A digital video projector—like its vintage counterparts the overhead projector, the slideshow projector, and even the movie projector—is mostly silent. Sure, the 16mm and 8mm films have had advancements that allow it to have an accompanying soundtrack when played. However, for the most part, a video projector like the silent film era projector projects movies and shows completely without sound. The sound has to come through a separate sound system.
So in regards to how to get sound from computer to projector, it’s mostly a matter of choosing whether to use the sound coming from your built-in PC or laptop speakers or have it connected to the surround-sound stereo system of your home theater while the projector merely acts as a secondary or tertiary monitor.
Are All Video Projectors Soundless?
Not all video projectors are soundless. A number of modern video projectors connect via HDMI (which supports both audio and video) or through other AV ports plus a 35mm jack for sound purposes. These latest projectors can double as television sets, which are known for their built-in speakers.
- Most Video Projectors Are Silent: On one hand, the vast majority of even so-called modern digital video projectors have no sound delivery system. On the other hand, there exist projectors that have their own stereos or speakers to allow sound to come through. However, most home theater enthusiasts don’t bother with built-in speakers in projectors the same way filmmakers don’t bother with built-in speakers in camcorders. There are better ways to “get” sound than anything built-in.
- Projectors in The Home Theater Environment: In the home theater environment, there are speakers, soundbars or soundbars, bases, subwoofers, and stereos galore available in order to showcase the surround-sound experience available in real movie theaters but in a home environment. Most people with projectors, even though with built-in stereos, are more concerned about the connectivity of their cable box or Blu-Ray Disc Player with their sound system than with the speaker of their projector. Ditto when it comes to the speakers of an HDTV.
- Many Compact or Pico Projectors Have Built-In Speakers: Indeed, not all video projectors are soundless but most of them are, especially those used in home theaters that have the option to connect the audio to a separate sound system. Then again, more and more video projectors have their own built-in stereo, especially those of the pico or portable variety. They’re for mobile setups wherein lugging around a sound system isn’t as practical.
- A Cinematic Experience at Home: You can also use these speakers to enjoy a cinematic experience at home in case you don’t want to bother activating your speakers and whatnot. It’s able to adjust projection between 80 inches to 150 inches so that you can watch a screen much larger than the largest TV screens. On top of that, the built-in speakers work like PC laptop speakers that can turn your pico projector just like your
- A Television-Like Projector with Its Own Sound: 4K used to only be available for TV screens and computer monitors. However, it’s now available in projectors with HDR10, thus allowing you to see awe-inspiring visuals with sharper imagery, fuller saturation, higher contrast, and deeper colors when all is said and done. This also means your 2000:1 native contrast projector doesn’t only double as a movie projector but also as an alternative TV display with its own speaker system.
- An Ultimately Portable Sound System: The main point of these projectors with speakers is that when you’re on the go to a conference or you wish to watch something and there’s no TV handy, you can use this projector and a screen without also lugging with you a whole sound system. This goes hand-in-hand with other portability features such as an ultra short throw distance of only 7.2 inches away that allows you to project at any blackboard or blank wall as well as a screen.
- Laser Projectors Go Hand-in-Hand with Built-In Speakers: Many portable or compact projector devices with their own built-in soundbar or speaker also have laser technology available with industrial-grade lamps that have a 25,000-hour lifespan. This allows you to enjoy these display options for up to 4 hours daily for the next 17 years, with the sound included thanks to HDMI technology. These compact laser projectors come with infrared remotes for good measure to control sound settings.
Troubleshooting Projectors and HDMI to Laptop Connections
Many projectors nowadays have things like an integrated soundbar in order to deliver high-fidelity sound powered by twin 30W drivers. It should also be able to handle DTS-HD and Dolby Audio since HD is all the rage nowadays just like surround sound used to back in the day.
You can connect sound to them using a 3.5mm audio jack or an HDMI cable that carries audio and video in one cable. You can even play the sound through wired earphones or headphones with 35mm jacks as well as Bluetooth earpods if you wish. They serve as an alternative to your home cinema sound system.
- No Audio But There’s Video: If you connect an HDMI cable to a laptop in order to link it to a projector and there’s no audio coming out, there might be multiple reasons for this problem. First off, your projector might have no built-in speakers. You might need a splitter in order to split the signal coming from the HDMI cable between a video and audio output. From there, you need to connect the audio output to the audio input of your home cinema’s sound system.
- HDMI Audio and The Power Management System: If there’s still no audio and it’s not an issue of you lacking audio devices then you should first plug your laptop or PC to a power source. Some computers follow a power management scheme that doesn’t allow HDMI audio to come out while it’s running on batteries. You also have the option to change your power management options on your Control Panel in order to get your HDMI audio working on your projector’s built-in speakers or sound system.
- Audio Driver and Software Issues: Just as how HDMI connections to your laptop might lead to the computer playing video without audio because it lacks an audio driver so too can your projector with a speaker or sound system go mute because the HDMI cable doesn’t come with the right drivers. HDMI has its own audio driver separate from the native audio driver of your computer or even the firmware of your projector. Update drivers thusly or get a compatible device that plays audio.
- Projector Settings and Remote Control: Some pico or standard video projectors can have their settings altered on the console of the device itself or, if it’s a compact projector, through the remote control. Make sure that the projector isn’t on mute to ensure that the audio is flowing through its speakers or through your own source device. The settings might not be properly calibrated so refer to your user manual for more details.
- Video Is On Mute: Speaking of which, make sure your computer isn’t on mute either. Open the sound settings of the operating system or the media player to make sure that’s the case. The sound might not come out from the stereos of your home cinema sound system or projector with the speaker because the video is muted or set at an incredibly low volume. Just adjust the audio thusly from the media player or the computer or the projector and sound system to finally get sound back.
- Converters and Adapters Galore: Sometimes, when you’re dealing with a vintage laptop with an RCA input and separate audio input, you need a converter to allow you to connect it to a projector with built-in speakers. You can also use a similarly vintage projector that allows connections outside of HDMI too but you’ll need external speakers or a separate sound system for these older models since most of them don’t have speakers of their own.
- Use the Speaker of Your PC or Laptop: When all else fails and you have a projector with no built-in speaker, then you can simply use the speaker of your laptop or PC instead. You can use the projector as an extra monitor that mirrors the display of your PC while still listening to the sounds of whatever video you’re watching from the PC speakers instead. You also have the option to connect your home cinema speakers unto the laptop instead of the projector with an HDMI, USB-A, or USB-B connection as well as a converter.
Your Main Options for Getting Sound from Your Computer to Projector
Essentially, you have two options when it comes to projector viewing with sound. You can connect the audio jack or extra HDMI cable to your home cinema system speakers and stereos for the full cinematic or surround sound experience, the same way your desktop has a separate speaker system because its internal speakers aren’t so advanced with HD sound.
You can also go the TV route of connecting both audio and video to the same projector and letting its built-in soundbar or speakers to do the sound for you. Your projector is now acting as a TV set with its own speakers and screen in one package. You can even get a separate earphone or headphone output if you like but that’s going to require extra adapters and converters for good measure.