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Headphone Functionality

383 Views 2 Replies 2 Participants Last post by  bdht
Sorry for the length of this post:

I've been struggling to find the proper configuration for wireless headphones for our new 75" Samsung 60R T.V.. The main problem is that all of the newer T.V's, other than Sony, have a single audio output which is optical. The T.V. is optically cabled to a new 60R Samsung sound bar with add on Samsung wireless rear speakers. Best Buy (BB for future reference) suggested several solutions to connect wireless headphones, none of which work for all applications.

I first tried a couple versions of blue tooth headphones, but after pairing they took over the audio on the sound bar, controlling the volume on both, which defeats the purpose. I then tried headphones that connected via HDMI, but the HDMI ports on the T.V. are all input, and I needed audio out. BB then suggested I use the HDMI output of the sound bar to RCA in and sold me the wrong converter, HDMI out to RCA in instead of HDMI in to RCA out on the converter, but it didn't matter when I tried the "correct" device because the sound bar still wouldn't pass audio (so why have an HDMI out port?).

I thought about it some more and eventually connected a highly rated 3 out port optical splitter at the T.V. with one optical out port from the T.V. to the splitter and 2 of the 3 outports from the splitter, one each optically cabled to the sound bar and to the base station of the new headphones. Voila, it worked, and the volume controls for the sound bar and the headphone work independently.

The Insignia headphones are meant to serve two purposes. I have two siblings who will visit that have problems hearing, so they can slip on the headphones and control their own volume while the rest of the people watching can listen at a normal level. I also use the headphones to listen to programs without bothering my wife if she's reading or if I get up before she rises.

The remaining problem is that the headphones only work with the audio output on the T.V. of the cable provider, Direct T.V., who are the only game in town. Direct T.V. is connected via HDMI to the T.V. The T.V. came with preloaded apps of Netflix and Amazon Prime, both of which we subscribe to. I also connected a 4K UHD blue ray player to an HDMI in port on the T.V.. All of these work fine on the sound bar, but none of them work on the headphones, emitting a constant interference sound.

I've tried shutting down the Direct T.V. box, the sound bar, the blue ray, and the wireless rear speakers, and I still get the interference, with not even background dialogue. I've tried changing sound modes on the sound bar with no success.

It would seem that the single audio output of the T.V. should pass anything that is transmitting audio, but apparently not. In my previous life I installed optical splitters for gigabit ethernet with a pair of fibers carrying multiple wavelengths, to be muxed and demuxed at both ends, so I understand the reduction in power when you split the optics (50% optical power for two splits, 33% optical power for 3 splits etc), but the devices in this case are all in the same location so optical loss should not be a factor, plus they all work optically through the sound bar, just not through the headphone for Netflix, Amazon Video, or blue ray.

If you are still with me and your eyes haven't glazed over I congratulate you. Any suggestions?
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One more comment: I also tried bypassing the optical splitter and going directly from the audio out optical port of the T.V. directly to the Headphone base, and had the same problem. Of course the sound bar wouldn't work because it had no signal, but the headphones worked on Direct T.V. only, not on preloaded Netflix, Amazon Video, or the blue ray player.
Maybe the audio from the other sources is encoded, the soundbar has a builtin decoder but the headphones do not. What model are the headphones?
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