Table of Contents
- Wired or Wireless – Which Type of Headphones Is Better for Watching TV?
- Types of Wireless Headphones for TV
- 10 Best Wireless Headphones for TV – Comparison Table
- 1. Sennheiser RS120 On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones
- 2. RIF6 Wireless Over-Ear TV Headphones with RF Transmitter
- 3. Sony MDRRF985RK Wireless RF Headphone
- 4. Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System
- 5. Avantree Bluetooth Over-Ear Foldable Headphones with Mic and APTX LOW LATENCY codec
- 6. Sennheiser SET840 -TV RF Stereo TV Assistive Listening Headphones System
- 7. Artiste ADH300 Wireless Headphones for TV with RF Transmitter
- 8. Paww WaveSound 2.1 Bluetooth Over-Ear Foldable Headphones with aptX LOW LATENCY
- 9. TROND TD-BH01 – Bluetooth Headphones with APTX LOW LATENCY for TV Watching
- 10. Sennheiser RS 160 RF Wireless Headphones
- Things to Pay Attention When Buying Wireless Headphones for TV
- Connecting Wireless Headphones to your TV – Short Tutorial
How many times have you woken up your parents, your wife, your husband, or even your neighbors by watching television late at night because the volume is simply too loud? Wireless headphones for TV are the best solution for your problem and if you are looking for the best pair for your money, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we will be talking about wireless TV headphones – we are going to explain all the important things you should know about different types of TV headphones (RF, Bluetooth, IF), and give you a small guide on how to connect them to your TV. After the introductory part, we will present to you our selection of 10 best wireless headphones for TV. We’ve made a comprehensive list and you will find here some high-end headphones made by reputable audio companies but also some budget headphones offering decent performance for the money. So, there will be something for everyone and you should keep reading and find out everything you need to know about wireless TV headphones. Even if you don’t find a pair of headphones that you like on this list, you will know what to look for in terms of technical characteristics and performance and that will definitely make your search much easier.
Wired or Wireless – Which Type of Headphones Is Better for Watching TV?
Except the obvious (the cable or the lack of cable) there are a few more differences between wired and wireless headphones – sound quality, compatibility, battery (or the lack of battery), portability, comfort, and price. In the end, your choice will always depend on your preferences and nothing else but we are still going to mention all the important differences and give you some pieces of advice depending on your needs.
First of all, wireless headphones have no cables and that’s the most important feature for the majority of people. We all want more freedom and that’s what we get with wireless headphones. Along with more freedom comes more comfort – if you don’t want to trip over cables every day and if you are tired of detangling cables every time you want to use the headphones, wireless headphones are a much better choice for watching TV (or for listening to music). You should also consider the fact that if you are going to use wired headphones, you will need some cable extenders (unless you don’t mind watching TV from a 3ft distance) which means that there will be cables all over your room and that’s not a nice picture. So, in terms of functionality and comfort, wireless headphones are winners.
When it comes to sound quality, wired headphones still offer better performance than wireless but the difference is not huge and if you are not an audiophile, you won’t mind slightly less impressive sound quality. We have to mention that some manufacturers, especially those we all know (Sennheiser, Bose, Sony) have managed to manufacture some pretty amazing wireless models with incredible sound but they also cost a lot.
Compatibility may be an issue with wireless headphones, especially if you decide to buy Bluetooth headphones. Even if you have some new smart TV with built-in Bluetooth, there is a chance that they won’t be compatible. You won’t be having this kind of problem with wired headphones since the majority of TVs, no matter how old or how new they are, have 3.5mm (headphone) output that is universally compatible with all the wired headphones. Bluetooth should also be universally compatible but for some reason, that’s not always the case so if you decide to buy Bluetooth headphones, it would be smart to buy a Bluetooth transmitter that is compatible with your headphones (unless you are certain that Bluetooth headphones you want to buy are compatible with your TV).
Battery is another important difference between wired and wireless headphones. Wired headphones don’t need battery in order to work (unless they have ANC (Active Noise Canceling) feature) while wireless headphones are always battery-powered. Considering the fact that there are some wireless headphones that could be used for 10 to 20 hours per one charge, the fact that they need batteries in order to work is not such a big flaw since you are probably not going to use them for 10 or 20 hours straight.
Price is another important difference. Wireless headphones are, in general, more expensive than wired but the prices are definitely not that high as they were before and you can find an excellent pair of headphones for less than $100. Our list proves that.
One more difference between wired and wireless TV headphones (and this one is of crucial importance for your listening experience) is sound delay or latency. With wired headphones, you won’t be experiencing any sound delay no matter what brand of headphones you buy. Wireless headphones are a bit tricky when it comes to this issue, especially Bluetooth headphones. If you’ve already made a decision and you want to buy a pair of wireless TV headphones, this is the most important thing. Some Bluetooth headphones don’t support aptX low latency codec which is a must if you don’t want to experience annoying sound delays. Pay attention to this fact and don’t buy Bluetooth headphones that don’t support it. Your TV also has to support this codec. The other option is to buy a Bluetooth transmitter that supports aptX. With other types of wireless headphones (RF and IR), you won’t be having this kind of problem (but there are some other issues and we are going to talk about them, too).
Types of Wireless Headphones for TV
Bluetooth headphones are the most common type of TV headphones because of its versatility and omnipresence but it’s not the only one. This part of our article is dedicated to different types of wireless headphones for TV.
RF (Radio Frequency) Headphones
RF headphones are pretty similar to Bluetooth headphones. There are only two important differences – they work on different frequencies and they need a base (transmitter) in order to work. You have to connect your TV with your transmitter in order to make the headphones work. You can connect them through RCA or 3.5mm outputs (analog) or through digital optical audio output or coaxial audio output (digital) depending on the types of connection available on your TV and on the transmitter. Digital types of connection are always preferred if you have that option. The good thing about RF headphones is that they don’t cause any sound delay but the bad thing is that they sometimes produce annoying and loud static noise (usually when you are too far away from the transmitter). Another issue (but this one is, more or less, common for all the wireless headphones) is that RF signal can’t pass through multiple walls. In terms of signal strength, Bluetooth headphones might be a slightly worse option than RF headphones (in general).
As we’ve said, Bluetooth is the most common type of wireless connection and it is ubiquitous. There are many reasons why you should buy Bluetooth headphones and one of the most important is that you can pair them with a bunch of your devices (not only with your TV) without any additional equipment (such as an additional transmitter). You should know that not all the Bluetooth headphones are a good choice for TV watching. The reason is the fact that not all the Bluetooth headphones support aptX low latency Bluetooth profile. To summarize, some Bluetooth headphones will be perfect for listening to music but only those that support aptX low latency profile will be a viable option for TV watching.
IR (Infrared) Headphones
IR headphones are the least popular type of wireless headphones. These headphones work in the same way as RF headphones – you need to connect the IR transmitter to your TV. This transmitter sends an infrared signal to your headphones. The biggest problem with these headphones is that you have to be in line of sight (there must be absolutely no obstacles between the headphones and the transmitter). The sound quality is not great, too. Because of these two issues (and because of the development of Bluetooth technology), the production of IR TV headphones has been discontinued.
10 Best Wireless Headphones for TV – Comparison Table
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General Classification of Wireless Headphones by The Size and Type of Their Cups
It might be a good idea to mention this general classification of headphones and give you some advice on what type is the best choice for TV watching.
All the headphones (wired-wireless) can be classified into 3 groups – over-ear (full-size), on-ear, and in-ear (earbuds). They can all be used for watching TV and it all depends on your preferences but if you want them to be comfortable, then full-size headphones are the best choice (at least, that’s what majority of people prefer). Full-size headphones also offer the best audio performance. Because of these two reasons, the most of headphones on our list are full-size headphones.
