Do Soundbars Have Optical Input?

When buying a soundbar, it’s important to buy the one that has the connection your TV supports. So, if your TV can be connected with an optical cable, look for a soundbar that has an optical input. To save you time checking if the soundbar has an optical input, we made a list and reviewed 9 best soundbars with optical input. We also explained how this connection works and what are the advantages and disadvantages of the optical connection.

What Is Optical Connection?

The optical connection is an audio connection between a device that sends the sound and a device that receives the sound. In this case, a TV sends the sound and it has an optical output where you connect the cable. A soundbar receives the sound and has an optical input. The optical connection sends the digital audio signal between devices.

Some optical ports have a cap over the hole for protection, so when you’re connecting the cable you have to remove it. Some soundbars come with an optical cable, but if not, you will have to buy it separately if you don’t already have one. So, make sure to check out if the cable comes in a package. 

Difference Between Optical and HDMI Connection

The only difference between the optical and HDMI connection is the number of audio formats they support. HDMI connection supports more audio formats. But there is no difference in sound quality. If the same audio format is being sent, they will sound the same. 

The optical connection supports 5.1/7.1 Dolby Digital, DTS multichannel audio, and PCM stereo audio. What it doesn’t support is Dolby Digital Plus, SACD, DVD-A, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio. If your TV can be connected with an HDMI cable and you want to have audio formats the optical connection doesn’t support, you should go for an HDMI connection. But if that’s not important to you or your TV has only an optical output, look for a soundbar with an optical input.

Our Top Picks

This post contains affiliate links. See the affiliate disclaimer here.

ProductPriceOverall RatingReview
Majority BowfellCheck Price on Amazon3.8Read Review
Bestisan BYL-S6520-3Check Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
Vmai SoundbarCheck Price on Amazon4.2Read Review
Sony S200FCheck Price on Amazon4.2Read Review
TCL Alto 7+Check Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
Samsung HW-T450Check Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
LG SN5YCheck Price on Amazon4.5Read Review
Bose 500Check Price on Amazon4.4Read Review
Sony HT-G700Check Price on Amazon4.2Read Review

Below we reviewed the 9 best soundbars with an optical input you can buy. If you have a budget limitation, you can easily check out models you can afford since we divided them into three groups considering the price. They’re listed from the cheapest to the most expensive one. We mentioned the most important features they have. We also mentioned what connections they have and if they have an optical cable included in the package.


Best Soundbars with Optical Input Under $100

Soundbars in this price range have basic features like Bluetooth connection and they might come with a built-in subwoofer. They’re usually compact and suitable not only for connecting to a TV but also to a DVD player, gaming console, or a Blu-ray player. Gamers often buy this type of soundbars. Extra channels, Wi-Fi connectivity, and voice control are reserved for more expensive soundbars.

Best Small Soundbar Under $50 – Majority Bowfell Soundbar

Majority Bowfell Soundbar

Editor’s Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

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Impressions

This low-budget soundbar is small enough to fit any TV area. But the size doesn’t affect the sound quality. This soundbar has an enhanced HD sound quality. It comes with a built-in subwoofer and has two speakers. The soundbar features an automatic power-off function. It will automatically go to standby after 180 minutes of TV being turned off or if there’s no audio signal.

Majority Bowfell Soundbar can be connected to various devices. It can connect to a TV, monitor, or laptop. You can connect it via optical or RCA connection. Optical and RCA cables are included in the package. Another connection available is Bluetooth so you can wirelessly connect devices. You can also use the USB port or connect a device using a 3.5mm AUX cable that is included.

With the soundbar, you will get a remote you can use to adjust the bass or treble. A Music Mode can be set to enhance the music. While watching movies, turn on the Movie Mode to get a better experience. When watching TV shows or news, the Dialogue Mode will make voices clearer.

Advantages

  • Small
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Automatic power-off function
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Included optical cable

Disadvantages

  • Remote is not universal
  • Only two speakers

Bestisan BYL-S6520-3

Bestisan BYL-S6520-3

Editor’s Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

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Impressions

This soundbar features two full-range drivers. To provide powerful bass, it has two bass reflex ports. With the included remote, you can control the bass. It provides 360° sound which makes it ideal for home theaters. It also has strong anti-interference protection and produces sound with less than 1% of total harmonic distortion.

