Skip to Content

Why Can’t I Plug In My Digital Optical Cable?

There are many ways to connect soundbars to TVs. One of the most common methods is by using a digital optical cable. However, often people complain about not being able to plug the cable into the port. So, what could be the reason for such a seemingly easy task so complex?

Always be sure to remove the plastic covers that appear on each end of a new digital optical cable. If that’s not the issue, make sure you’re using the correct ports on all devices. Broken cable tips can also prevent the cable ends from being inserted properly.

Beyond those possible issues, there are various other reasons it might be difficult to play sound from the audio device even after a secure connection. Let’s take a look at some of these issues and the step-by-step process of using a digital optical cable for connecting a soundbar to your TV.

Why Won’t the Digital Optical Cable Plug Into My TV/Soundbar?

Optical audio cable

In most cases, this happens when individuals neglect to take off the plastic cover from the tip of the digital optical cable. This protective cover helps keep the ends secure when it’s not in use.

You must take off this cover before installing the cable to the back of the TV and the soundbar.

But if the digital optical cable ends are already bare, the cable’s tip might be damaged.

Why Isn’t My Digital Optical Cable Working?

If you’re stuck with no sound even after connecting your soundbar to the TV using a digital optical cable, these are some possible reasons:

Broken Cable

These cables are sensitive. If you apply too much pressure during the installation process, it can easily mess up the connection. Oftentimes, cables might also be damaged underneath the protective coating, which could prevent them from working properly.

If you need to bend the cable in any way, you should be very cautious. These cables break easily when bent. If you need a new cable, consider the Amazon Basics 6-Foot Digital Optical Cable (on Amazon).

Unstable Connection

Optical cables plug into their designated ports on the TV as well as the soundbar. Therefore, you must insert the ends correctly without applying too much pressure when connecting.

As explained, these cables are susceptible, especially when compared to coaxial or HDMI cables. Hence, applying too much pressure can damage the connector. That said, you must use the right port to establish the connection.

Forcefully trying to plug a cable into the wrong port can damage the cable’s tip. In addition, these cables require a little extra push to snap them into place properly. If this is not done correctly, they won’t connect.

Also, make sure to connect the Digital OUT or Optical OUT port of the TV to the Digital or Optical IN port of the soundbar.

If securely plugged in, you will see the red light from each of the connectors. No light means either the cable is broken or not properly inserted.

Incorrect Settings on Connected Devices

Even with a perfectly installed digital optical cable, an incorrect setting can end up causing issues.

For this reason, you must verify if the audio source on the receiver is set to ‘optical in’ or ‘OPT,’ depending on your device’s make. Some soundbars also read ‘digital in.’

Other Reasons

Apart from the reasons we’ve already described, there are a few other causes that result in no sound through a digital optical cable:

  • TV speakers are set as the default audio source
  • The volume for the digital audio out is turned too low on your TV
  • You haven’t updated your TV firmware to its latest version
  • Your TV isn’t compatible with the soundbar, or any other audio system connected using the digital optical cable

How Do I Get the Digital Optical Cable to Work?

Optical cable for audio signal transmission

Although the process is relatively easy and quick, you should be very careful when completing the setup using a digital optical cable. Follow the step-by-step instructions to get your digital optical cable to work properly.

Step 1: Prepare the Digital Cable

Make sure you’ve got the right cable. This is usually included with the soundbar you purchased. Carefully examine the wire for no breakage and take off the plastic cover installed on each cable end.

Step 2: Locate the Ports on the TV and Soundbar

Find the ‘Optical OUT’ or ‘Digital OUT’ on the back of your TV. Sometimes, TVs have ‘Digital IN’ ports. Make sure to choose the right connector without confusing OUT and IN ports.

Alternatively, locate the Optical or Digital IN port on your Soundbar.

Step 3: Connect the Digital Optical Cable

Plug one end of the digital optical cable into the TV’s optical output port and the other end into the soundbar’s optical input port. When connecting, apply a little force to ensure that the ends snap securely into the ports. Avoid using too much force, though.

Step 4: Turn On the Devices

After installing the cable on your TV and the soundbar, turn on these units by connecting the power cords.

Step 5: Prepare the Devices’ Settings

Go to the TV’s settings menu and check the audio or sound option. Under the sound settings, turn off the TV’s speakers and choose the optical output instead. Check the manual if you find it difficult to locate these settings on your TV.

Likewise, use the source or input button on the soundbar’s remote to select ‘OPTICAL’ or ‘OPT.’ Alternatively, you can also use the button on the soundbar to choose this input.

Step 6: Ready to Go

If you followed the steps correctly, you should be able to hear sound coming from your soundbar.

In some cases, if the TV supports the feature, you will be able to use the TV’s remote to access the volume on your soundbar. This way, you do not have to switch between remotes when watching TV. To find out your TV supports this feature or not, consult the TV’s manual.

Why Does the Digital Optical Cable Only Work Sometimes?

Sometimes, the settings on the soundbar or TV are misconfigured, or there’s a faulty cable that interferes with the connection between your soundbar and the TV.

Make sure to verify if optical out is selected as the default sound option on the TV. In addition, ensure that the soundbar input reads optical. Otherwise, try using a different cable to rule out the probability of a faulty cable.