Soundbars are popular electronic devices as part of most people’s home entertainment systems. And if you don’t know much about them you might wonder how they are powered and whether there are portable options.
Do they have a built-in battery? Or do you have to plug them into a power outlet for them to operate?
Soundbars need to be plugged into a power source since the power supplied by the connecting devices, such as TVs and computers, via the USB port (usually between 2.5 Watts and 4.5 Watts) is not enough to power them. The only exception is portable soundbars which come with built-in rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries.
Once a soundbar is connected to a power source you do not have to run cables to the connecting device as long as both devices have wireless capability. The most common method of establishing a wireless connection between a soundbar and other devices, such as TVs, gaming consoles, and PCs, is via Bluetooth or WiFi.
Where To Plug In Your Soundbar
Like with most electronics the number and type of ports available for connecting to your TV will vary. Most modern soundbars will have an HDMI input port, however, other ports that might be available include digital optical ports and coaxial ports. To use any of these ports the connecting device should have a similar output port.
To connect your soundbar you need to plug it into the HDMI (ARC or eARC), coaxial, or digital optical cable output port on your TV, PC, or gaming console. However, connecting via the HDMI port is the best and most common way of connecting your soundbar as it offers the best sound quality.
In fact, using the HDMI port is the only way to enjoy features such as Dolby Atmos surround sound if your sound bar supports it. This is because the digital audio signal transferred via the HDMI port remains raw and uncompressed.
The following video explains the various ports you can plug your soundbar into:
Connecting Your Soundbar to a TV wirelessly
You can connect a soundbar to a TV wirelessly via BlueTooth or WiFi, provided that both devices are compatible with each other. However, connecting via Bluetooth is more common than Wi-Fi because it is simpler to set up and more devices support it.
To connect your soundbar to your TV via Wi-Fi, you need to connect both devices to your Wi-Fi network and then use an app or browser to configure the two to talk to each other. The main issue with this method is compatibility, for example, you may find that Samsung TVs are only able to wirelessly connect to Samsung soundbars.
To connect your TV and soundbar via Bluetooth, you need to enable Bluetooth on both devices and then pair the two under your TV’s Bluetooth settings. You then need to locate the name of your soundbar device and find the option to pair and connect the two. You should get a confirmation pop-up message on your TV screen letting you know that the two devices have been connected successfully.
It is important to keep in mind that, compared to wired connections, wireless connections are usually susceptible to lags and occasional disconnections.
Leaving Your Soundbar Plugged in All the Time (Is It Okay?)
If you are like most people, the hassle of having to turn your soundbar on and off each time you want to use it can be a major pain. So, should you leave your soundbar plugged in all the time?
You should not leave your soundbar plugged in all the time because its internal components and circuitry could get damaged due to prolonged exposure to heat or an expected power surge. It is also an unnecessary use of power and could pose a fire hazard.
However, the chances of your soundbar catching fire are minimal because most reputable manufacturers often have some safety measures built into their devices to prevent this.
Do Soundbars Turn Off Automatically When Not In Use?
Not all soundbars turn off automatically, only those with an auto standby feature. This feature allows the soundbar to turn off automatically after a set period of time or when no audio input signal is received from the connecting device.
In most soundbars, this feature can be activated and deactivated by the user using a remote control to cut down power consumption when the device is not in use. Soundbar manufacturers such as Sonos, Sony, Samsung, and LG are among those that offer the auto standby feature.
How Soundbars Are Powered
With the exception of portable soundbars, all other high-performance soundbars do not run on batteries. Regular soundbars need a lot more power than ordinary batteries can provide in order to produce loud high-quality sound for long hours.
Portable soundbars run on rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries that last 4-6 hours depending on the size of the battery and usage.
While portable soundbars are convenient to take to picnics, hikes, or other outdoor activities, their power limitation means they are unable to provide the same quality of sound as well as the extra features offered by standard soundbars.
How Much Electricity Soundbars Consume
Soundbars do not use a lot of electricity, their power consumption ranges between 20 and 50 watts. The power consumed by a soundbar depends on the number of external devices connected, its internal design, extra features, as well as how it is set up.
Soundbars with more features and more devices attached to them, such as speakers and subwoofers, will generally consume more power than those with fewer features or devices connected to them.
Soundbars And Wireless Capability
Most modern soundbars come with built-in wireless capability using either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi technology, or both. However, Bluetooth remains the most common method because it is easy to set up and is compatible with a wide range of devices such as TVs, phones, and computers from various manufacturers.
If you need to set up a wireless connection via Wi-Fi, you need to create a LAN (Local Area Network) as well as ensure that both the soundbar and connecting device are compatible and have Wi-Fi capability in order for them to communicate with each other.
Soundbars have to be plugged in because they have a high power consumption which most connecting devices cannot supply. The only exception is portable soundbars which have built-in rechargeable Lithium-ion batteries, however, they are not considered true soundbars.
In general, good quality soundbars do need to be connected using a power cord to an AC power supply on the wall, but smaller portable speakers are able to run on batteries at the cost of lower sound quality and lesser features.
If you are searching for a way to reduce the clutter of cables and cords in your home entertainment system then connecting a soundbar wirelessly via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi is the way to go!