To avoid your TV area being cluttered, you can connect this soundbar to the TV via Bluetooth. It can also be connected with an optical cable and coaxial cable. The optical cable is included in the package. It has an analog audio input and USB input as well. Via Bluetooth connectivity, you can connect your phone to listen to music. This soundbar can be mounted on a wall but the package does not include a mounting kit. It fits perfectly the space below most TVs so it’s suitable for limited spaces.

Bestisan soundbar uses DSP Technology. It has three different sound modes. The Dialogue Mode makes dialogues clearer compared to the standard. The Movie Mode improves the bass and treble making your movie-watching experience much better. The Music Mode lets you have the best music-listening experience.

Advantages

  • 2 bass reflex ports
  • 360° sound
  • Strong anti-interference protection 
  • Dialogue, Movie, Music Mode
  • Bluetooth connectivity 
  • Wall-mountable

Disadvantages

  • Only 2 channels

Best Soundbar With Optical Input and with a Built-In Subwoofer Under $100 – Vmai Soundbar

Vmai Soundbar

Editor’s Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

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Impressions

This elegantly designed soundbar has a matte black finish. It has a built-in subwoofer, mid-range driver, and tweeters. The exclusive Power Bass technology brings a powerful bass for the best home theater experience. The soundbar can be mounted on the wall with the included mounting bracket.

Different sound modes you can use include Movie, Music, News, and 3D Mode. The Movie Mode turns the movie into a cinema experience. The Music Mode enhances sound so you’ll enjoy listening to your favorite songs. The News Mode makes voices clearer. The 3D Mode makes a surround sound experience.

Supported wired connections include Optical, HDMI (ARC), and USB flash drive. They can be connected to a TV, projector, tablet, Blu-ray player, PS5, XBOX, and more. The optical cable is included in the package, as well as the RCA cable. The Bluetooth 5.0 technology allows connecting smart devices up to 50ft. For easy pairing, there is a Bluetooth button on the soundbar.

Advantages

  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Power-Bass technology
  • Wall-mountable
  • Included mounting brackets
  • Movie, Music, News, 3D Mode
  • Bluetooth 5.0 technology

Disadvantages

  • Bright display
  • Bass not adjustable

Best Soundbars with Optical Input Over $100

Soundbars in this price range, like cheaper ones, have basic features. But some of them may have Wi-Fi connectivity and support Dolby Audio. Also, they may have more than two channels. Most of them come with a built-in or wireless subwoofer. 

Sony S200F

Sony S200F

Editor’s Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

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Impressions

This 2.1 channel soundbar features a built-in subwoofer for better bass response. Virtual surround sound technology transforms an ordinary living room into a home cinema. Using only one remote, it’s possible to control both the TV and the soundbar. This soundbar can be mounted on a wall, but the mounting kit is not supplied.

Sony S200F can connect to a TV via Bluetooth. But you can also connect your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth and listen to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. Another possible way of music-listening is connecting a USB. Connecting to a TV is also possible via an optical cable, which is included in the box, as well as HDMI cable.

The Voice Mode can be turned on to make the voices clearer. When watching TV at night, you can simply turn on the Night Mode. It will enhance dialogs and reduce bass and loud noises.

Advantages

  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Virtual surround sound technology
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Voice Mode, Night Mode
  • Wall-Mountable

Disadvantages

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Dolby Atmos Not Supported
  • Basic features
  • Controls less visible when mounted on a wall

Best Soundbar With Optical Input and with a Wireless Subwoofer Under $200 – TCL Alto 7+

TCL Alto 7+

Editor’s Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

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Impressions

This 2.1 soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer. With no cables needed, you can place the subwoofer anywhere you want. This soundbar also has built-in tweeters and deep bass ports for more balanced reproduction and a better bass experience. It’s powered by 4 high-performance drivers that deliver perfectly natural sound. The supported Dolby Digital brings the ultimate movie experience.

