How to Connect a Bose Soundbar to a TV

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Struggling to hear critical dialogue and subtle audio details from your new thin-bezeled television?

Connecting a Bose soundbar properly not only boosts overall volume, but unlocks immersive, theater-like surround sound to hear everything as intended.

Let’s dive into exactly how to integrate a Bose soundbar’s expanded audio capabilities with your TV setup for a quality upgrade with true depth and clarity.

How to Connect a Bose Soundbar to a TV

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Connecting a Bose soundbar to a TV requires using either the HDMI ARC, optical, or analog AUX ports for physical connectivity, then configuring the correct audio output settings for proper handshaking.

We’ll explore the full process more below. But in short – it involves both cables and menu settings working together on both devices.

Determine Compatibility

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It is important to first check if your specific Bose soundbar model is compatible with the audio output ports and formats of your television. 

The most common ports used to connect soundbars to TVs include an HDMI Arc port, an 

Optical/Toslink port, and Analog/Three point five millimeter auxiliary ports. 

Common audio formats supported across various devices are Dolby Digital, DTS, and PCM Stereo. 

You will need to check the specification details of both your soundbar and TV to confirm compatibility through these connection methods before purchasing any cables. 

If you don’t have the manual, you can usually find this information online with a quick search of the model numbers.

Knowing what ports your devices support will ensure you get the appropriate cables for hookup. 

Additionally, being aware of the audio formats they each support, such as Dolby Digital 

Surround Sound or Stereo PCM, will enable you to configure the sound settings correctly to take full advantage. 

Taking the time upfront to make sure your Bose soundbar will functionally pair with your television will get you set up properly for an enjoyable listening experience.

Connect via HDMI ARC (preferred method)

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Using an HDMI cable to connect from the HDMI Arc port on your Bose soundbar to the HDMI Arc port on your TV is the preferred method to achieve the highest quality audio signal transfer. 

HDMI Arc stands for Audio Return Channel, and this connection method bi-directionally sends audio data packets between the TV and soundbar. 

The single HDMI cable will transmit multichannel surround sound signals from the TV to the soundbar. 

In addition, HDMI-Cec functionality will also allow your soundbar remote to control TV volume and some other operations.

You will need to make sure HDMI-Cec is enabled on both your TV settings menu and your Bose soundbar settings menu for this control functionality. 

The HDMI-Cec settings may also be labeled as Anynet+ or SimpLink depending on the TV manufacturer. 

Enable these settings on both devices after completing the physical HDMI Arc connection from the ports. 

This will then allow the soundbar remote to turn the TV on or off and control volume during use rather than having to use multiple remotes. 

Keep in mind only newer TVs and audio devices have HDMI Arc capability, so refer to specification details if unsure.

Utilizing the dedicated HDMI Arc port connections with an HDMI cable provides uncompressed audio for a high-quality listening experience. 

It also enables advanced control features between your Bose soundbar and TV for convenience. 

Just be certain to activate the HDMI-Cec options on both devices once connected.

Connect via Optical/Toslink 

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If your TV and Bose soundbar do not have HDMI Arc capability, using an Optical/Toslink cable instead allows you to transmit multichannel surround sound. 

Connect the Optical or Toslink port on the TV marked as “Optical Out” to the port marked “Optical In” or “Digital In” on the Bose soundbar. 

This digital input will often be near other input ports like the HDMI or Aux ports. 

Optical cables with a Toslink connector on each end are capable of transmitting 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS audio from the TV to the soundbar.  

Optical cables utilize light signals within small glass fibers to accurately transmit high quality audio without external interference. 

They can handle compressed surround sound signals up to 24-bit/96 kHz quality levels. 

The optical output from TVs is fairly standardized, but you should still verify the Bose soundbar optical input supports Dolby and DTS data streams for proper surround sound decoding. 

Using the optical connection still improves audio quality over the TV speakers.

But it does not support advanced control features like directly adjusting the TV volume from the soundbar remote. 

Still, for surround sound capabilities, a Toslink optical cable is the next best option.