All the full-size headphones can be classified (by the type of cups) into three groups – open-back, semi-open, and closed-back headphones. Closed-back headphones offer better isolation and prevent sound leakage, so if you don’t want to annoy people around you with all the sound leakage, closed-back headphones are the best choice. If you don’t have to pay attention to sound leakage, open-back and semi-open headphones are equally good choices (and they also allow your ears to breath which makes them a little bit more comfortable).
1. Sennheiser RS120 On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones
Sennheiser has become one of the synonyms for quality when it comes to audio equipment. RS 120 headphones are a bit older model but they are still one of the most popular models and one of Sennheiser’s bestsellers. Of course, one of the main contributing factors to its popularity is its price – RS 120 headphones are one of the best TV headphones under $100. You can find RS120 headphones for less than $75 (or even less than $60 if you are lucky).
What’s in the box?
RS120 headphones come in an original Sennheiser box. The packaging is quite rich – you will find there one pair of headphones (you can buy another pair separately and use both pairs simultaneously with the same base), headphone base (transmitter) which is, at the same time, a charging station, one audio cable with RCA jacks (cable is connected to the base and it’s not removable), RCA to 3.5mm adapter, gold-plated 3.5mm to 6.3 (1/4 inch) adapter, power supply wall adapter, a pair of NiMH rechargeable batteries, quick start guide, safety guide, and a 2-year warranty card.
Things we like
An elegant design is pretty much what you can expect from Sennheiser. These headphones are not flashy in any way – Sennheiser tends to keep the things nice and simple and RS120 TV headphones are no different. Headphone base is another story – Sennheiser wanted it to look equally elegant and you may like it but there are some practical issues when it comes to using the base for charging and you can read about that in the next section. As far as design is concerned, the base is maybe a little bit bulky and unusual with that charging metal bar at the top but it still looks interesting.
Headphones are well-padded and there’s also a thick layer of padding on the headband. You will see two gaps (metal parts) on the headband padding designed for wireless charging. Pads are made of some spongy material (not leather or velour). Considering the padding material and the fact that RS120 are on-ear headphones you can’t expect perfect comfort – you will have to take them off after 3-4 hours of using and let your ears rest but for the price the amount comfort you get is satisfying. The headphones are also lightweight and don’t put much pressure on your head and the headband is adjustable.
Both headphones and base are made of plastic with some metal parts. Headphones look and feel pretty durable and sturdy but the charging station should’ve been a bit more stable (we will elaborate on this issue in the next section). The good thing about these headphones is that you don’t have to buy completely new pair of headphones if the batteries don’t hold charge anymore (this is the case with most of the other headphones on the market) – you just have to buy new NiMH batteries, open the left earcup (you just have to clip it out) and replace them.
Battery life is one of the great things about these headphones. You will be able to watch a TV or listen to music for up to 20 hours per one charge (depending on the volume level) which is more than great battery performance. When you don’t use the headphones, you can place them on the charging dock but you have to aim well and make sure that metal bars (those at the top of the charging station) go into the headband gaps. If you don’t do this right, headphones will not charge. If you place the headphones correctly, charging LED indicator will light red (that means that the batteries are charging). When the batteries are fully charged, the LED indicator will turn off.
RS120 base (transmitter) features only analog inputs and you can connect it to one of the analog outputs on your TV (RCA AUDIO OUT, 3.5mm, 6.3mm) and if you have a TV with digital output ports only, you will need some DAC (Digital to Audio Converter) with RCA or/and 3.5mm output ports and digital or/and coaxial inputs. These headphones don’t support Bluetooth technology and they broadcast audio through radio signals. The base can be set to one of three frequencies (channels) – 926, 927, 928 MHz (these are the channels for headphones bought in the US; in other countries, Sennheiser RS120 transmitter can be set to broadcast signal through different channels depending on the regulation and legislative of that country). You can change the transmission channel on the base – there is a switch right at the bottom and you can choose one of these three positions. Three channels are there in case you have two or three devices working on the same frequency. If that’s the case, you can avoid any interference by selecting a different frequency (channel). The range of RS120 is pretty amazing – you can be as far as 300ft from the base and still get a good signal without white or static noise (if there are no obstacles). Depending on the circumstances, this range gets shorter but it is still impressive. For example, you can go away from the TV and make a sandwich in your kitchen and there will be no signal loss (but you may have to use the tuning knob on the right headphone to eliminate static noise since any significant change of position requires some fine tuning just like radio).
When it comes to sound quality, you can be assured that Sennheiser doesn’t make crappy headphones. RS120 are definitely not the best headphones ever made by Sennheiser but considering the price, they offer engaging listening experience. There is a perfect amount of bass and mids are detailed and clean. Highs are maybe not clean enough (especially at high volume) but even with this small issue in mind, we can say that RS120 headphones offer great audio quality, probably the best within this price range (under $100 or under $80).
Things we don’t like
There are some flaws we would like to mention but only one of them is really annoying and many users have been complaining about that issue.
Auto OFF function is the most annoying thing about RS120. If there is no sound for a minute or two (Sennheiser says 5 minutes, but it seems shorter than that), the transmitter will shut off automatically and you will hear quite deafening static noise coming from the headphones. Now, we can’t say that the idea behind this solution is bad. Sennheiser wanted to save power and battery life, but this noise coming from the headphones can be really scary.
The other issue we would like to discuss is the base (transmitter/charging station). Our opinion is that this base should have been a bit heavier and more stable since you have to use it to charge your headphones. This base looks kind of fragile. Also, if you don’t place the headphones correctly and if the weight is not evenly distributed, both headphones and base will collapse.
2. RIF6 Wireless Over-Ear TV Headphones with RF Transmitter
RIF6 is young and lesser-known audio equipment manufacturer but one pair of its wireless TV headphones deserve to be on this list. We are assuming that this is another Asian (probably Chinese) generic brand but that doesn’t mean that they can’t make a decent product. RIF6 Wireless TV headphones are budget headphones with a pretty good price-quality ratio.
What’s in the box?
RIF 6 headphones come in a large box with the RIF6 logo on it and all the important features listed at the back. Inside the box, you will find one pair of headphones, base (transmitter/charging dock), power supply adapter, RCA to RCA audio cable, RCA to 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5 to 3.5mm auxiliary cable, two rechargeable batteries and a short user manual.
Things we like
Both headphones and transmitter are completely black and look nice and stylish. The most unusual thing regarding the design are the earpads and earcups which are square-shaped. On the left earcup, you will find a power button, two volume buttons, a small LED indicator, and mute button. At the bottom of this earcup, you will also find 3.5mm jack which means that you can use these headphones in wired mode, too. You should insert the batteries into the left earcup (you have to remove the earpad before inserting batteries). On the front side of the base, there is only one LED indicator (power and charge indicator). At the top of the base, there are charging pins, and at the back, there are 2 RCA audio inputs (right and left channel), ON/OFF button, and power socket.
The headphones look quite sturdy but have in mind that they are completely made of plastic. The headband is probably the weakest part – that plastic simply looks too brittle. Some might even say that these headphones look kind of cheap because of all that plastic. All in all, you will get what you paid for and for the price (and these can be bought for about $50) they seem durable enough. We should also mention that both the earpads and the batteries are replaceable. That means that you don’t have to buy a new pair of headphones if the earpads get worn off or if the batteries don’t hold a charge.
Just like Sennheiser RS120, RIF6 headphones use 2 NiMH batteries. They offer up to 20 hours of listening per charge and this is one of the good things about them. When you don’t use them, you should turn the headphones off and place them on the charging station. You have to do this correctly – charging contacts on the headband have to touch charging pins on the base. When the battery is low, the LED indicator on the left earcup will blink red and you will hear a beeping sound every minute.
