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The best way to set up your Samsung soundbar, plus 2 alternatives

Soundbar sitting on a table in front of a mounted Samsung TV

Your soundbar amps up your TV by providing awesome sound quality. It's also extremely versatile and easy to set up - there are several ways you can connect the soundbar to your TV, so you can customize your movie watching experience. Although they all have their benefits, certain setups provide better sound quality than others. If you aren't sure which one works best for you, we have some tips for you.

The best way to connect your soundbar (HDMI)

Connecting your soundbar to the TV with HDMI will give you the best possible audio. HDMI cables transmit sound digitally, which makes everything crystal clear. There are 2 ways to connect your soundbar using HDMI: either by connecting a device to your soundbar (like a Blu-ray player or a video game system) and then connecting the soundbar to the TV, or by using ARC (Audio Return Channel). Use the first method if you want to get the best possible sound from external device you will be regularly using to watch movies or play games. ARC is the way to go if you just have just a TV and a soundbar, and you want great sound from your streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu.

Connect your soundbar and a device using HDMI

  1. Make sure the TV, soundbar, and device are turned off. Then, connect one end of an HDMI cable into any HDMI port on your TV (make a note of which one). Next, connect the other end to the HDMI OUT port on your soundbar.

  2. Connect a second HDMI cable from the HDMI OUT port on your cable box or video game system to the HDMI IN port on your soundbar.

  3. Turn your device on. Then, turn the soundbar on and press Source or Function to change the soundbar to HDMI.

  4. Turn the TV on and press Source or Function to change the TV to the HDMI port that you connected the soundbar to in Step 1.

  5. You will see a picture from the device on your TV, and hear audio from the soundbar. It should be working now, but let's take it a step further and make this setup the best it can be.

    • Turn on Anynet + on your soundbar (this is done by pressing right on the soundbar remote navigation button). This will cause the soundbar to turn on automatically when you turn on your cable box or video game system.

      Note: Some soundbars have a button labeled Anynet+ on the remote. If neither of these methods work, check out the user manual for your Samsung soundbar.

    • Turn on Anynet + (HDMI-CEC) on your TV. If you have a Samsung TV, it should be on by default, but to check, navigate to Settings > General > External Device Manager > Anynet + (HDMI-CEC). This will make the TV turn itself on when the device and soundbar are turned on. Check out the user manual for your TV if these menus don't match, or if you don't have a Samsung TV.

    • The last two steps to make this work involve enabling HDMI-CEC settings on your device (cable box, blu-ray player, or video game system) and setting up universal control on your TV. To set up the HDMI-CEC settings on your device you will need to check out the user manual for your device. For universal control check out, our guide.

  6. Note: If your external device is 4K-compatible, you need to make sure the soundbar supports pass-thru. Samsung 2017 650 series or above all support 4k pass-thru, so you should be good to go.

Connect your soundbar with HDMI ARC

HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) is the neatest TV feature you've probably never heard of. ARC lets certain TVs and soundbars transfer audio back and forth using one HDMI cable. In other words, you can use the HDMI port as both an input and audio output. The only downside is that your soundbar is going to take up a port on your TV that would normally connect an external device.

To set up HDMI ARC, power on your TV and soundbar. 

HDMI ARC port

Next, connect one end of an HDMI cable into the HDMI IN (ARC) port on your TV. Connect the other end into the HDMI OUT (TV-ARC) port on your soundbar. Next, change the source on your soundbar to the D.IN. setting. After a few seconds, "TV ARC" will appear on the soundbar's display, and the TV will transfer audio through the soundbar.

A great way to connect your soundbar (Optical cable)

An optical cable (Tos-Link) is also another way to connect your soundbar to your TV. This type of cable is similar to an HDMI cable and transmits digital sound, so you can hear every detail. You can also connect your devices (cable boxes, video game systems, and Blu-ray players) to the TV, and have the sound output from the TV to the soundbar.

If you've decided to go with an optical cable, connecting it only takes a few seconds.

With the TV and soundbar turned on, connect one end of a digital optical cable to the OPTICAL OUT port on the TV. Then, connect the other end to the DIGITAL AUDIO IN (OPTICAL) port on the soundbar. Press Source on the remote or soundbar, and then set the soundbar to the D.IN. setting. Finally, on the TV you need to set the speaker output to external speakers.

Navigate to Settings, then press up on the navigation arrows to highlight quick settings. Navigate to the right to highlight TV Speaker and press select to change it to Optical (external speakers). The TV's sound will now play from the soundbar.

Note: If these steps don't work on your TV, or you do not have a Samsung TV, check out the user manual.

A good way to connect your soundbar (Aux cable or Bluetooth)

Connect your soundbar with an aux cable

If you want to kick it old-school, you can use an auxiliary cable to connect the soundbar to your TV or external devices. You'll still enjoy first-rate sound quality from your soundbar; however, aux cables use an analog connection, so the sound won't be as good as if you were using an HDMI or optical cable.

Power on your TV and soundbar. Connect one end of the audio cable to the AUX IN jack on the bottom of the soundbar. Then, connect the other end of the audio cable to the AUDIO OUT jack on the external device.

To change the mode, press the Source button on the soundbar or on the remote. Set the soundbar to AUX mode. Now sound from the TV will be played through your soundbar.

AUX Cable


Connect your soundbar with Bluetooth

It doesn't have the same sound quality as HDMI, but everyone loves the convenience of Bluetooth since you don't have to worry about any cables. The main challenge with Bluetooth is that connections can disconnect or become unstable if there's some kind of disruption, like a power outage. Bluetooth is still a nice and easy option to have, though.

If you want to connect your soundbar via Bluetooth, first switch the soundbar to pairing mode by pressing the Pair button on the soundbar's remote control.

If you don't have the soundbar remote, don't worry. Just press the source button until the display says "BT." After a few seconds, the display will change to "BT Ready." When this happens, press and hold the source button until the display says "BT Pairing."

Connecting a soundbar with Bluetooth

Once the soundbar is in pairing mode, use your TV remote to navigate to Sources, and then select Connection Guide. Select the device type you would like to pair, and follow the on-screen instructions to connect it via Bluetooth.

You can also navigate to Settings, and select Sound. Next, select Sound Output, and then select Bluetooth Speaker List or Bluetooth Audio Device, depending on your TV model. Finally, select your soundbar. Now sound from the TV will be played through your soundbar.

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