Depending on what you are watching, you can choose between Music, News, and Movies Mode.  Via Bluetooth connection, you can listen to your music from your phone or any other Bluetooth device. You can also use the USB drive. The soundbar has an auto shut-off function which turns it off after 15 minutes of inactivity.

The soundbar has various audio inputs including HDMI, Optical, Aux, and IE Pass-Through. Audio cables are included in the package. If preferred, this soundbar can be mounted on a wall and it comes with a mounting kit. This soundbar is most suitable for 55” TVs and above. You can also use the TV remote to control the soundbar (adjust some basic settings).

Advantages

  • Comes with a wireless subwoofer
  • 4 high-performance drivers
  • Supports Dolby Digital
  • Music, News, Movies Mode
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Comes with all audio cables
  • Mounting kit included

Disadvantages

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Doesn’t work with Roku TV Voice Remote
  • More spaces needed for subwoofer
  • Auto shut off can’t be turned off

Best Dolby Soundbar With Optical Input Under $200 – Samsung HW-T450

Samsung HW-T450

Editor’s Rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars (4.4 / 5)

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Impressions

Along with this beautiful Samsung soundbar comes a wireless subwoofer that you can place wherever you want. The soundbar can process Dolby Audio, which is a big plus. It features the Smart Sound Technology that adjusts the sound depending on what you’re watching. 

This soundbar is ideal for gamers since it has a Game Mode that optimizes the audio and creates a clearer and more spacious sound. It is compatible with the PS4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. 

If you don’t want to use any wires, the soundbar can be connected to a TV via Bluetooth. The provided remote can be used for the soundbar and TV, but it works with select TVs. You can listen to music with a USB or you can connect your phone via Bluetooth.

This soundbar is wall-mountable and comes with a mounting kit. You can connect it with your TV with an included optical cable. This soundbar is Energy Star certified for low consumption.

Advantages

  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Surround Sound Mode
  • Smart Sound Technology
  • Game Mode
  • Wall-mountable

Disadvantages

  • No Wi-Fi connection
  • No HDMI input
  • No dedicated center speaker

Best Soundbars with Optical Input Over $250

More expensive soundbars offer some advanced features. They might have Wi-Fi connectivity or voice control. They usually have more channels and technologies that make audio performance better. They also support more audio formats.

LG SN5Y

LG SN5Y

Editor’s Rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars (4.3 / 5)

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Impressions

LG SN5Y comes with a wireless subwoofer. This 2.1 soundbar/subwoofer system has an elegant minimalistic design. It features DTS Virtual: X which makes the sound clearer and transforms an ordinary movie-watching into a cinema experience. The high-resolution audio makes the sound more real and close to the original.

Different sound modes are available. The AI Sound Pro analyses the sound and optimizes the sound output for the given content. The Bass Blast reinforces the bass and delivers a more powerful sound. You also have the Standard Mode, which is good for all kinds of audio content.

The soundbar can be connected to a TV via optical, HDMI ARC cable, or you can use Bluetooth. You can also connect your phone or tablet to the soundbar via Bluetooth. To discover new features, you can install the Music Flow Bluetooth app (only available on Android OS). There is also a USB input. The soundbar’s volume can be controlled with your TV remote (CEC function). The soundbar can be mounted on a wall.  When you turn on your TV or an external device connected to the soundbar, it recognizes the input signal and selects the suitable function. This automatic power-on can also be disabled.

Advantages

  • Comes with a wireless subwoofer
  • DTS Virtual: X
  • AI Sound Pro
  • Can be controlled with your TV remote
  • Wall-mountable
  • Automatic power on/off

Disadvantages

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Lacks a dedicated center channel

Best Soundbar with Optical Input and with Voice Control Under $600- Bose 500

Bose 500

Editor’s Rating: 4.1 out of 5 stars (4.1 / 5)

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Impressions

This soundbar supports Dolby Digital and DTS. The ADAPTiQ audio room calibration optimizes the acoustic results of the soundbar to fit the characteristics of your room. The QuietPort technology reduces turbulent noise for distortion-free bass.