The base has only RCA inputs, and you will get RCA to RCA and RCA to 3.5mm cables so if your TV doesn’t have analog outputs, you will have to buy DAC and digital optical audio cable or coaxial cable (these things are not included in the package). 2.4GHz frequency is used for transmission and there are 31 channels available. You don’t have to tune the headphones manually (that was the case with Sennheiser RS120) or to choose the channel on the base, it’s all automatic which is pretty useful but there are some problems with the frequency itself and you can read about that in the section below. The advertised range is up to 100ft, but in reality, you will get 50ft max.
Sound quality is not exceptional but it’s more than enough to completely immerse you in the movie you are watching. Bass is punchy, mids and highs are articulate, and there is almost no distortion. They don’t get incredibly loud but the available amount of loudness is just perfect for people with normal hearing. RIF6 headphones are not noise-canceling but they manage to isolate good amount of background noise.
Things we don’t like
Even though RIF6 are over-ear headphones, we can’t say that they are truly comfortable. There are so many things we don’t like about the comfort. First of all, the clamping force is too strong and your ears will sweat and hurt a lot. Second, padding on the headband is too thin – the worst part is the central part of the headband (where all the charging contacts are located). After about two or three hours of wearing, you will have to take them off and rest your ears and head.
We have mentioned that there is a problem regarding connectivity. To be precise, the problem is the frequency itself. 2.4GHz is used for broadcast by the headphone base but it is also the frequency used by many wireless home routers. A significant number of customers complained about interference (between the router and the base signal). This interference usually causes your router to ‘’choke’’ and your internet connection may become much slower. One of the solutions is to set your router to another frequency (in case you have a dual-band router). You can also choose a different channel for broadcast on your router or use wired internet connection.
Auto OFF feature that we’ve mentioned previously (in RS120 review) is present here too, and it’s equally annoying. Whenever there is no sound for a minute (a quiet scene during a movie, for example), the base will turn off automatically and that could ruin your listening experience.
3. Sony MDRRF985RK Wireless RF Headphone
Sony is one of the big players in the audio industry and along with Sennheiser, it is the most popular brand when it comes to wireless TV headphones. Sony’s bestseller in this category are MDR-RF985RK headphones. Their greatest features are comfort, battery life, and sound quality.
What’s in the box?
MDR-RF985RK headphones come with an original Sony box. Inside the packaging, you will find Sony headphones, base (transmitter/charging dock), RCA to 3.5mm cable, user manual, quick start guide, and 1-year warranty (for parts).
Things we like
The headphones and the base are black and that’s the only color available. They look simple but very stylish. There is a volume knob at the bottom of the left earcup and right next to it, you will find an auto-tuning button (you can use it in case there is some interference or some hissing noise to tune the signal and get clearer sound). On the right earcup, there are power switch and LED indicator. All the controls are simple and easy to use. On the front side of the base, there is only one LED indicator. Charging dock for wireless charging is at the top of it and all the input ports are at the back (RCA and 3.5mm) along with power socket and channel switch.
These Sony headphones are probably the most comfortable pair of headphones on the list. There are really thick layers of padding on the earpads and on the headband (except the middle part of the headband where charging connectors are located). The headphones are kind of bulky, earpads look huge and cover the whole ear. The headband is adjustable but even people with bigger heads won’t need to extend it. That’s maybe our only complaint when comfort is concerned – some people might find the headband too big.
The headphones have that plasticky feel since every part is made of plastic – they definitely don’t excel in durability department.
MDR-RF985RK headphones have an extremely long-lasting battery. Unlike Sennheiser RS120 and RIF6, the battery is not replaceable and once it stops holding charge, you will have to buy a new pair of headphones. Battery on these headphones offers up to 25 hours of constant listening experience per one charge. Just like all the previously mentioned RF headphones, you can place these on the charging dock when you don’t use them but you have to place them correctly – there has to be a contact between that gap on the headband and the charging dock.
Base (transmitter) has RCA and 3.5mm audio port and RCA to 3.5mm cable is included. If you have RCA output port on your TV you can plug RCA jacks into your TV and 3.5mm jack into your base. If you don’t have RCA output ports, you can use 3.5mm port on your TV and RCA input ports on the base. If your TV has only digital output ports, you will have to buy DAC and digital optical audio cable or coaxial cable.
The base transmits radio signal through 3 channels (915.5 MHz, 916MHz, 916.5MHz) and you can shift between channels by changing the position of channel switch (at the back of the base). If you get a clear signal with the first frequency (channel) you don’t have to change the channel and if there is a little bit of hissing noise you can try to fine-tune the signal by pressing the auto-tune button on the right earcup. If there is too much interference with some other wireless device working on the same frequency, you can try changing the channel. If there are no obstacles (walls and other objects) the range of these headphones is 150ft. If there are obstacles, the range shortens but it is still long enough to allow you to go to kitchen, bathroom, or walk from one room to another.
Sound quality is very good. There is enough bass to bring some sound effects (like explosions, gunshots, etc.) to life. Mids and highs are articulate, they are detailed and very clear. Voices are well-balanced and clear. Audio-video synchronization is usually not an issue with RF headphones and these headphones are not an exception. There is maybe just a little bit distortion at higher volumes but it’s not alarming. MDR – RF985RK headphones leak a small amount of sound and manage to isolate a good portion of background noise. There are 10 volume levels, and anything above 8 is really loud.
Things we don’t like
If we would have to be picky, we could say that the bass could be tighter and that the mids and highs could be more refined and cleaner but our only real complaint is about the price. These headphones are slightly overpriced. In our opinion, a reasonable price would be around $100 and if you manage to find them on a sale for less than $100, then you should definitely buy them.
4. Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System
We’ve already said that Sennheiser is one of the most popular brands of TV headphones. This is one more model from the RS series but unlike RS 120 this one is a bit more of a high-end model (there are some new features like digital optical input, bass boost, surround sound, etc.). The thing that doesn’t seem so great about this model is its price. There is no doubt that this is a fine pair of headphones with a very good sound quality but you will have to pay almost $250 for that kind quality.
What’s in the box?
The headphones come in a nicely designed cardboard box along with the base unit (transmitter/charging station), power supply unit with adapters for American, European, British, and Australian users, 2 rechargeable NiMH batteries, 1.5m long digital optical cable, 2m long 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, quick start guide, safety guide, user manual, and 2-year warranty.
Things we like
Both the headphones and the base unit look quite elegant. They are available in only one color (color combination) – black with silver details.
Headphones look a bit bulky but they are not too heavy. The control buttons are on the right earcup. There are four buttons arranged in a circle – BASS BOOST button, SURROUND SOUND button (three modes – OFF, LOW, and HIGH), and two volume buttons. At the bottom of the earcup, there is also a power button which is also a mute button (you have to hold it for at least two seconds to turn them on/off or press it shortly when the headphones are turned on to mute the sound). Right next to the power button, there is a small LED indicator.
The base is also used as a charging dock and a headphone stand. On the front panel of the base, there are charging status indicator at the top (it lights red in charging mode, green when the batteries are charged), BASS BOOST and SURROUND buttons in the middle with two LED lights indicating the SURROUND SOUND mode, and power button at the bottom (this button also features green LED indicator – solid green means that the signal is being transmitted and flashing green means that you should check the source or the base input ports). On the rear panel of the base unit, you will find a digital optical audio input (at the top), digital-analog switch (in the middle), and 3.5mm jack and power supply socket (at the bottom). The fact that you have digital and analog inputs means that you can connect two different sources to the base (for example, you can connect your TV through digital optical cable, and your phone, PC, or iPad through 3.5mm audio cable) and simply shift between these two sources by using the digital-analog switch.
