too big for that function.
- Considering it is meant to be portable and multifunctional, we would like to see more audio input options, even if we never use them!
When it comes to your home cinema setup, you want high fidelity audio, and that is what this advanced Avantree model delivers.
- Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX LL and HD
- Automatic 5.1 audio encoding
Unlike the other options on this list that are designed to be multifunctional, this transmitter is specifically for your TV. This means that while it is not a receiver, it has some important extra features.
You get the full range of connections, including OPT, AUX, and RCA. You can connect to two different audio receiving devices at a time. The transmitter not only supports stereo and surround sound but also has automatic 5.1 audio encoding for better image quality.
The device also has an LCD display, which lets you control various things such as the volume. But most importantly, it lets you control your Bluetooth pairing. On most transmitters that don’t have screens, you are pairing blind and can end up losing one of your connections if you have other Bluetooth enabled devices in the vicinity.
- We like that this device is designed specifically to be part of a home entertainment system. This means that it does less, but it does it better!
- Obviously we’d like it if this device was a bit less expensive, but you are paying for quality. Your setup is only as good as the weakest link in the chain.
This is a simple and affordable device, but it stands out as being one of the few that comes with optical and coaxial inputs.
- Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX LL and HD
- AUX, RCA, Optical, and Coaxial inputs
There just aren’t that many Bluetooth transmitter options on the market if you need optical or coaxial inputs; devices that use these are generally assumed to be natively Bluetooth-enabled. But if you do need that kind of connection, you’ll be happy with this device.
It uses all the latest technology to deliver HHD audio to up to two audio receiving devices at a time. The transmitter delivers a 20-30m range indoors.
- We like that this device is truly universal with its optical and coaxial inputs.
- Considering this is one of the few devices that supports optical and coaxial, we wish it was a receiver as well as a transmitter.
If you are looking for a Bluetooth transmitter that specifically supports optical and coaxial inputs, then this is the option for you.
What To Look For When Buying A Bluetooth Transmitter For TV
The first question to ask yourself is whether you need a transmitter or a transceiver. Will you only be using this device with your TV, or do you also want to be able to use it to receive Bluetooth signals on other devices, such as older speakers or your car stereo?
Once you have made this decision, you need to ensure that the solution you choose has the right connections for your TV. Most Bluetooth transmitters come with RCA and AUX connections, and this is fine for most devices. But if you need an optical or coaxial connection, you’ll need to shop around for a device. These do not come as standard as most devices with these connections are already Bluetooth-enabled.
Next, check that the transmitter uses the aptX Low Latency (aptX LL) Bluetooth audio codec. This will ensure that your audio and picture are in sync. Other codecs tend to result in a delay that will make watching very frustrating! If you want to choose stereo surround sound, also look for devices marketed as aptX HD.
Make sure that you choose Bluetooth 5.0 for the best range and audio quality when connecting. Of course, make sure that your speakers of headphones are also 5.0 compatible, or you will need to choose an earlier version.
Find our recommendations for the best soundbars to use with your TV here.
How To Connect Your Bluetooth Transmitter
You need to connect your Bluetooth transmitter directly to your TVs audio output, which will be optical audio, RCA, or AUX.
RCA outputs are color-coded red and white plugs usually located on the bottom or the side of the TV. You will have corresponding inputs or a single input on your transmitter, and it is just about matching your plugs to the outlets.
If you have an optical connection, also known as a TOSLINK, you will have a single port on the back of your TV that should be labeled “optical.” You will need an optical cable that is compatible with your transmitter to connect.
An AUX output will look a lot like your optical output except it will be labeled as AUX. Your transmitter should come with a cable that will connect to this output.
Once you connect your transmitter to the TV, you will also need to connect it to a powersource, and then you can put the transmitter into pairing mode. While instructions are different from different models, you usually just have to press a button to authorize pairing. You will then want to complete the pairing process with whatever device you want to connect with. This is called blind pairing since your transmitter can’t approve or deny specific devices. There are more expensive transmitters that have LED screens that will allow you to do this.
Do all smart TVs come with Bluetooth?
Bluetooth is not a standard feature in all smart TVs, though it is becoming increasingly common. Older smart TVs and more affordable models probably won’t have built-in Bluetooth.
How do I know if my TV has Bluetooth?
You can check whether your TV has in-built Bluetooth in your Settings Menu under Sound and Sound Output. If you have Bluetooth, you should have an option to connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices.
Do Bluetooth audio transmitters work?
Yes, if you want to send your TV audio to a Bluetooth-enabled audio device without any of the cables, then a Bluetooth transmitter is just the bit of tech that you need. Just make sure to choose aptX LL technology so that there is no audio lag and you don’t end up hearing your audio out of sync with your image.
Where do I plug my Bluetooth transmitter into my TV?
Plug your Bluetooth transmitter into your TV’s audio output. This will be AUX or RCA connections on the back of your TV. You may also have digital options with newer TVs, but make sure you buy a transmitter that is compatible with these digital connections.
How do I connect my wireless headphones to a Bluetooth transmitter?
Once your Bluetooth transmitter is plugged into your TV and switched on, it will start transmitting, so you should be able to pair your headphones or speaker with your transmitter in the standard fashion. There should be a Bluetoooth pairing button on your transmitter that you can press to authorize pairing.
Gone are the days of trying to find five-meter RCA cables to connect your TV to your surround sound speakers. This can now be done wirelessly over Bluetooth — but only if both your transmitting device (your TV) and your receiving device (your speakers) are Bluetooth-enabled.
But if your TV is not Bluetooth-enabled, all is not lost! A simple Bluetooth transmitter can enable it to send a signal to your speakers.
There are plenty of options on the market. Choose something compatible with your TV’s audio output and that uses Bluetooth codec aptX LL, otherwise you might notice an annoying lag between the sound and the image on your screen.