Connect via Analog/3.5mm Auxiliary Cable

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If neither your television or Bose soundbar have HDMI Arc or optical input/output ports, you can still connect using an analog auxiliary cable

Simply use a male-to-male three point five millimeter stereo audio cable, often called an aux cable. 

Connect one end into the headphones port on the TV typically labeled “Audio Out” or “Headphones”.

Connect the other end into the port marked “Aux In” or “Analog In” on your soundbar. 

With this wired method, basic analog stereo audio transmission is supported from the TV to external speakers.  

While optical cables allow passage of digital multichannel signals, aux cables can only transmit two channels of analog information. 

So stereo audio quality will be limited compared to the dedicated surround sound mixing of independent streams.  

But the 3.5mm aux connection still enhances audio over the built-in TV speakers.

And all televisions and soundbars have this basic analog input and output compatibility as a fallback option.  

Just note volume control and other sound adjustments will likely need to be changed manually on each device since no advanced communication capability exists between the aux connections.

Adjust Audio Settings

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After completing the physical connection between your Bose soundbar and television via HDMI Arc, optical, or aux cabling, you need to adjust the audio settings

On your TV, access the audio settings from the main menu, under Audio, Sound, or possibly Display and Sound options. 

Look for an option like “Speakers” and change this to external speakers or audio system.  

This ensures the internal TV speakers are turned off completely, and audio transmitted externally only through your enabled port.

Also check for specific port formats, like “Optical Output” or “HDMI Arc Output” and set accordingly.  

Within your Bose soundbar settings, choose the input mode that matches how you connected to the TV physically, like HDMI, Optical, or Analog Aux.  

This sets the active processing pathway for proper decoding.

You may also need to enable options like Dolby Digital decoding or DTS Neo processing if you want true 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound listening from supported content. 

Get to know all of the Bose soundbar audio settings available using the remote, app, or built-in display to personalize your experience.

Once configured correctly, the Bose should display an active input name to confirm things are working properly between devices.  

Depending on model and manufacturer preferences, you might also need to enable or disable certain Dolby volume leveling processing options within the TV or soundbar menus. 

Dolby processing compresses dynamic range at lower volumes and expands it at higher volumes. 

Try toggling these Dolby options on and off with familiar content to hear the difference and choose what you prefer.  

The proper configuration combines physical connectivity with the right input and decoder settings between television and soundbar for premium quality listening.

Enjoy Enhanced Audio

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Once you complete the correct connections and settings between your Bose soundbar and TV, you are ready to enjoy a vastly improved audio experience. 

Use familiar movies, music, television shows and other content across the various apps and sources on your television to hear the difference soundbar speaker delivery makes. 

The wider soundstage and extra headroom provides a deeper sense of immersion with everything you listen to daily through the television.  

Cycle between the various listening modes on the soundbar like Movie and Music depending on program type to tailor the audio processing style to what you are watching.

Adjust key options like Bass, Treble, Center Level, and Surround Levels using the Bose remote to get the right balance and thump for your personal tastes across room types. 

Consider adding Bose wireless adapter accessories if available for your model to include optional rear speakers for full home theater surround sound.  

The Bose soundbar expands television audio quality more naturally and accurately than the very limited speakers built into slim display panels. 

Make sure to fine tune physical placement and angle configurations by listening from the typical viewing area for optimal audio performance too.  

Enjoy discovering all that newly upgraded Bose sound your TV programs have offered over the years by properly connecting to extract this fuller experience at last.


Upgrading your television audio with a Bose soundbar truly enhances the experience of movies, music, and more by expanding clarity, bass response, soundstage width, and loudness capacity

Following the proper setup process ensures seamless integration for all available surround sound decoding and advanced control features depending on your configuration.

With some models even allowing inclusion of customizable rear channels, you unlock the full home theater experience daily from the Bose and television pairing.

Your entertainment feels brand new again with a sonic presence no slim built-in speakers can ever match.


Dominic is the chief editor of the Burton Acoustix blog which writes about acoustics and soundproofing to help readers with their queries and questions they might have with regard to improving any sound or noise issues that they faced in their life.