The headphones look very well-made. Hard industrial plastic is used for most of the parts but there are also some aluminum reinforcements. Users usually don’t complain about durability and construction quality of Sennheiser’s products and Sennheiser manages to justify its reputation every time. The only thing we would like to notice is that the earpad paddings get worn off after a year of using (luckily, earpads are replaceable).
The headphones use two Ni-MH batteries (one battery in each earcup). The batteries can last for up to 18 hours per one charge which is more than enough. It’s a little bit annoying that the initial charge takes 16 hours (that’s recommended initial charging time) which means that you don’t get to use the headphones immediately after arrival but you have to wait for one whole day. After the initial charging, you don’t have to charge them for 16 hours but charging still takes long (about 8 hours). The good thing about the batteries is that you don’t have to buy a new pair of headphones if the batteries stop holding charge – you can simply buy new AAA batteries.
We have already discussed some connectivity features and you know that you can have two different audio sources connected to the base.
Base uses Wi-Fi frequency (2.40 – 2.48Ghz) for broadcast which is not the best choice if you have some piece of Wi-Fi equipment (home wireless router) nearby. Sennheiser made a recommendation to keep your router away from the base (at least 10ft away). You can also connect your other devices to the internet through cables and avoid the interference. The range is around 100m (330ft) when the headphones and base are in line of sight (no obstacles). When you are in your apartment (house), the range is shorter (because of the walls and other objects) but you can roam from room to kitchen, bathroom, etc. without signal loss (the only problem could be the interference (between router and base signals) and we will discuss this issue in the next section).
We love the sound of Sennheiser headphones in general, and RS 175 are not an exception. You will really enjoy the clarity and perfect balance they provide. Voices are crystal-clear, the bass is punchy and not overwhelming, highs are articulate and clean. Considering the fact that RS 175 are over-ear headphones, you will get decent noise isolation (but they are not ANC headphones). There is some sound leakage at high volumes – it’s not too much, but the person sitting next to you will definitely be able to hear what you are listening to.
Maybe it’s a thing of personal preference, but we don’t like the BASS BOOST option because it makes the low-end tones too ‘’boomy’’ and unnatural. It doesn’t make sound effects greater and it doesn’t bring them to life.
SURROUND SOUND option is maybe a bit better than BASS BOOST. You can choose between three modes – OFF, LOW, HIGH. These are three different types of sound enhancement that should make you more immersed into the movie but the thing is that you can’t quite accurately pinpoint where the sound is coming from and we can’t say that SURROUND SOUND feature works flawlessly. Still, it boosts that immersive feel and it’s nice to have it turned on when watching movies.
Things we don’t like
RS 175 are not nearly as comfortable as we would like them to be. Clamping force is too strong and there is too much pressure on the ears and on the head. Also, ears don’t have a chance to breathe and they get sweaty and sore after 3-4 hours of wearing. The facts that the paddings (on the earpads and headband) are really thick and seem soft, and that the headband is adjustable don’t improve the comfort enough.
The headphones are calibrated to automatically adjust the volume during loud scenes and this function can be extremely annoying. Don’t be surprised if you experience a sudden drop in volume during explosions and other loud sound effects.
When using headphones in analog mode, a quiet static noise might appear. It’s more noticeable when the audio is not being transmitted. This doesn’t happen when the base is in digital mode.
Since the base uses Wi-Fi frequency, interference with Wi-Fi Routers is always possible. In some cases, your internet speed will get really low. The headphones will also start acting strange and you will experience occasional signal loss. Try to keep your base (and headphones) as far away as possible from the Wi-Fi router.
5. Avantree Bluetooth Over-Ear Foldable Headphones with Mic and APTX LOW LATENCY codec
Avantree is only a few years old Chinese audio and wireless equipment company. Their headphones are very popular, especially because of the price-quality ratio. To put it simply, they offer decent quality for more than affordable price. You should not expect some high-end product, incredibly immersive listening experience or anything like that but their headphones do the job and they do it well. Avantree Audio Pro with aptX low latency codec is the most advanced Avantree headphone model and it is one of the most expensive Avantree’s products. Still, compared to the prices of other wireless TV headphones, Avantree Audition Pro can be considered budget headphones.
What’s in the box?
Avantree Audition Pro headphones come in a premium box. Inside the box, you will find black carrying case and inside this case, you will find your headphones, 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5mm to 6.3mm gold-plated adapter, USB to micro USB charging cable with, airline adapter, user manual, and 2-year warranty.
Things we like
Avantree Audition Pro headphones are probably one of the best-looking headphones on this list. They are really visually appealing and everything about them looks premium. The headband is covered with faux leather (black on top, brown at the bottom), there are nice-looking golden details on the hinges, simple Avantree logo on the right earcup and control buttons and ports on the left earcup.
On the left earcup, there are 3 control buttons – multifunction button (power on/off, pairing button, play/pause button (for music playback), answer/reject button, redial button), and two volume buttons (also used for track management). At the bottom of the earcup, there is one micro USB port (for charging), one 3.5mm port, and NFC tag (easier and quicker pairing for Android users). There is also a small LED indicator.
The earcups are made of plastic but they feel pretty solid, hinges connecting the earcups and the headband are made of some kind of aluminum and they make the headphones look good but also make them more durable. Users haven’t been complaining about the build-quality in the past and we can say with certainty that these are able to withstand some heavy use.
Avantree did a great job in the comfort department. The headphones are very lightweight, headband and earpads are well-padded, paddings are very soft and pleasant, the headband can be adjusted, and the earcups can swivel. The headphones are also foldable which makes them more portable.
Battery is definitely the best feature of Avantree Audition Pro headphones (along with comfort). You will get up to 40 hours of listening (at 50% volume) or up to 20hours at maximum volume. Battery is rechargeable and charging takes up to 3 hours. The bad thing is that you can’t replace the battery yourself – if it stops holding charge, you have to buy a new pair of headphones.
Audition Pro Headphones feature Bluetooth 4.1 with a standard Bluetooth range of 33ft. The connection is quite stable and, in some cases, you may get even up to 40ft. Signal loss happens only if you are out of range. When you are within the range, there are no problems. Every pair of Bluetooth TV headphones is, in a way, a multifunction device. You can connect it not only to your TV but to any Bluetooth-enabled device. It is possible to connect these headphones to two phones simultaneously (multipoint connection). NFC pairing is also possible but only if you have NFC-enabled device (Android phones). The headphones are just fine (but not perfect) for watching YouTube videos on your phone or PC. There was some sound delay at the beginning of the video, but everything was synched in a few seconds. Avantree recommends buying its Bluetooth transmitter with enabled aptX Low Latency profile if you want to pair it with TV but if your TV features Bluetooth, you can try the headphones without additional Bluetooth transmitter (there is a possibility that you won’t be able to pair all types of TVs with these headphones unless you get this transmitter and that’s quite annoying). When you pair your headphones and your TV you will know that aptX Low Latency mode is active by the blinking of LED indicator on the left earcup (if aptX Low Latency is on, white LED light will blink twice every 7 seconds; if some other mode is active LED will blink blue, or it will blink white but the blinking rhythm will be different).
The headphones also feature voice prompts that will guide you through the process of pairing. They will also warn you if the battery is low or if you have reached the maximum volume. These prompts can be annoying after some time. If you want to turn them off, you have to press multifunction button and volume down button simultaneously. To turn them back on, press simultaneously multifunction button and volume up button.
