The LG Sound Bar or Soundbar—which might or might not come with its own black or white Bluetooth speaker as well as subwoofer—is mostly designed to give your HDTV a bigger speaker and DTS stereo sound. It’s a perfect fit for the majority of HDTVs out there, especially those built by LG as well.
However, what about projectors? Can you use the LG soundbar to connect to a given projector? Keep on reading to find out.
How to Connect LG Soundbar to Projector
The LG Soundbar is mostly designed for use with LG HDTVs and other HDTVs, so it mostly caters to a straightforward optical (TOSLINK) audio connection. Just hook it up with an optical cable and you’re good to go.
Because it’s an HDTV type of soundbar, the distance between the soundbar and the display device should be short or near one another. It most likely doesn’t have a digital RCA SPDIF or coaxial audio connection, with it mostly favoring the TOSLINK equivalent.
In terms of projectors, as long as it has an optical or HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) setup, you should be able to interface with the LG Soundbar with ease. The optical audio connection takes advantage of the digital output provided on more and more televisions and projectors.
Should You Connect Your Soundbar to Your Projector?
Sure. Why not? More often than not, projectors have weaker or low-grade internal speakers so it can certainly improve your sound when push comes to shove. Connecting an LG Soundbar to your projector can serve as a quick-and-dirty home theater setup using a portable audiovisual option.
You should beware of several drawbacks from going the soundbar route. Many projectors and soundbars aren’t designed as all-in-one devices unless they’re smart devices. Several can serve the all-in-one function, but you might have to compromise certain video or audio features.
Further reading: The 9 Best Soundbar for Projector
LG Soundbar Pros and Cons
In the case of the LG Soundbar, several models do provide DTS-level sound, but you’re more limited to optical TOSLINK cable solutions instead of having the more universal analog 3.5mm or digital RCA options at your fingertips.
You can also reach the full potential of your home theater by having your devices hooked up to an A/V receiver. Otherwise, get a projector with an HDMI ARC to allow for fewer extra cables involved.
Options for Connecting a Soundbar to an LG Projector
Projectors shouldn’t serve as the central hub for your devices. That’s more of an HDTV thing. A projector is usually the alternative video display that you hook up into an existing home theater. These display devices have options for sound output, but usually they’re not too complex.
They tend to not support more advanced digital sound formats. As far as the LG Soundbar is concerned, you should at least get a modern projector that supports optical cables and HDMI cables. You’re good to go with optical TOSLINK.
Optical TOSLINK is Your Best Bet
Depending on the projector, you might end up with one where optical audio cables are your only option. Either that or just use the HDMI ARC. The LG Soundbar typically doesn’t support RCA, auxiliary, or 3.5mm analog cables. It also uses TOSLINK instead of SPDIF.
When connecting via optical cable, make sure that both devices are turned off first before turning them on. HDMI cables don’t need you to do this because they’re plug and play; you can hook up the cable while both devices are turned on.
You can also go the Bluetooth or Wi-Fi wireless route for either the LG Soundbar or the optional accompanying Bluetooth speakers included in some LG Soundbar packages.
HDMI ARC for Audio Cable Linkage
HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) simplifies cabling by combing the upstream audio capability into a single HDMI cable. If your projector supports HDMI ARC, you can do wild things like use the speaker HDMI connection to connect to the source media without directly connecting it to your projector.
Without HDMI ARC, you’ll need to go the optical route to link up your projector to the soundbar and get the audio from there. You can also link your LG Soundbar to the media player in case the media player has HDMI ARC or if you want an alternate means of getting sound for your projected video.
Not every LG Soundbar or projector supports HDMI ARC, but when it does you won’t need any extra audio cables to enable an audio connection. However, HDMI ARC can’t send high-bit-rate audio of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.
This is annoying since downstream audio over HDMI can carry Dolby Atmos and DTS:X problem-free.
What About Bluetooth?
If your LG Soundbar is of the Bluetooth or wireless variety, connecting it to your projector couldn’t be simpler. Just activate the Bluetooth feature on your projector, get your LG Soundbar (or accompanying speakers) in pairing mode, and then select the devices on your projector’s menu.
If the resulting sound is too “tinny” or quiet, it might indicate that the LG Soundbar you’ve gotten is a dud or defective, so you might want to get it replaced through LG customer service. Otherwise, it might just be an issue with volume control. Restarting the projector or device might fix it as well.
Troubleshooting Your Bluetooth Connection
If Bluetooth pairing doesn’t work immediately, check your projector instructions under Bluetooth activation to make sure you’ve done everything correctly. If the soundbar isn’t linking up to your projector, there’s the possibility that other Bluetooth devices are still connected to it.
In such cases, you need to manually remove the other devices (they might be headphones, earphones, or smartphones) by making your projector “forget” about them so that you can finally pair the device up with your LG Soundbar or its Bluetooth speakers.
What Have We Learned?
Your LG Soundbar should significantly improve upon your existing internal projector speakers. You can also connect them to your source media or media player in case you’ve gotten a VGA type of old-timey projector that only does video, so there are separate audio cables for it.
Just be forewarned that LG mostly uses optical cables (no SPDIF) and HDMI ARC (you need extra audio cables if your projector doesn’t support ARC). You might need adapters or converters to allow analog, SPDIF, RCA, or 3.5mm connections to work.
- Jonah Matthes, “How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector“, TheHomeTheaterDIY.com, Retrieved May 1, 2021
- “LG SL5Y 2.1 Channel High-Resolution Sound Bar“, Amazon.com, Retrieved May 1, 2021
- Brian Westover, “What Is HDMI ARC?“, Tom’s Guide, April 15, 2021