Connecting soundbars to your projector mostly depends on which ports and connections are available on either device. There is a multitude of ways to go about it. First, there’s the HDMI output, preferably of the HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) variety.
Then there’s coaxial or SPDIF or optical connections, which are next to the best when it comes to sound fidelity. Finally, you can connect the soundbar via the perfectly serviceable analog audio input of a 3.5mm stereo mini-jack.
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Here’s the nitty-gritty on how to connect the Vizio soundbar to a projector.
How to Connect Vizio Soundbar to Projector
In order to connect your projector to a Vizio Soundbar, it should possess ports for HDMI, HDMI ARC, Coaxial or SPDIF, Optical (TOSLINK), or 3.5mm stereo mini-jack. It can also do WAV playback via USB input.
The Vizio Soundar has a multitude of analog and digital outputs. You can even use its USB input for the sake of .WAV or WAV sound file audio playback. For the most part, its HDMI input and HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) output allows you a two-way audio connection in one cable (more on this later).
The Vizio soundbar can connect to your projector if it only allows analog audio input of the 3.5mm stereo mini-jack variety, which is still popular in use for headphones and earphones. As for digital input, you’re given two choices—RCA or optical (TOSLINK).
Under RCA, you can use either SPDIF or coaxial cables. Under optical, you can only use TOSLINK cables (don’t pinch those cables, they damage easily). Finally, there’s the wireless connection you can establish via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi depending on which Vizio Soundbar you get.
How to Connect Vizio with Optoma Specifically
To show how you can connect your Vizio with a projector, let’s take the Optoma GT1080 for example. The Optoma comes with two HDMI ports (1.4a with 3D support), an MHL 1.2 port, a 3.5mm audio out port, and a USB service.
Therefore, to connect your Vizio Soundbar with your Optoma, you can use the second HDMI port and the 3.5mm audio out since it’s not an HDMI ARC type of connection. The Audio Return Channel would’ve allowed you to connect your Vizio to both your DVD or Blu-Ray Player and your projector in one single cable connection without an extra audio cable involved.
The USB service offered by Optoma won’t work for Vizio’s USB since the latter is for .WAV file playback only. Optoma’s USB service, on the other hand, is mainly to give power to adapters or converters or to play external HDD or flash disk media files.
What Is the HDMI ARC Anyway?
It’s dependable to have an HDMI ARC feature on your projector because it allows it to connect to its media player and the audio system (in this case, the Vizio Soundbar) in one continuous connection. This keeps you from needing extra audio cables.
The ARC system turns your HDMI cable connection into a two-way street. Since HDMI already carries both video and audio signals together, it’s possible with ARC to connect and retrieve audio from your media player through daisy-chaining itself to your projector.
If your HDMI port isn’t of the ARC variety, you might need to directly connect your soundbar to the cable box, DVD or BD player, or laptop instead for the sake of getting sound. If it’s an Optoma Projector, you might need to link through the analog 3.5mm connection instead.
HDMI ARC vs. Standard HDMI
Vizio works with a standard HDMI port but with the caveat of you connecting it to the media device instead of the display device. Otherwise, link it with the 3.5mm audio jack. You can also connect to your projector through the RCA or TOSLINK optical cable.
ARC-labeled or eARC-labeled HDMI input is merely there to reduce audio cable clutter and just use HDMI cables in a daisy-chained manner. You can do things like link your media player through the soundbar then to the projector instead of linking both to the projector.
Digital vs. Analog
Analog has a slightly lower quality compared to digital. However, HDMI has the best audio quality among digital cable solutions. HDMI ARC allows you to hook up your soundbar to your projector without needing separate RCA, optical, or phone jack cables.
Be careful with digital TOSLINK cables because they tend to stop working when they’re pinched or bent wrong. You can also link up your Vizio digital or analog port to your media device because many of them have ports for audio as well.
The extra cables might look messy but a little cable management should fix it when push comes to shove. Essentially, you can hook up your Vizio on either the projector via TOSLINK, RCA, and 3.5mm port, or the media device for the same cable connection standards.
Can You Use Bluetooth with Vizio?
The Vizio Soundbar has Bluetooth. Or rather, there are Vizio soundbars and speakers that work wirelessly on Bluetooth alone or as an option. If your Vizio or your projector lacks Bluetooth functionality, you can use TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter and Receiver to make that connection.
It’s better to have a Vizio Soundbar with a Bluetooth connection and a projector with a Bluetooth connection than to try out the transmitter method though because you won’t have to pay extra for the transmitter.
Further reading: How to Connect Bluetooth Soundbar to Projector
Pairing Mode and Other Bluetooth Terminology
Put your Vizio Bluetooth Soundbar in pairing mode first. You can do this by holding the power button for a few seconds. You can also work some other switch or finagle with the settings. It might even have a button that has Bluetooth symbol on it.
On the projector’s menu, turn on Bluetooth. While the soundbar is in pairing mode, you should be able to select it and have it work with your projector. Be warned, it might not work immediately. Recheck your projector instructions to ensure you’ve done things right.
When All Is Said and Done
Without HDMI ARC, it’s best to use Vizio’s other audio output connections available. You need ARC to make an HDMI audio connection work with a speaker. Vizio has 3.5mm analog, optical TOSLINK digital, and RCA SPDIF or coaxial digital available for audio linkage with your projector.
You can alternately connect your Blu-Ray Player, DVD Player, laptop, tablet, or smartphone directly to the Vizio Soundbar then connect them to your projector via HDMI instead.
- Jonah Matthes, “How to Connect a Soundbar to a Projector“, TheHomeTheaterDIY.com, Retrieved May 1, 2021
- “Suggestions to connect Vizio soundbar with my projector“, Tom’s Guide Forums, May 5, 2017