We can’t say that we are amazed by the sound quality. They are heavy on bass but not in a pleasant way. It’s kind of ‘’boomy” especially when the BASS BOOST function is activated (you can activate it by pressing Volume UP and Volume DOWN buttons simultaneously). Low midrange (some deep male voices) are also problematic and sound kind of boxy. The rest of the mid-range, as well as high-end tunes, are clean. Headphones like Sennheiser RS 120 are within the same price range as Avantree Audition Pro and offer much better sound quality so if you need headphones only for your TV, we would recommend RS 120, but if you need headphones that could be used for different things and that are more portable (RS 120 headphones, just like any other RF headphones, are not really portable because of the base/transmitter) you should buy Bluetooth headphones. Avantree Audition Pro are not the best Bluetooth TV headphones on the market, but if your budget spans from, let’s say, $70 to $100, they are one of the best choices.
It doesn’t hurt to repeat our observations about audio-video synchronization –we’ve tried to watch a YouTube video on a Samsung smartphone (Galaxy S8) and audio and video were not synced at first but after 2 or 3 seconds everything was fine and there was no noticeable delay. This issue happened only once. After that, everything was fine. Our TV doesn’t feature Bluetooth and we had to use Avantree Bluetooth transmitter with aptX Low Latency Codec, and there was no any delay.
Things we don’t like
These headphones leak incredible amount of sound. The fact that they are closed-back doesn’t make much difference. If you increase the volume above 50%, the person sitting next to you will hear what you are listening to and if you increase the volume to 100%, that person will hear every single word coming from the headphones loud and clear.
Avantree Audition Pro headphones feature a built-in mic and you can make and receive calls while wearing them, but we are not quite happy with it. The person you are talking to will understand what you are saying (so, it is not completely useless), but your voice will be distorted and kind of strange.
6. Sennheiser SET840 -TV RF Stereo TV Assistive Listening Headphones System
What a surprise – another Sennheiser product on the list. This one looks like a stethoscope but it’s not, it’s a ‘’stethoset’’ and it is specially designed for those with impaired hearing (unilateral hearing impairment, age-related hearing loss, etc.). People with all kinds of hearing damage all around the world are very happy with this product (although there are some annoying issues regarding comfort) and that’s why we decided to present to you Sennheiser SET840 radio frequency TV headphones. The fact that they are specially designed for people with hearing loss doesn’t mean that people with normal hearing can’t use them.
What’s in the box?
Inside the Sennheiser SET840 box, you will find one pair of stethoscope-like headphones with huge volume knob at the bottom, a transmitter which is at the same time a charging station and a headphone stand, power supply unit with 4 different types of power adapters (for US, EU, UK, and AU markets), one 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5mm to 6.3mm gold-plated adapter, RCA adapter and SCART adapter, microphone, 2 pairs of additional (spare) ear tips (only one made of foam), user manual and 2-year warranty card.
Things we like
SET 840 headphones look quite odd. Headphones designed like these are often called ‘’TV Ears’’. They look interesting, but we can’t say that you will like them – it depends on your taste and aesthetical criteria. The headphones are available in one color combination – black with blue details and white Sennheiser logo on the headphones and on the transmitter.
‘’Stethoset’’ headphones have black ear bows covered with some kind of silicone or rubber. They feel quite strong and durable. The headphones are turned on automatically by splitting the ear bows. At the bottom, there’s a pretty large circular attachment with volume controls on the front side with really large numbers (volume levels) written on it. At the back of this part, there are balance knob (you can use it to adjust the volume on the left and right side in case you have unilateral hearing damage) and channel search button (the transmitter can broadcast audio through 3 different channels or frequencies and you can shift between these channels and find the one that suits you best). The battery is located at the bottom of that circular attachment and can be removed and/or replaced.
The base unit (transmitter) is made of plastic and it is very light but still looks solidly built. On the top panel, right in the middle, there are charging compartment for the ‘’stethoset’’ headphones with a LED charging indicator below (red when the battery is being charged, green when it’s fully charged). Below the LED charging indicator, there is power indicator. On the left side, you will see ‘’speech intelligibility’’ button. This is the thing that makes this pair of headphones special. There are 3 modes – ‘’compression’’ mode (channel 1 – it will boost the quiet sounds and reduce the volume of loud ones and it’s designed for people with age-related hearing issues), ‘’treble boost” mode (channel 2 – it will boost high-frequency sound and it’s also designed for people with age-related hearing issues), and ‘’compression and bass boost’’ mode (combines the effects of channel 1 and channel 2 enhancements). On the right side of the transmitter, there is one more charging compartment for another battery (you can buy a spare battery for additional $30) and another charging LED indicator.
At the back of the transmitter, you will find 3.5mm input port, stereo-mono switch, additional treble adjustment control (you have to use a screwdriver to adjust the treble), channel switch (if there is some interference on one channel, you can switch to the second or to the third one), and DC connector.
The headphones have a fairly durable battery. You will be able to listen to music or to watch TV for 9 hours straight per one charge. A spare battery is available for only $30 and it will provide you with nine additional hours of listening. Recharge takes only 3 hours
Headphones have an impressive range of 100m (330ft) without obstacles. This is more than enough for normal use. The signal will travel through walls without any problem – you can go to the kitchen, have a snack, go to your bedroom and still listen to your TV without any signal loss. We haven’t noticed any issues regarding connectivity. In order to connect the transmitter to your TV, you can use 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable (3.5mm port is the only input port on the transmitter) and you can use different adapters (RCA, SCART, 3.5mm) for your TV.
The sound is well-balanced. Lows are nice and punchy and mids and highs are clean and articulate. We preferred the sound without ‘’sound intelligibility” enhancements but based on other users’ experience, these enhancements are very much appreciated by the people with hearing impairment.
Things we don’t like
The most criticized thing about these headphones is the comfort. Some users didn’t like the ear tips, especially those made of silicone. Foam ear tips are slightly more comfortable, but there is something about the shape of the tips that make them uncomfortable and ear fatigue is inevitable. Some people also complained about the weight they put on ears since they have to hang onto your ears all the time.
The other thing we don’t appreciate is the price. They are quite expensive and maybe a bit overpriced. Still, if you really liked them or if you have some kind of hearing impairment, we highly recommend Sennheiser SET840.
7. Artiste ADH300 Wireless Headphones for TV with RF Transmitter
Artiste is another Chinese brand on the market, although the name sounds kind of French. Artiste produces all kinds of wireless audio equipment. Like most of the other Chinese companies, they make affordable products and you shouldn’t expect some high-quality sound from these headphones but they do the job and the performance is more than satisfying for the price you pay.
What’s in the box?
ADH300 headphones come in a nicely designed packaging with the picture of the headphones on the front side and bunch of technical info at the back. The packaging looks quite premium. Inside the box, you will find your headphones, transmitter (also used as a charging dock), 3.5mm to 3.5mm audio cable, 3.5mm to RCA adapter, 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, power supply adapter, two NiMH rechargeable batteries, and user manual. We didn’t get any warranty card and that was kind of odd.
Things we like
Both the headphones and the base look really nice and stylish. They are black with silver details and that’s the only available color combination.
Headphones are entirely made of plastic that seems fragile but that’s only our impression. The fact is that there were no complaints in the past regarding durability. Earpads have a thick and soft layer of padding and they really feel comfortable. The headband is not completely padded, but the layer of padding in the middle is more than enough to provide comfort during multiple hours of listening. Clamping force is not too strong and it doesn’t put too much pressure on your ears. These are over-ear headphones which means that there will be some sweating and that’s the only bad thing regarding the comfort. There’s a power button on the right earcup and two volume buttons and LED pairing indicator on the left one. Charging contacts are located at the bottom of both cups.