Bose 500 features Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2 connectivity so you can play music from your phone. This soundbar can be controlled with the included remote, Bose music app, or with your voice. Built-in voice assistants include Alexa and Google Assistant. The Alexa speaks English as well as Spanish. The integrated light bar indicates when the voice assistant is thinking, listening, or speaking. The microphones are placed at the front and back of the soundbar for a better voice pickup.

The soundbar can be mounted on a wall although the mounting kit is not included. You can connect the soundbar to your TV with an optical or HDMI cable. The optical cable is not included in the package.

Advantages

  • Dolby Digital and DTS
  • ADAPTiQ audio room calibration
  • QuietPort technology
  • Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple AirPlay 2 connectivity
  • Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Wall-mountable

Disadvantages

  • Subwoofer not included

Sony HT-G700

Sony HT-G700

Editor’s Rating: 4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

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Impressions

This lovely Sony soundbar comes with a wireless subwoofer. It supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. The Audio Enhancer upscales the audio to 7.1.2 channel sound. It’s ideal for getting the surround sound experience. A dedicated center speaker makes dialogs clearer.

Different modes are available to suit what you are watching. The Music Mode enhances the details of a song. The Cinema Mode optimizes the sound when you’re watching movies. The Night Mode ensures you hear everything clearly even when the volume is low.

The soundbar can be connected to the TV via Bluetooth. You can also use the HDMI eARC connection or an optical cable. The optical cable is not included in the package. Via Bluetooth connection, you can also pair smart devices and stream music. The soundbar can be mounted on a wall and comes with a mounting kit.

Advantages

  • Wireless subwoofer
  • Dedicated center speaker
  • Supports Dolby Atmos and DTS:X
  • Audio Enhancer
  • Music, Cinema, Night Mode

Disadvantages

  • No Wi-Fi connectivity
  • No voice control support

This concludes our list of the 9 best soundbars with optical input. If you still have some questions, read the text below to find out the answers to some common questions. We hope this article helped you find the best soundbar for you and understand more about how soundbars work.


How to Connect a Soundbar to a TV using an Optical Cable?

You can always check the manual that comes with the soundbar but the setup procedure usually includes the following steps:

  1. See if the optical cable has a protective plastic cap. If it does, remove it so you can plug it in.
  2. Check where the Digital Audio Out (optical output) is located on your TV.
  3. Plug in the optical cable into the optical output.
  4. Plug in the optical cable into the optical input on the soundbar.
  5. Be sure that the optical input and output are correctly connected since the opposite won’t work.
  6. Turn on your TV and soundbar.
  7. The last thing you have to do is press the source button on the soundbar’s remote. Then set the digital input. When the “D-IN” is displayed your soundbar is prepared!

Do You Need an Optical Cable for A Soundbar?

​An optical cable is used to connect a soundbar and TV. Some soundbars only support optical connection but most of them can be connected in different ways. They might have an HDMI input. If you don’t want to use any wires and avoid your TV area being cluttered, some soundbars have Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity.

Can You Hook Up a Soundbar To an Older TV?

If you have an older TV, you might be wondering if you can connect a soundbar. The answer is yes, as long as they have the same connections. In case your TV and soundbar don’t have the same connection, you can buy an adapter. If you want to use an optical connection, look for the optical audio output port on the back of the TV. They’re usually labeled with “Audio out” or “Toslink”.

Do I Need A Subwoofer?

It all depends on your preference. If you want to make a home theater, you should definitely buy a soundbar with a subwoofer. Some soundbars come with built-in subwoofers while some have a wireless subwoofer. Although wireless subwoofers are connected to a soundbar without wires, they usually need to be powered with a cable. A subwoofer produces low frequencies (aka bass) which is, as you already know, one of the essential things for the best movie-watching experience.

Is Optical Connection Better Than Coaxial?

We have already explained the difference between optical and HDMI connection, but you might be wondering if the optical connection is better than coaxial. All three connections are digital. Optical and coaxial connections only transmit audio data. On the other hand, the HDMI connection supports audio and video transmission. Many older TVs have a coaxial output. When connecting your TV and soundbar, you’ll need a VCR or a DVD player to use a coaxial cable. The process is more complicated than with the optical cable, so if you can choose, the optical cable would be a better choice.

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