How to Watch TV with Wireless Headphones
Don’t give up on TV time just because someone’s napping on the sofa (or you simply can’t agree on what to watch). You don’t have to retreat to the bedroom to watch, either. A nice pair of headphones lets you enjoy watching TV at a volume you enjoy while everyone else enjoys their peace and quiet.
If you already own Bluetooth headphones, you might be all set for wireless TV viewing. Many of today’s TVs and streaming media players have Bluetooth support built-in, and it’s a simple matter of pairing. If your TV or streaming media has Bluetooth built-in, it will connect to one pair of headphones at a time.
If your TV or streaming media player doesn’t have Bluetooth built-in, there are inexpensive Bluetooth transmitters that can get you connected. These transmitters can also let you connect two pairs of headphones simultaneously. And if one person likes (or needs) to listen at a higher volume than the rest of the family, Bluetooth transmitters can let you listen to your soundbar and a pair of headphones at the same time.
If you’re finding that your Bluetooth connection is unstable, there are dedicated wireless headphones that use proprietary wireless technology for a better connection. These headphones also tend to get much better range, so you can continue listening if you have to pop into the kitchen to grab a snack.
Option1: Use your TV’s built-in Bluetooth
Most TVs sold within the last several years support pairing with Bluetooth headphones, offering an easy solution for wireless listening. You’ll need to go into your TV settings to pair your headphones to your TV to listen.
Check out our story on How to Connect a Bluetooth Speaker or Headphones to Your TV for details on specific TV brands and models.
Option 2: Use your streaming media player’s built-in Bluetooth
If your TV doesn’t support Bluetooth, your stand-alone streaming media player might. All current Amazon Fire TV and Google TV streaming media players enable you to pair your Bluetooth headphones with them for private listening. Roku has only built Bluetooth into its Ultra series, Streambars, and Plus Series TV. But you can use the Roku app to listen with Bluetooth headphones. I’ve used headphones on all these platforms and haven’t experienced lip-sync issues due to audio delay. Check out our stories:
Option 3: Use a Bluetooth adapter for your TV
If your TV and streaming media player don’t come with built-in Bluetooth, it’s easy to add Bluetooth with a simple adapter. The adapter plugs into your TV’s audio out, whether it’s a 3.5mm headphone jack, old-school RCA jacks, or an optical out. Pair your Bluetooth headphones with the adapter, and you’re ready to listen.
My favorite Bluetooth adapter is the feature-rich Avantree Oasis Plus. It supports aptX Low Latency to prevent lip-sync issues and it has an extended range, able to transmit audio up to 164 feet – a range that is more than triple most Bluetooth transmitters.
The Oasis Plus is designed to work with a soundbar, with a bypass feature so audio will automatically play on the soundbar if no Bluetooth headphones are in use. You can also use the soundbar and a pair of Bluetooth headphones at the same time if there’s someone with hearing loss who needs an extra volume boost. Or, you can transmit audio to two pairs of Bluetooth headphones simultaneously – perfect for when parents want to watch a movie and the kids are sleeping.
Once you’re connected, I like the convenience of having multiple options for controlling audio. You can use your headphones, the TV remote, or the buttons on the Oasis Plus box.
Option 4: Dedicated wireless headphones offer a better connection than Bluetooth
When it comes to wireless TV audio, Bluetooth solutions sometimes face interference issues. That’s where dedicated wireless headphones, like the Sennheiser RS 195, excel. These headphones use proprietary wireless technology to deliver latency-free, rich audio over long distances – up to 330 feet versus the 30 feet of Bluetooth. If your primary listening mode is through headphones, investing in a dedicated pair like the RS 195 is a wise choice.
The Sennheiser RS 195 stands out for its unparalleled sound quality for TV viewing. These over-ear, closed-back headphones are designed to minimize background noise, allowing you to fully immerse in your favorite shows and music. There are modes tailored for speech and music, and if you have mild to moderate hearing loss, you can create custom sound profiles.
Setup is straightforward: plug the transmitter into your TV’s standard 3.5mm headphone jack or optical digital audio output, turn on your headphones, and you’re ready to go. For homes with multiple users, the RS 195 can connect to a second pair of compatible Sennheiser headphones.
Other professional reviewers and users agree with my assessment – the Sennheiser RS 195 is the top choice for dedicated TV headphones. High ratings on Amazon, Crutchfield, and Best Buy testify to their long-term quality.
Headphones can significantly enhance your TV experience, offering high-quality sound while keeping the peace at home. No matter your choice – Bluetooth headphones with your TV, a streaming media player, a Bluetooth adapter, or dedicated wireless headphones like the Sennheiser RS 195 – there’s a solution for your TV listening needs.
[image credit: watching TV with headphones via BigStockPhoto, Avantree, Sennheiser]