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How to Control a Soundbar With a TV Remote + Instructions for 8 TV Brands

If you recently got a soundbar, or you’re simply wanting to streamline your current soundbar/TV connection, controlling both your TV and soundbar with one remote is ideal. Luckily, there is a way to avoid fiddling with multiple remotes and simplify your whole entertainment system.

How to control a soundbar with a TV remote:

  1. Find the optical or HDMI ARC connection on both the soundbar and TV
  2. Connect an optical or HDMI cable to each
  3. Turn the TV and soundbar on
  4. Test and Troubleshoot Any Connection Issues
  5. Adjust and Optimize Your Sound

Click or tap here to jump straight to the instructions for each brand.

While each TV brand’s method of connecting to and controlling your soundbar is slightly different, it’s fairly straightforward to connect the two, and we will mention specific instructions for the most popular brands. Here’s a breakdown of what you need to do to control a soundbar with your TV remote.

Key Takeaways

  • Soundbar-TV Remote Control: Controlling your soundbar with a TV remote is possible through HDMI ARC or optical connections.
  • Key Steps for Connection: Connect using HDMI ARC or an optical cable; adjust TV and soundbar settings for optimal audio control.
  • TV Brand Compatibility: Works with commonly used brands including Samsung, LG, VIZIO, Sony, Hitachi, Panasonic, TCL, and Hisense.
  • Troubleshooting Tips: If issues arise, remember to check sound or audio settings on the TV and ensure correct input selection on the soundbar; consult specific TV brand instructions for detailed guidance.

Find the Optical or HDMI ARC Connection on both the Soundbar and TV

HDMI and Optical Cables

Check out your TV and soundbar to see the type of inputs you have available. Many soundbars and TVs have HDMI ARC available, and that is the best way to make a connection. However, if your TV doesn’t have it, a digital optical cable is a good alternative.

If your TV and soundbar have both options, you may be wondering which one you should be using. If so, there’s some more discussion about that in another one of our articles. Once you’ve decided which one to use, keep working through the directions below.

If you are planning to use an HDMI cable, locate the HDMI OUT or HDMI OUT(ARC) port on your soundbar, as well as the HDMI IN(ARC) port on your TV.

For connecting via Digital Fiber Optical Cable (referred to as’ optical cable’ in the rest of the article), identify the DIGITAL AUDIO(OUT) or DIGITAL OPTICAL OUT port on the back of your TV. On the soundbar, find the DIGITAL AUDIO IN(OPTICAL) or OPTICAL IN port.

Connect an HDMI or Optical Cable to Each Device

Connect Soundbar to TV via HDMI and Optical

Whether you are using an optical or HDMI ARC connection, you should have been provided the correct cable with your soundbar from the soundbar manufacturer. Plug in the cable to your soundbar and your TV.

And if you’re wondering if you have to have an HDMI Arc cable (as opposed to any old HDMI cable you have lying around like directional cables) the answer is yes! Luckily any HDMI cable with the 2.0 standard or newer will work. Some HDMI cables, like the AmazonBasics Premium HDMI Cable, specifically mention ARC capability in their listings.

When using an optical cable, make sure you remove the plastic caps and firmly insert each end into the TV and soundbar until they click. And if you either don’t have an optical cable or, if the fiber optics in yours have been damaged, a replacement cable like the iVANKY Optical Cable Digital Audio Cable for Home Theater (on Amazon) can be had for a pretty reasonable price.

Turn the TV and Soundbar On

Now that you’ve made the connection from your soundbar to TV via an HDMI ARC or optical connection, turn on both devices using their individual remotes or the buttons on the devices.

Adjust and Optimize Your Sound Using Remote Control

Can You Use a Soundbar and TV Speakers At the Same Time

After connections have been made and settings have been adjusted, you may need to adjust the soundbar’s volume to optimize the sound now that it is controlled through the TV.

First, use the soundbar remote to turn its volume down completely. Then, experiment with different volume levels on both the soundbar and TV to achieve the best sound.

You want to find a range that allows you to use the TV remote to control the volume most of the time, and this usually means setting the soundbar at somewhere between 50-80% of its maximum volume output.

And if you want to expand your sound system, check out our other resources on 6 ways you can make your soundbar sound better and adding surround sound to a soundbar.

Test and Troubleshoot Any Connection Issues

Home Theater Remote Control

When Using HDMI ARC:

Using an HDMI ARC connection, you can control your soundbar with your TV’s remote, and you should hear the TV’s sound through the soundbar right after connecting the cable. If the TV sound is not coming through the soundbar, follow these steps:

  • Go to your TV’s sound or audio settings.
  • Turn off your TV speaker. Look for an option like ‘TV speaker’ or ‘speaker list’.
  • In the same menu, find an option for “HDMI Arc” or similar.
  • Select this option to direct your TV’s audio to the soundbar.

When Using Optical:

When using an optical cable, one of the important things to know is that there’s a small chance that the Television will know to use the soundbar automatically, so you might have to go find the Television speaker selection menu and change it as described above.

Now, using your soundbar’s remote (or on the soundbar itself), find the ‘Source’ or ‘Input’ button. Look at the display on your soundbar to adjust the input to ‘OPTICAL’ or an abbreviated version – i.e. ‘OPT’.