The transmitter is also made of plastic and it looks kind of bulky. On the front panel, you will see two LED indicators (Power and Charge). Charge indicator light green when the headphones are charging and when the charging is over, the light will turn off. When you take the headphones from the charging dock, power indicator will light red indicating that the transmitter is turned on. Charging docks are at the top and inside these docks, there are small charging pins. Pins have to match the charging contacts on the headphones in order for charging to start. At the back of the transmitter, you will see only two RCA input ports (red and white) and DC socket.
Artiste ADH300 headphones use 2 rechargeable batteries that should be inserted into one of the earcups (you have to remove the earpad first). Artiste claims that these batteries can offer up to 20 hours of listening but we’ve managed to get about 8 hours which is still very good. Initial charging takes 7 hours, and after that, you will need 3-4 hours to fully charge the batteries.
Transmitter uses 2.4GHz frequency to broadcast the audio signal. This frequency is often used by other wireless devices (wireless routers). There have been no complaints regarding interference and Artiste claims that they used ‘’hopping anti-interference technology’’ but you should be aware that interference is theoretically possible. You should try to keep your router and your transmitter in different rooms if possible. Transmitting range is decent for a pair of RF headphones. You will get almost 100ft range (without obstacles) which means that you can walk around the house, you can move from one room to another and still get a good signal.
ADH 300 don’t offer perfect listening experience but it is rather satisfying. It seems to us that these headphones are better for watching TV programs with lots of dialogs than for movies. Voices sound super-clean but the bass doesn’t feel punchy enough and when you turn up the volume to the maximum bass gets too ‘’boomy’’ and distorted. Highs are articulate but not detailed enough. All in all, these headphones offer decent listening experience, but they are not as good as Sennheiser RS120 (the same price range). ADH300 headphones are not ANC headphones but they offer really good noise isolation. They can get loud, but not too loud (don’t expect them to make your ears bleed). Sound leakage occurs when the volume is above, let’s say, 70-80%.
Things we don’t like
The most annoying issue is that you always have to pay attention when placing the headphones into the charging cradle. If you don’t place them right, they won’t charge and you might have to move them left and right (or up and down) until the charging pins and contacts match.
It happens sometimes that the headphones disconnect for no reason and, in some cases, you may have to disconnect and turn off the transmitter and then reconnect the cables and turn it back on.
There is also an issue regarding the automatic volume adjustment. If there is some loud scene in the movie, the volume will be decreased automatically and this can be really annoying.
8. Paww WaveSound 2.1 Bluetooth Over-Ear Foldable Headphones with aptX LOW LATENCY
Paww is one of the growing young audio equipment manufacturers. We assume they are another Asian company on the market. They make wireless (wi-fi and Bluetooth) audio equipment. Paww WaveSound 2.1 headphones are one of their newest models and they feature aptX low latency profile which means that they are a very good choice for gaming and watching TV.
What’s in the box?
The headphones come in a really cool premium box – it looks like there is something really valuable inside. Inside the box, you will find a short user manual and 1-year warranty card at the top, and a sturdy zippered carrying case. Inside the case, there are headphones (they are nicely folded), one auxiliary cable with 3.5mm jacks, and charging cable (USB to micro USB).
Things we like
The first thing you will notice is that Paww really paid attention to the presentation. Everything about these headphones looks stylish, starting from the box they come in. The headphones are available in two colors (color combinations) – black/silver and brown/silver.
Headphones are made of some kind of metal alloy and they feel and look like they can withstand heavy use. The earpads and the headband are covered with thick layers of soft padding and the finish is made of fake leather. Earcups can swivel and pivot, and the headband is adjustable. The weakest parts are probably the hinges connecting the earcups with the headband – they look a bit fragile.
Most of the control buttons are on the left earcup – built-in mic, micro USB port, Bluetooth indicator, Volume -/previous track button, Bluetooth (pairing) button, and Volume +/next track button. You will need some time to get used to the buttons arrangement. On the right earcup, you will see ON/OFF switch, 3.5mm port (you can use these headphones in wired mode, too), and power indicator.
The headphones feature one rechargeable Li-Ion battery which performs surprisingly well. For this price, we didn’t expect them to last that long per one charge – you will get up to 16 hours of listening at moderate volume (around 11 at maximum volume). Recharge takes 3-4 hours.
Wavesound 2.1 headphones feature Bluetooth 4.2. Pairing is quick and the process of pairing is simple. You can use them with all kinds of devices – TVs, phones (iPhone, Android), tablets, PCs, basically with any Bluetooth-enabled device. If your TV doesn’t feature Bluetooth, you can use some Bluetooth transmitter (preferably, Bluetooth transmitter with aptX low latency profile supported) and they will work just fine. The headphones are already equipped with this (aptX LLP) Bluetooth profile, and if you use the appropriate transmitter, latency time should not be larger than 40ms (which is practically impossible to notice). You can use these headphones with 2 devices simultaneously. You could have the headphones paired with your TV and with your phone at the same time. Bluetooth range is 33 ft, and the signal is stable for most of the time.
Built-in mic works like a charm. There were no problems at all – hands-free conversation was smooth, the person on the other end could hear everything loud and clear. These headphones are great for making and receiving calls. Be aware that we’ve tested it indoors. Different weather conditions (especially wind), as well as different background noises, could affect the quality of conversation. Headphones are also compatible with personal assistants like Siri and Google.
The sound is clear and well-balanced, but the bass is not punchy enough, at least for our taste. Mids and highs sound clean, they could be a bit more detailed but for the price, the sound is satisfying. Still, if you need a pair of headphones for watching TV (and nothing but that), we would recommend Sennheiser RS 120 (they are within the same price range), but if you need something more portable that can be used outdoors, and you don’t want to spend more than $80, these are very good choice.
Since this article is dedicated to TV headphones, we will repeat the most important facts one more time. Wavesound 2.1 support aptX low latency Bluetooth profile and if it is used with appropriate Bluetooth transmitter (or if your TV features aptX low latency Bluetooth profile), the latency should not be greater than 40ms, which is excellent for a pair of Bluetooth headphones. The sound is more than decent and if you need a pair of Bluetooth headphones (and not RF), Paww Wavesound 2.1 are a very good option.
Things we don’t like
We have already mentioned the hinges. They look weaker than all the other parts of the headphones but this is just our impression and we haven’t tried to break them. If you take a good care of them, you should be fine.
Headphones are also a bit heavy (11.4 ounces or 324g) and that heaviness makes them really uncomfortable after a few hours of wearing.
9. TROND TD-BH01 – Bluetooth Headphones with APTX LOW LATENCY for TV Watching
Trond manufactures small electronic devices – LED lamps, Bluetooth transmitters and receivers, power strips, power banks, USB hubs, different types of cables, and, since recently, Bluetooth headphones. This is another young Chinese company. It’s not nearly as famous and reputable as some big players in the audio industry (Sennheiser, Bose, Sony) and we were (naturally) very suspicious about Trond’s headphones. To our surprise, Trond’s TD-BH01 proved to be a decent pair of Bluetooth headphones for TV with affordable price. There are maybe some flaws that could be deal-breakers for some people (and we are going to list those flaws, too) but for the price, they are a very good choice.
What’s in the box?
TD-BH01 headphones come in a simple cardboard box. Inside this box, you will find hard carrying case and inside the case are Trond headphones and additional equipment. Along with the headphones, you will get micro USB charging cable, auxiliary audio cable (the headphones can be used in wired mode, too), airplane adapter, metal pin for opening the charging port (it looks the same like those pins you get with smartphones), 18-month warranty card, and welcome guide.
Things we like
Trond did a really good job designing these headphones. They are all black with red details (that’s the only color combination) and they look quite stylish.
