To answer your question right off rip: yes, you can hook up your soundbar behind a TV. However, it’s not quite as simple as just plugging this in and hanging it up on the wall or attaching it to the back of the television.
Even though we’re in an age of technological marvels, you still have to think about the acoustics. The way the sound will move around the room, and how it will echo outward.
So while you can hook up a soundbar to your TV, you have to do it properly, otherwise you run the risk of impaired volume, muffled bass, and stressing the speakers by turning it up too high if your acoustics aren’t in order (otherwise you won’t be able to hear much at all).
Let’s talk about that TV soundbar setup.
How to Hook up Soundbar to TV
Hanging and positioning your soundbar isn’t going to be worthwhile if, you know, you haven’t plugged it in yet. Most soundbars have straightforward designs that just require an HDMI cable to go into one of your many HDMI ports on your TV.
Most televisions, even inexpensive ones for under a hundred bucks, will have around three HDMI ports. Realistically, you only need one of those for your cable box (if you’re still using those), or your PS4/Xbox to stream your movies from.
That frees up one slot, and still gives you one extra. Older soundbars, or older models of soundbars that never become obsolete, may use audio input cables that plug into a digital audio out optical slot on your TV, though this isn’t nearly as common as it was a few years ago.
Setting up the Acoustics
So now we get to the main problem with putting a soundbar behind your TV, and that would be acoustics.
If your soundbar is behind the TV, and chances are you TV is as pushed back on your entertainment center as possible, it’s going to be muffled. That sound is either travelling right at a wall, or an open space behind the entertainment center, and then the sound isn’t travelling to wherever you’re sitting.
So how do you get around this problem? I have two ways.
Here are our favorite LG Soundbars.
Mounting on the Wall, Above Your TV
Look for mounting screw slots on your soundbar. They should be opposite the actual speaker itself, and are usually designed to hold M4 x 14mm screws.
Position your soundbar just above your TV and hold it to the wall. Use a leveler to ensure it’s balanced, and mark where the screw holes are by striking a pencil against the wall.
Measure the distance between the screw holes on your soundbar, and then make sure it matches up with the markings on the wall.
Screw in some simple L-shaped stainless steel brackets to your wall. Position your soundbar on top of them, and use those M4 screws to go through the other side of the bracket, and into your soundbar. It’s out of sight, and makes it look like your TV is just meant to be there.
Also read: Soundbar vs Speakers
Mounting to the Underside of Your TV
If that’s too much DIY for you, or you’re renting and you can’t puncture the walls, then I fully understand.
Instead of that, you can mount the soundbar to the bottom of the TV. This will run right behind the stand (usually), and the speaker will be pointed straight down. It’s not the best, but it’s better than it facing the wrong way and bouncing off the wall.
Use one piece of double-back tape for every three inches of space you have, and apply a ¾” strip to the soundbar. Peel the second backing off of the other side of your tape, and stick it to the bottom of your TV. Hold it in place for a few seconds.
It’s the easiest, cheapest DIY way to hang your soundbar without damaging your walls or your television.
Simple TV Soundbar Setup
Depending on the TV you have, the size of your soundbar, additional plug-ins, and the acoustics of your room, you’re going to have an easy time setting things up. If not, follow the tips above to get the best setup possible. If you’re looking to get a middle-of-the-road soundbar for your TV, we recommend checking out this budget list of soundbars.