Published on 28th Nov, 2023 by Cable Chick

Bridging the Gap - Connecting Your Headphones to your TV

Bridging the Gap - Connecting Your Headphones to your TV

We all love the immersive experience of watching a movie from the comfort of our couch while an array of encircling speakers' envelope us within a wall of sound that transports us from our living rooms into the middle of the action taking place on screen. But as great as that is, there are times where this kind of set up isn't ideal. Sometimes, a more private and personal experience is required.
Whether you're an avid late-night viewer, a gaming enthusiast wanting to delve into the intricate details of virtual worlds, or simply someone who values the solitude of silent screenings, connecting headphones to your TV can be a game-changer. However there's one thing you might have noticed in recent years, TV manufacturers have stopped providing headphone sockets! But there’s no reason to throw away your beloved Sennheisers or AKGs, we've compiled a few different options to get you connected once again.

Option 1: Headphone Jack

OK so this one is obvious but we have to get it out of the way. If you're one of the lucky few with a television that still features a 3.5mm stereo headphone socket, you're in luck! You can stop reading and plug those bad boys straight in and enjoy some late night silent TV.

If the cable from your headphones is quite short and you'd rather not experience Top Gun Maverick from 6 inches away from the screen, take a look at our Avencore 3.5mm Stereo Extension Cables available in lengths up to 10 metres. Now you can sit back on the sofa, pop on your cans (cool people language for headphones) and binge watch the new season of Rick & Morty.

But what if your headphone's connection is too large! Some headphones, specifically higher end cans used for recording and serious music listening have 6.5mm connections, like you might see for a musical instruments. But don't despair! All you need is an Avencore 6.5mm (Female) to 3.5mm (Male) Stereo Audio Adapter to convert it down to suit your TV's headphone socket.

Option 2: 2RCA Audio Out

The second option is to check the back of your TV to see if you have a 2RCA Audio Output available. These will be a pair of RCA plugs, one red and one white. It's possible you might see a few of these red & white connections however you'll need to make sure they are labelled as 'outputs' as usually, these connections will be 'inputs' used for connecting devices such as DVD players and gaming consoles.

If you're one of the lucky ones to find 2RCA audio outputs, all you will need is an adapter such as our Avencore 2RCA Male to 3.5mm Stereo Female Adapter Cable to convert this to a standard 3.5mm headphone socket to connect your headphones into. As previously mentioned if you need to extend the length of your headphone cable, you can find our Headphone Extension Cables here. or if you need to adapt the size of your headphone plug you can find our 6.5mm Headphone Adapter here.

Option 3: Bluetooth

If you have a TV that was purchased in the last 10 years, it may have a feature you weren't aware of, built in Bluetooth! This means that if you have a set of wireless Bluetooth headphones that you use with your phone or tablet, you can also use them with your television.

To check this you will need to access your TV's setting menu and look for an option labelled 'Bluetooth' usually under an 'accessories' or 'connectivity' menu. Make sure your headphones are in 'pairing mode' and then search for available devices on your TV. With any luck you'll see your headphones pop up on screen which you can then connect to for wireless audio, no cables required!

Option 4: Bluetooth Transmitter

What if your headphones have Bluetooth but your TV does not? Well luckily there's a way to add Bluetooth functionality to your non Bluetooth TV! All you will need is a Bluetooth Audio Transmitter which plugs into your TV's headphone socket and is usually powered via USB (any spare USB port on your TV will work fine). Then you'll simply need to put both your headphones and the receiver in 'pairing mode' and allow them to find each other and connect and then you're all set!

With that said, we started off this article speaking of 'the case of the missing headphone socket' so if you're in this boat, but have a 2RCA Audio output, you can use one of our Avencore 2RCA Male to 3.5mm Female Adapter Cables to make this connection. If you have neither 3.5mm nor 2RCA, you'll need to combine a Bluetooth Audio Transmitter with the connection option below, a Digital to Analog Audio Converter.

Option 5: Digital to Analog Audio Converter

If all the previous options we've mentioned aren't suitable, we've got the perfect solution, our Avencore Digital to Analog Audio Converter. This is one of our most popular products specifically for people wanting to regain a headphone connection on their television. Either on the side or the rear of your TV you should find either a 'Digital Optical' or a 'SPDIF' connection.

Digital optical is the most common and as it uses light to transport signal, it will have a little flap door over it to keep dust out of the socket. If this is you, you'll simply need to connect one of our Digital Optical Toslink Cables from your TV's optical output to the input on our Avencore Digital to Analog Audio Converter. Then using the 2RCA Male to 3.5mm Stereo Female Adapter (included with the converter) to connect to the other side of the converter this will now give you a female 3.5mm connection to plug in your headphones.

Bear in mind that this device will have no way to control the volume of the signal being fed into your headphones and will always be at maximum volume. If your headphones have volume control functionality via a volume wheel or buttons, you should be able to use this to set an appropriate listening level. It may also be worthwhile checking your TV's menu settings as often there will be a way to lower the volume of your televisions optical output within the sound/audio menu. If both options are available you'll need a small volume controller with 3.5mm inputs and outputs. We have a brilliant Bi-Directional 4x2 Way 3.5mm Stereo Audio Switch with Volume Control available which will certainly allow you to control the levels feeding into your headphones via it's rotary volume dial but any basic 3.5mm volume controller will do the job if you don't require so many connections.

While less common but still prevalent, some TV's will have a 'Digital Coaxial' or 'SPDIF' connection in place of digital optical. This will look just like a single RCA connection however outputs digital sound. Luckily the Avencore Digital to Analog Audio Converter supports both optical and coaxial connection so you're covered no matter which option your TV has.

Similarly as before, connect one of our Avencore Digital Coaxial Audio Cables from your TV's SPDIF port to the input on the converter. Then using the 2RCA Male to 3.5mm Stereo Female Adapter (included with the converter) this will now give you a female 3.5mm connection to plug in your headphones. Just make sure to turn down the volume on your headphones before placing them over your ears as the signal may be loud. Now you're all set to block out the outside world and settle in for a quiet night in.

Option 6: HDMI Audio Extractor

Did you think we were done? Well I have one more option for you if all of the previous weren't suitable and that's making use of our Avencore HDMI Audio Extractor. If your TV has a HDMI ARC (audio return channel) port, possibly being used to send audio to a sound bar or AV receiver, you can place an audio extractor in between this connection thus providing you with that elusive headphone connection. A HDMI audio extractor essentially makes a copy of the audio portion of the signal and splits it out via either digital optical or 3.5mm analog audio so all you need to do is plug in your favourite headphones and you're wired for sound once again!

You can also use an audio extractor placed between any source device and the TV's HDMI input however this will only give you audio through your headphones when using this specific device so if possible, it's always best to make use of that HDMI ARC socket.

As with the Digital to Analog Audio Converter there is no way to control the volume of the signal feeding through to your headphones so be careful when first connecting them up. If your headphones have a built in volume wheel or buttons you should be able to set these for a comfortable volume without problems. If they don't however you'll need a way to control this as not to damage those precious lobes.

A way around this is with a 3.5mm headphone pass through that features a volume control allowing you to set your desired volume level. As mentioned earlier our Bi-Directional 4x2 Way 3.5mm Stereo Audio Switch with Volume Control will give you control over volume levels and give you the option to connect multiple devices and switch between them however if this is more than required, any basic volume controller will do the trick.


If we've missed something or you need any help getting your headphones connected to your TV, we'd love to hear from you! Contact us

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