While a home cinema can produce true surround sound for your TV, a soundbar can create an improved surround sound experience without the need for separate speakers and nasty wires.
If you have decided to get your own soundbar to improve the sound of your TCL TV, one of the easiest ways to connect the two devices is by using an HDMI interface.
Most TCL TV models come with Audio Return Channel (ARC) which is an HDMI feature. What ARC does is allows the TCL TV and your CEC-compatible device such as a soundbar to send video and audio back and forth. With HDMI ARC, you don’t have to use a lot of cables to enjoy the excellent sound from the soundbar.
What is HDMI ARC?
A regular HDMI cable carries audio from a surround sound system into a TV. With ARC, it can do the reverse, which is to send audio from a TV to a soundbar or any external speaker without needing a separate audio cable.
ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and it was first introduced in 2009, about the time when the HDMI 1.4 standard was introduced. HDMI ARC is now a common standard and you can find it in most TV models, receivers, and soundbars. This feature allows for two-way communication with just a single HDMI connection. If you aren’t sure if your TCL TV or soundbar has this, check first the specifications of your devices.
Once you are sure that your TCL TV and soundbar have the HDMI ARC feature, you can now start connecting them. The process isn’t rocket science but it’s important that you do the steps correctly.
Steps to Connect a Soundbar to your TCL TV
Connect the Soundbar to Your TV Using HDMI ARC
The first step to using your soundbar with a TCL TV is to connect both devices using HDMI. When you do this, you need to ensure that you have the right cables and connections.
You will need a high-speed HDMI cable that supports HDMI ARC as well as CEC control. If you already have this handy, check the HDMI ARC port at the back of your TV. Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the port at the back of the TV and the other end to your soundbar. That’s it! Both devices are now connected.
Make Your Soundbar Discoverable
After connecting your soundbar, turn its switch on and follow these steps so that your TCL TV will recognize the device:
1. Press the Home button on your remote and wait until you see the main screen.
2. Scroll up or down until you find Settings in the options.
3. Press the OK button then scroll down and choose System.
4. Press OK again then scroll down and select Control other devices (CEC).
5. At this point, you need to press the right arrow (>) button and from there, scroll down and select Search for CEC devices.
6. Press the OK button and let your TCL TV start searching for connected CEC-compatible devices.
7. Once the TV is done searching, you can then see a list of CEC devices that are currently connected to the HDMI input, as well as other devices that were previously connected to it.
In case the list of devices is longer than the allowed space, you can simply press the asterisk (*) button and you should see all the devices in a scrollable window. Make sure to select the name of your soundbar device from the choices available. After selecting the correct device, press the OK button.
It’s important to note that not all soundbars are the same. Depending on the brand name or model of your soundbar, you might need to read the product description to easily identify the device from the list of CEC devices.
Enable HDMI ARC
At this point, you’re almost ready to enjoy the use of a soundbar with your TCL TV. But there’s one important thing you need to remember. The HDMI ARC feature is disabled by default. This means that if it is your first time connecting a soundbar to your TV, you first need to enable the HDMI ARC feature. No worries as this process just requires a few steps:
1. Press the Home button on your remote control to open the main screen.
2. Scroll up or down until you find Settings. Press the OK button.
3. Scroll down again until you see System and press the OK button.
4. Scroll down and choose Control other devices (CEC).
5. You then need to press the right arrow button (>) and scroll down until you find the HDMI ARC from the options. Press OK to enable the HDMI ARC.
When you enable HDMI ARC, it also enables the System audio control. If you don’t want to enable the System audio control, you can disable this feature by unchecking the box such as if you want to control your soundbar independently.
No matter what model of soundbar you have, there is always a way to connect it to your TCL TV using HDMI. You may think that the process of connecting the two devices is quite complex because of the different steps that you need to follow. In reality, the steps take less than 10 minutes to complete!
Once you are done, you will see that your efforts are worth it. You should notice a significant improvement in the quality of sound, giving you a better experience when you are watching your favorite movie. If you want an audio sound experience like they have in cinemas, you may also consider adding a subwoofer.