Wireless Headphones for your Television
There’s nothing like playing video games or watching TV in the comfort of your own home. With the right home theater setup, you can get the same visual fidelity and audio clarity as your local movie theater.
But what if you’re in a smaller space, such as an apartment or a dorm room?
In a tighter space, you can’t always get the same experience without losing some of that quality or having to turn down the volume out of respect for your spouse, roommates or neighbors.
In this blog, we’ll cover the basics of choosing wireless tv headphones, and recommend five solid suggestions worth looking into.
Connecting Headphones to your Television
The first thing to understand is that televisions don’t typically offer support for Bluetooth or wireless headphones out of the box. While there are definitely some televisions with built-in Bluetooth, the functionality is usually hidden behind updates and settings menus. Plus, there’s no real guide online for TVs with Bluetooth headphone support.
So what is your best option?
The easiest and most convenient solution is to purchase dedicated wireless headphones for TV. Instead of using Bluetooth technology, dedicated wireless transmit audio through Radio Frequency or RF. This gives the headphones up to 200 ft of added range.
Here’s how it works: you connect a base station that plugs into your television with a standard 3.5mm analog jack, or an optical cable. That station may also act as the charging station for your headphones. The headphones then use RF to play the audio from the base station to your headphones.
You can also connect Bluetooth headphones via a streaming player, such as an Apple TV, Android TV, Amazon Fire TV, or a Roku. Support on gaming consoles tends to vary in headphone support. Some, like the PS4, only support specific headphones while the Xbox One has no Bluetooth support at all.
Key Points to Consider
- Comfort – If you’re using headphones for TV, you’re likely watching television shows and movies, or playing video games for long periods. You need headphones that hug your head so they won’t fall off, without clamping down on your ears and skin.
- Build Quality – The materials the headphones are made of must be solid yet still lightweight. Strong build quality usually means a longer-lasting product.
- Audio Quality – Wireless TV headphones need to output a sound quality that’s better than the usual television stereo output. You should be able to hear the bass and soundstage like never before, so we won’t include any cheap headsets.
- Affordability – Headphones can range from twenty $20 to $300+. We focus on the ones that are in an affordable range, up to $150.
- Battery Life – Though you can charge wireless TV headphones, you don’t want to be doing that every twenty minutes. These headphones are tested for their battery life.
Power Acoustik Farenheit HP-902 RFT
|Power Acoustik HP902R Feet POWER ACCOUSTIC 2 SWIVEL 2CH. WIRELESS||$77.99||View on Amazon|
The Power Acoustik Farenheit HP-902 RFT is our first pick for RF wireless headphones. Since RF allows for multiple headphones to connect, the box actually includes two sets of headphones, which is great if you want to watch with someone else.
The HP-902 RFT is a budget, entry-level pick, and so the comfort and builds quality of the cans are usually the first aspects to see compromises. The plastic just feels cheap and thin, so make sure you don’t sit on these by accident, and trying them on over our heads just felt awkward and uncomfortable, as they never fully enclosed our ears.
On the sound quality front, the HP-902 RFT has a somewhat neutral balance and gives off a clear soundstage even if the bass doesn’t quite boom as we’d want it to. Still, it does the job and you can raise it as loud as you can so your neighbors can’t hear. Â
It has a monitor button which essentially acts as a mute control to become more aware of your surroundings. The headphones come with â…›-inch cable jacks in case you want to have a wired setup.
We highly recommend HP-902 RFTs. They provide the right level of audio quality and functionality at a good entry-level price.
Best Buy’s in-house brand for wireless headphones offers a good entry price point and some decent battery life with up to 8 hours. If you want something simple and straightforward, the Insignia NS-WHP314 is the ideal choice.
Similar to other budget headphones, the material is nothing to write home about. The plastic is lightweight and feels cheap, and it doesn’t always feel comfortable to wear (if you can fit it right at all). We’ve read complaints of people not being able to fit the cup all the way around their ear, which can lead to some isolation issues.
The audio quality is decent for the price and battery life. It may not satisfy the most dedicated audiophiles, but for less than $100, it does the job well. Still, there have been reports of a muddy or compressed soundstage.
Most notably, the Insignia NS-WHP314 offers a base station for recharging, saving you money and time for having to find some triple-A batteries. At the same time, you have to make sure that the headphones are properly cradled in the base station to charge them effectively.
The Insignia NS-WHP314 is a great entry-level set of wireless headphones. Just don’t expect to be blown away for a low entry point.
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
|Plantronics Wireless Noise Cancelling Backbeat - Headphones (Black & Tan) (Pro 2)||$82.72||View on Amazon|
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 is the second generation in the Backbeat Pro line of wireless headphones, in what CNET bills as the “value alternative to Bose’s QuietComfort 25”.
The Backbeat Pro 2 improves on the first iteration in a number of ways. First, it’s 35% slimmer and 15% lighter, taking away the bulky profile its predecessor had. The ring on the outside of the cups has control buttons for adjusting volume and playback.
The original Backbeat Pro had a signature bassy sound with a clear, crisp soundstage. The Pro 2 continues that legacy. While their website promises a bass with minimum distortion, we had varying experiences with this claim. Still, the focus on the bass is a feature that compliments the noise isolation aspect.
One of the most interesting features is the inclusion of “On-demand active noise-canceling”. In simple terms, the headphones have an “open-listening mode” which softens the music depending on the ambient noise, perfect if you want to make sure you can still talk to your family even if you’re in your movie or TV show. And when you take your headphones off, it’ll automatically pause a song if you’re listening to one.
The battery life also lasts for 24 hours of continuous listening, or 21 days on standby. For people who like to watch TV for extended periods, this will ensure the battery doesn’t give out mid-show.
While we’re not sure if it can go up against the Bose QuietComfort 35, the Backbeat Pro 2 still offers some competitive advantages, such as Active Noise-Cancellation and better battery life. It’s worth noting that these are Bluetooth headphones, not RF, so while they may last longer the connectivity is a little less straightforward, necessitating a Bluetooth capable dock or TV.
Sennheiser RS 185
The Sennheiser RS 185 is RF wireless headphones. The headphones are full-sized, with large felt-covered pads. In our experience, the materials and plastics used were strong, but they weren’t very good in terms of noise isolation. They were, however, very comfortable to wear on your head. It may not seem that way with the awkwardly padded headband, but you barely notice them. There are also control buttons on the headphones themselves that let you adjust the volume and the balance between the left and right channels.
After listening to headphones, we were reasonably impressed. The soundscape was rich and full. Even at louder volumes, there was a very little distortion. The signal produced was clear and detailed, and the soundstage was wide and varied, even if it lacked a punchiness in the bass.
With eighteen hours of battery life and a robust audio and build quality, the Sennheiser RS 185 is a solid choice for wireless TV headphones.
Our final verdict
Out of all the headphones we reviewed, we would pick the Power Acoustik Farenheit HP-902 RFT. Sure it’s not all-around perfect, and some headphones may even blow it out of the water in terms of audio quality. But in looking at the product as the best wireless headphones for TV, it ticks every requirement. It uses RF wireless for maximum range, offers multiple headsets for two viewers, and produces clear and crisp audio. At roughly $70, you can’t beat this offer.
For a slightly better build at a higher price point, the Sennheiser RS 185 was a close runner up. Sennheiser has always had a reputation for building great-sounding headphones at an affordable rate, and the RS 185 lives up to that promise.
What do you think about our decision? Do you agree or disagree? Let us know in the comments!