The headphones are very lightweight (7.58 ounces). The earpads are nicely padded but the layer of padding could be a little bit thicker and there is also some padding in the middle of the headband. The earcups can swivel and the headband is adjustable (stretchable) which additionally improves the comfort and allows them to adjust to the shape of your head. If your ears are larger than regular, they won’t fit nicely into the holes in the earpads and that could cause some discomfort but even if that is the case, you will be able to wear them for at least two hours since the clamping force is not too strong. Like with all the other closed-back and full-size headphones, there is the ear-sweating issue since your ears won’t be able ‘’to breathe’ properly. Resting your ears after a few hours of wearing is recommended.
TD-BH01 look quite sturdy and strong. They are mostly made of plastic, but there are some aluminum reinforcements on the headband and on the hinges connecting the headband and the earcups. They seem to be able to withstand heavy use during long periods of time.
All the control buttons are located on the edges of the left and right earcups. On the left earcup, you will find a built-in mic, small LED light that indicates whether you are paired or not and which codec is currently active (blue – SBC, blue and red – aptX, blue and green – aptX low latency), power/pairing button, two volume buttons (V- and V+), and 3.5mm port for auxiliary cable (in case you want to use them in wired mode). On the right earcup, you will see two track management buttons (previous and next track), play/pause/call button between them, and micro USB charging port.
These headphones feature 500mAh battery which allows you to listen to music or watch a TV for 20-30 hours (it’s closer to 20 when the volume is above 80%). Even if the battery is drained out, you can always use the headphones in wired mode by attaching the audio cable. Recharge takes up to 3 hours and you can also use them while charging (unfortunately, the charging cable is really short).
Pairing is really simple and quick. The headphones feature Bluetooth 4.2 which allows faster data transfer and lower power consumption. After pairing you are ready to go. The advertised Bluetooth range is 33ft and that’s pretty much what you get. There was no signal loss or any other issue regarding the Bluetooth connection and signal strength. Depending on the purpose, different types of codecs will be activated – for example, if you pair them with your TV, aptX low latency codec will be activated and you will know that by looking at the LED indicator on the left earcup (you should see a steady blue and green light). If your TV doesn’t support Bluetooth technology, or if it doesn’t support aptX low latency you will have to buy an additional Bluetooth transmitter or transceiver that supports aptX low latency, preferably the one made by the same company as your headphones. If your TV features Bluetooth but doesn’t support aptX low latency there will be some sound delay and it will be annoying but with the appropriate additional Bluetooth transmitter, latency should be less than 40ms (impossible to notice).
The sound quality is not perfect. Bass seems a little bit overwhelming in normal mode and there is also BASS BOOST mode (you have to tap power button twice while listening) which makes the bass even heavier. Mids and highs suffered because of this kind of bass and they are not perfectly clear (especially at high volumes). If you increase the volume above 70 or 80%, there is some noticeable distortion. If you leave the volume at some moderate level (up to 60%), the sound is much clearer and the bass is not distracting nor too heavy.
All in all, TD-BH01 headphones offer decent sound quality at affordable price. Still, if you are going to use your headphones for watching TV only, we would pick Sennheiser’s RS120 RF headphones over TD-BH01, but if you need a pair of Bluetooth headphones that could be used for watching TV among other things, then TD-BH01 headphones are one of the best options (within this price range).
TD-BH01 headphones don’t offer perfect noise isolation. They manage to isolate a certain amount of background noise but you will still be able to hear most of the things around you unless you crank up the volume. Sound leakage is also an issue but it’s not too alarming.
Things we don’t like
As we have said, these are heavy on bass, and probably too heavy for sensitive ears. We don’t recommend turning on the bass-boost option while watching movies because it’s a little bit distracting.
Trond put a lot of buttons on the earcups, which is a good thing since you have more control over the playback, but the problem is that all these buttons look and feel the same. You could accidentally turn the headphones off or turn on the bass-boost mode while trying to decrease/increase the volume. You will need some time to get used to the buttons arrangement.
10. Sennheiser RS 160 RF Wireless Headphones
We have decided to end our list of 10 Best headphones for TV with another pair of Sennheiser RF TV headphones. These come with a significantly smaller transmitter that can’t be used as charging station nor as a headphone stand but it is more portable and you can use it outdoors (unlike all those other RF transmitters that need to be hooked to the power source all the time, this one can be powered by batteries). Another great feature that stands out is the sound quality which is phenomenal considering the price.
What’s in the box?
Unlike other Sennheiser’s headphones, RS 160 headphones don’t come in a premium box. You will get these packed in a cheap-looking plastic case and that was kind of disappointing – we’ve expected much better presentation from Sennheiser. Of course, that’s not the most important thing but we still had to make a comment. The packaging is rich – along with the headphones, you will get transmitter (much smaller than transmitters that come with other RF headphones made by Sennheiser), four different power adapters (for different countries – Asia, Europe, USA, UK), Y-shaped DC cable for charging (you should plug in the power cable coming from the power adapter into the DC cable socket (F end of Y-cable) and then plug in the other two plugs (M ends of Y-cable) into the transmitter and into the headphones if you need to charge them), 2 rechargeable NiMH batteries (one for each earcup), user guide, safety guide, and 2-year warranty. You won’t get batteries for the transmitter but you can use any alkaline AA batteries (they don’t have to be rechargeable, and even if they are, you will need a separate charging unit).
Things we like
RS 160 headphones feature recognizable Sennheiser design. If you’ve liked any other Sennheiser model you will love these. They look quite stylish and elegant, with black earcups and headband, silver details and glossy finish on the outer earcup (glossy finish makes them a magnet for fingertips). The transmitter is very small and more portable than other RF transmitters. It is also black with silver details and Sennheiser logo on the front side.
The headphones offer decent (not perfect) amount of comfort. The headband and earpads are nicely padded. Padding is thick with a faux leather finish. The headband is also adjustable and it will fit all head sizes.
There are only three control buttons on the right earcup – two volume control buttons and power button between them. The button arrangement is not the best and you could accidentally turn the headphones off while trying to adjust the volume. You will definitely need some time to get used to this arrangement.
The transmitter is also quite minimalistic – on the front side, there is only power button with LED indicator, and at the back, you will see charging socket, 3.5mm input port, and another volume control knob. This volume control knob seems redundant since there are already volume control buttons on the headphones.
Like with all the other Sennheiser’s RF headphones, you will get two rechargeable AAA batteries. The batteries can offer up to 24 hours of listening per charge. In reality, you will get up to 20 hours at 60-70% volume. Recharge takes 16 hours which is too much. You can’t simply leave them on the transmitter (like you can do with RS 120) but you have to plug in the charging cable.
Headphones can be paired with the transmitter easily (just follow the procedure from the quick start guide). The pairing process takes about ten seconds. You can pair up to 4 pairs of headphones with the transmitter and the best thing is that you can use other Sennheiser RF headphones with this transmitter (only those that work on 900Mhz frequencies). The transmitter has only one input (3.5mm) and you will get a standard auxiliary audio cable with 3.5mm jacks which means that you have to plug it into the headphone output on your TV. If you don’t have a headphone output on your TV or you don’t want to use it, you will have to buy some additional equipment but you can make things work. If you want to use RCA output on your TV, you will have to buy an RCA (M) to 3.5mm (F) cable and then plug in RCA jacks into the RCA output ports on your TV, plug in 3.5mm jack into the 3.5mm (F) socket, and plug in the other end of 3.5mm cable that comes with the headphones into the transmitter. If you have only optical outputs on your TV, you will need DAC (digital to analog converter) and digital optical audio cable or coaxial cable.
The RF range is about 60 feet if you are in line of sight (no walls or other obstacles). If you move from one room to another (or to kitchen, or bathroom), the range shortens to about 30ft but it is still more than enough for TV watching. The signal is stable and it stays stable if there are one or two walls between you and the transmitter. Another good thing is that you don’t get that annoyingly loud static noise when you are out of range.
