Bought A Soundbar, Didn't Know My TV Didn't Have ARC or Optical...?

Alrighty, so long story short, I bought a Sony soundbar for my RCA TV. Turns out, in order to properly connect and use the soundbar, it needed to be ported eithed through an HDMI ARC port, or through an Optical cable.

Well... Turns out my TV doesn't have either.

I did some research, and I found that someone managed to circumvent all of this by using a Audio to Optical cable adapter. So I bought one, and... It still doesn't work.

I'm going to call Sony tomorrow and see what can be done, but until then, I'm hoping one of you guys has been through this, and maybe knows what to do and how to make all of this work. 

Yeah, I should have done more research before purchasing, but it's here now, and before I consider completely returning and refunding my purchase, I'd like to do whatever I can to try and make things work.

Thanks in advance.

8 Answers

  • Lance
    Lv 7
    4 weeks ago

    Some bargain HDTV's have no provisions for outside speakers at all...These are the least expensive sets of the least bargain brands available  and often the picture quality is also Inferior.It's not recommended that you go with super cheap HDTV sets...If it has no audio out jacks at all it may not be possible to connect anything.. Remember there is a difference between an input and an output...they are not the same thing nor are they interchangeable. The problem is not with the connections on the sound bar but with the design of the TV..You should contact the TV manufacture not the soundbar manufacture.

  • 4 weeks ago

    Just do some research about it

  • 4 weeks ago

    Use analog out from the TV.

  • 4 weeks ago

    If your Television does not have digital outputs for sound,(HDMI, OPTICAL, Or  Digital COAXIAL) and the soundbar has no analog inputs, (standard pre-amp inputs) the two items are incompatible. Sorry.  One or the other must go. Attempting to use an expensive Analog to Digital signal processor between the TV analog output and the digital soundbar inputs (if you can even find an outboard ATD for under a thousand dollars from soundstream or someone) wont work because it would introduce a processing delay. Your sound would come seconds late out of the bar, while the tv picture just moved on.

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  • 4 weeks ago

    Something confusing here - the specifications link I found for the  RLDED5098-UHD you mention in your first comment, says it has HDMI ARC and optical out - see "connectivity" about 2/3 down this page:

    When you tried it using HDMI, did you connect the TV to the ** OUT ** socket on the soundbar - that's the one that works with ARC from the TV, not the "IN" socket on the soundbar.

    It's a common cause of confusion, as the labelling is for the video "flow" direction for something feeding video through the soundbar or theatre amp to the TV, but ARC (audio return) works "against the flow".

    Regardless of that, the audio to optical converter should work, if the TV has any low level audio out such as phono/RCA out or 3.5mm headphone out.

    Be aware that electronic signal converter are normally one-way - are you sure you have one that is audio in and optical out, not the other way around (which are much commoner and cheaper)?

    You can test that with the soundbar separately from the TV by connecting it to the headphone socket of a phone or MP3 player.

    If it works then, it should work connected to the TV. If not, the device or soundbar ius not working.

    • Robert J
      Lv 7
      4 weeks agoReport

      The physical HDMI connectors are the same whether they are ARC enabled or not. TVs with only one specific port have it labelled, but newer ones where any port works often omit the labelling.

      An HDMI to optical adapter will only work from a video source, not ARC. 

      Have you tried direct HDMI?

  • 4 weeks ago

    Your problem with using an audio to optical adapter is that it adds delay, but audio to optical should work, the reverse optical to audio would not!

  • 4 weeks ago

    Wait until you have talked to the experts at Sony. 


    I hope they're still at least as good as they were 20 - plus years ago,

    but somehow I doubt they are. 

  • Anonymous
    4 weeks ago

    Well, you didn't provide the model of either your TV or your sound bar, so the best that I can suggest is that you check your TV settings to see if it has an option for external speakers / amplifier instead of the internal speakers. That might be why the optical adapter doesn't work.

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