One other day, one other irritating try to attach headphones to a smart TV.
As a TV reviewer, a variety of screens come my method, and the most important ache of the testing course of is little doubt getting my numerous gear – video games consoles, streaming devices, audio equipment, and streaming service accounts – all arrange and good to go. And I can’t assist however surprise why connecting wireless headphones, specifically, is normally a lot of a trouble.
Whereas some good TVs today nonetheless include cabled headphone outputs, it’s an more and more uncommon sight – and rightly so, given the rise of wi-fi audio and the truth that wired headphones not often include a cable lengthy sufficient to look at TV comfortably on the similar time.
There are many wi-fi headphones to select from, together with devoted headphones for TV watching that may carry 5.1 (and even 7.1) channel audio in addition to energetic noise cancellation to maintain out the sound of your loved ones, pals and residential. However it’s completely potential to attach bog-standard wireless earbuds or over-ear cans and luxuriate in some solo audio time.
It’s potential, that’s, however not all the time intuitive. I’ve had loads of points simply looking for the proper settings – which are typically hidden distant from the Audio settings you’d assume they’d be housed in. Anker projectors just like the Nebula Photo voltaic Moveable (which options Android TV) maintain the connection choices underneath Remotes & Equipment, quite than Audio – whereas new Panasonic OLED TVs with HomeMyScreen maintain them underneath a Setup submenu (Setup > Bluetooth Setup > Bluetooth Audio) quite than Sound.
When you’re acquainted with this quirk of connection settings, it’s not too onerous to determine what to do – although even then the expertise isn’t all the time seamless.
TV reviewer and calibration specialist Vincent Teoh, from HDTVTest, says that “I do not assume it is a precedence for TV producers,” and that “if it is not a precedence, TV producers typically will not allocate assets to implement it.”
That considerably echoes the official response from Anker, which tells us that “Bluetooth isn’t a necessary characteristic,” with solely “round 1 / 4” of their clients tending to make use of it with their projector vary.
When connecting to Panasonic TVs, it’s vital to set the sound to ‘Bluetooth Solely’ to make sure the TV distant is controlling the headphones themselves. However we discovered that the contact controls on our high-end, over-ear Sony WH-1000XM4 cans merely wouldn’t work after they have been linked to the Panasonic JZ2000, which felt like an odd capability to lose in that context.
And it’s clear that the dearth of curiosity in Bluetooth connectivity in TVs – partially from producers, and partially from customers, most of whom don’t use the characteristic often if in any respect – is inflicting occasional blind spots like these, the place compatibility with headphones solely goes thus far. Generally, as with the LG E9 OLED we reviewed again in 2019, the Bluetooth connectivity merely gained’t work in any respect.
To Panasonic’s credit score, it did embody a brand new twin Bluetooth characteristic in its 2021 TV vary, permitting you to have separate quantity settings for 2 linked headphones – and twin connection is now the norm on the new Apple TV 4K for the Apple AirPods too.
However there’s clearly a protracted option to go earlier than Bluetooth implementation in good TVs is as seamless and simply accessible as it’s to modify between image presets on the press of a button.
For many who wish to watch TV and movies with their headphones, there are avenues obtainable to take action – simply don’t count on it to be as easy accurately for an excellent whereas but.