Controlling a Soundbar With a TV Remote – Instructions by TV Brand

While the instructions above are a general way to go about connecting and controlling your soundbar with your TV, many TV manufacturers (and computer makers – our guide) have slightly different ways of going about it. Based on your TV manufacturer, find your listed brand and follow the instructions below.

Samsung

You can connect your Samsung TV to your soundbar either through a digital optical connection or an HDMI ARC connection. With both methods, use the respective cables to connect the TV and soundbar, and change your soundbar’s source to ‘D.IN’.

With a digital optical connection to the soundbar from your Samsung TV, hold the left direction on the Samsung TV remote’s direction pad to activate or deactivate Auto Power Link, which could only work with an optical connection. Be sure to also change the TV’s audio output settings, so the soundbar will be controlled by your TV remote.

With an HDMI ARC connection, your soundbar’s source will automatically change to TV ARC, then you can use the TV remote’s right direction on the direction pad to activate/deactivate Anynet+, which only works with an HDMI ARC connection. And if you ever experience issues with your Samusng TV remote, we have a guide on that as well.

For more information, visit Samsung support.

LG

When it comes to LG TVs, there are a few different ways of connecting to soundbars, and LG TVs come with the LG Magic Remote. You can connect your soundbar to your LG TV through Sound Sync via Bluetooth, a digital optical audio connection, or an HDMI ARC connection.

To use the Bluetooth wireless connection, you’ll want to go to TV settings > Sound > Sound Out, then click LG Sound Sync (Wireless). The Device Selection button will appear and search for your soundbar. Make sure your soundbar’s Bluetooth is turned on, then pair the two devices. If you want some more instruction on this, we have a special guide put together just for figuring out a Bluetooth to Soundbar connection that will enhance your Home theater system.

The digital optical and HDMI ARC connections are made just like the instructions above. You’ll use the Sound > Sound Out area to change the output to HDMI or optical.

For more information, visit LG support.

VIZIO

VIZIO TVs are connected to soundbars in the same way as the instructions above, through an optical or HDMI connection. For an optical connection on the VIZIO TV, the port may be called ‘S/PDIF’, and for an HDMI ARC connection, use ‘HDMI 1’, which is the ARC port.

When connecting through ARC, your TV may automatically recognize your connection after inserting the cable. Otherwise, use the menu on your VIZIO remote and go to System > CEC, then change the setting to ‘Disabled’, ‘Enabled’, or ‘ARC only’, based on your needs.

Find more information from VIZIO support here.

Sony

Sony TVs can be connected to a soundbar through the HDMI ARC connection, an optical digital audio cable only, or with both. All of the setups are the same as the instructions listed above. When switching the audio output setting, you’ll select ‘Audio System’ for all setups.

However, Sony support notes that when using an optical cable, functions that require an HDMI connection like power interlock and volume can’t be controlled with the TV remote.

Check out the Sony support webpage for more information, including helpful setup information, based on each Sony TV model.

Hitachi

Hitachi is known for its low-priced smart TVs, which often come with Roku TV built-in. Connecting your soundbar to a Hitachi Roku TV is the same as if you use your Roku remote (no matter your TV brand) to control all of your TV and media. This also stands for using a Direct TV remote, as well as a Fire TV remote.

When using HDMI ARC to connect to your Hitachi Roku TV remote, you’ll want to head to TV settings > Audio > Audio Preferences. Then, set the ‘Audio Mode‘ to ‘Auto (DTS)‘ to connect to your soundbar automatically. Also, select ‘Auto-detect’ in the S/PDIF and ARC settings.

After doing this, go back to ‘System‘ on the main settings menu, then go to ‘CEC‘. Click the checkboxes for ARC (HDMI) to give your Roku remote the ability to control your soundbar.

For more information, check out Hitachi support here.

Panasonic

Panasonic TVs can also connect to your soundbar for controls through the HDMI or digital optical connection. When using the HDMI connection, you’ll find the ‘HDMI2 (ARC)’ input on your Panasonic TV. Luckily, when you connect via HDMI, Panasonic has an app that allows you to easily switch between your TV’s speakers and soundbar for audio.

When using an optical connection, the setup is the same as the instructions above. After your optical cable is connected to both your soundbar and TV, you will go to the TV settings, turn off the TV speaker, and change the source to ‘Optical’.

If you have any trouble, check out Panasonic’s support page here.

TCL

Most TCL TVs come with HDMI ARC, so this should be your preferred connection for connecting and controlling your soundbar with a TCL TV remote. Make sure to use a high-speed HDMI cable that supports ARC and CEC control.

After connecting via HDMI ARC, use your remote to navigate to: Home > Settings > System > Control other devices (CEC) > HDMI ARC. Select the button to enable ‘HDMI ARC’. In addition, you’ll need to disable ‘System audio’ by unchecking the box by this feature.

Get more information from TCL support.

Hisense

Hisense TVs can also control your soundbar through the HDMI ARC connection. After connecting the two with an HDMI-certified High-Speed 2.0 cable go to your TV Settings > Sound > Speakers > ARC. This turns off your TV speaker and enables HDMI ARC.

For the best audio possible, you can also change the ‘Digital Audio Out’. Go to Settings > Sound > Advanced Settings > Digital Audio Out > Dolby Digital Plus, and then connect using an optical cable.