One thing about these headphones that makes them different from other Sennheiser RF headphones is the fact that they are portable. The transmitter can be battery-powered – you just need two AA alkaline batteries. Still, it’s inconvenient to have the transmitter hooked to your phone when walking or doing any other outdoor activity and Bluetooth headphones are definitely much better for outdoor use. To conclude, RS 160 are much more portable than other Sennheiser RF models, but much more inconvenient than Bluetooth headphones.
The thing that’s common for most of the Sennheiser’s headphones is excellent sound quality and these are no different. The sound quality is pretty amazing. It is definitely not neutral, there is a slight emphasis on the bass. Mids and highs are incredibly detailed. Everything sounds perfectly clear and there is practically no noticeable distortion at maximum volume. Considering the price, the sound quality is perfect – these headphones can compete with wired headphones within the same price range.
Things we don’t like
In spite of all the good things and features, we have to criticize the build quality. RS 160 headphones are entirely made of plastic, even the headband extenders. They look extremely fragile, and you will have to treat them with great care.
There is also one smaller comfort-related issue. The earpads have that faux leather finish which makes our ears sweaty and hot after a couple of hours.
We’ve almost come to the end of our article on best wireless headphones for TV but before you make a final decision and buy the headphones let’s go through some important features you should take into consideration.
Things to Pay Attention When Buying Wireless Headphones for TV
The most important features you should take into consideration when buying wireless headphones for TV are basically the same as features you would be considering when buying any pair of wireless headphones – sound quality, connectivity, battery, comfort, build quality. One additional thing you should always pay attention to when buying TV headphones is audio/video synchronization.
Sound quality (voice clarity, (sub)bass quality)
A good pair of headphones for TV should offer nice voice clarity, rich and clean bass, and clean (or at least articulate) highs. There is a lot of bass-heavy wireless headphones on the market but our opinion is that these are not the best choice for watching TV. They are designed for bass-heavy music (drum-n-bass, hip-hop, etc.) but they don’t offer great listening experience when it comes to movies. Sure, the explosions and special effects will sound pretty good, but voices and high-pitched sounds might not be clear enough. This is not a rule, and there are definitely some ‘’bassy” headphones with pretty clean mids and highs but they are also more expensive. In our opinion, if you have to choose between a well-balanced pair of headphones and bass-heavy headphones, buy well-balanced ones. Clean and unmuffled sub-bass is an advantage because it makes different sound effects more ‘’vivid’’.
Connectivity (Number of Different Inputs on The Transmitter and Type of Transmission)
Having a base (transmitter) with a bunch of inputs is always an advantage. It’s always better to have both digital (Digital Optical Audio input, coaxial audio input) and analog (RCA, 3.5mm, 6.35mm) inputs than only one type – that way you will be able to use your headphones with a bunch of TVs and you won’t have to buy any additional equipment. If you decide to buy headphones that come with the transmitter you should always check the available inputs and cables that come with the headphones and compare them with the available outputs on your TV.
The other thing to pay attention is the type of transmission – radio frequency, Bluetooth, infrared. If you buy a pair of RF or IR headphone, the transmitter will be included in the package but if you want a pair of Bluetooth headphones you should check first if your TV features a Bluetooth. If it doesn’t, you will have to buy a Bluetooth transmitter and they are usually not included in the package (you will have to buy a Bluetooth transmitter separately).
You should always check the range and signal quality if you have the opportunity. If you can’t try them, you should at least read some reviews. Some headphones on our list have an extremely long range (up to 300ft) but that’s probably unnecessary (don’t get this wrong – longer range is great, we just don’t think that you are going to watch a TV from 100 or 200ft distance). You should be looking for a pair that will allow you to be at least 15-25ft away from the TV.
Wireless headphones need batteries to work. Most of them have rechargeable batteries which is a good thing since you don’t have to buy batteries every day or two. Some transmitters (bases) are at the same time charging stations which should be considered a great additional feature. Other headphones have to be charged via micro USB to USB cable.
You should be looking for a pair that offers at least 8-10 hours of listening time per one charge. Some headphones on our list have extremely powerful batteries (20+ hours of listening per charge).
Wireless headphones are, by default, more comfortable than wired thanks to the absence of cables but still, not all the wireless headphones are equally comfortable. Comfort is a highly subjective category but most people prefer full-size headphones with well-padded earcups and headbands (preferably, paddings with velour finish).
Build quality is, more than some other features, defined by the price and the manufacturer. There are always exceptions but it is safe to say that buying some renowned brand (Sennheiser, Sony, Bose) guarantees better build quality. It is possible to find a good-sounding and durable pair of headphones for a reasonable price (some of the headphones from the list are great examples of that) but you really have to look hard.
This feature is the thing that makes the difference between wireless headphones for TV and other wireless headphones. If you need a pair of headphones for TV you really have to pay attention to this. Some wireless headphones (especially Bluetooth headphones) use a compression profile that makes them good for music but absolutely useless for TV because of sync issues (noticeable sound lag). Your wireless Bluetooth headphones have to support aptX Bluetooth profile (your TV and/or your Bluetooth transmitter have to support this profile, too). Headphone manufacturers usually emphasize the fact that their headphones support aptX profile and you will find that info on the box. Some manufacturers even give the info about sound lag (in milliseconds). The thing you should know about Bluetooth headphones is that there are no headphones without any sound delay (because of the compression) but some headphones are much better than others. 30-50ms (or even 100ms) latency is practically imperceptible to the naked eye. Headphones with the latency greater than 150ms can be considered a bad choice (if you want a pair of headphones for TV).
All the previously mentioned features are mandatory. Any additional feature, like included Bluetooth transmitter for your TV, different sets of cables, carrying cases, etc., should be considered a bonus.
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Connecting Wireless Headphones to your TV – Short Tutorial
Connecting wireless headphones to the TV is usually very simple and it takes only a few minutes.
RF and IR wireless headphones are basically plug & play devices. You just have to use the right audio ports depending on the type of your TV and type of the available inputs on your transmitter (base) that comes with RF and IR headphones.
We are going to show you different types of output ports on your TV, input ports on your transmitter, cables that should be used, and explain how to make a proper connection.
Note: depending on the type of inputs on your headphone base, type of outputs on your TV, and type of cables you get with the headphones, you can use different input/output ports.
ANALOG AUDIO OUTPUT PORTS
RCA output ports
Not all the TVs have RCA audio output. In the pictures below, you can see two different types of RCA ports. They look the same, but they have different functions. In the Picture 1, you can see the ports you need (OUTPUT ports). In the picture 2, you can see COMPONENT IN ports (INPUT ports). You should connect your RCA cable to the RCA AUDIO OUTPUT port on your TV (the one in picture 1). If you connect the cable to any RCA INPUT port (like the one in picture 2), the headphones won’t work.
Depending on the available inputs on your transmitter RCA cables might look like this
3.5mm output port
If you don’t have those red and white RCA audio output ports, you can always use 3.5mm ports (headphone output) – the majority of TVs have this output port.
Below or right next to the 3.5mm audio port, you will find AUDIO OUT sign with a small headphone icon. In some cases, you can use RCA to 3.5mm cable to connect your TV to your transmitter (3.5mm jack goes into your TV and RCA jacks go into your transmitter). In other cases, you may have to use 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable (depending on the inputs on your transmitter).
Note: If you decide to use 3.5mm output audio port, you will be able to hear the sound only through your headphones but if you decide to use RCA output audio ports (if your TV features RCA OUT ports), TV speakers will work and all the other people in the room will be able to hear the TV.
DIGITAL AUDIO OUTPUT PORTS
If you have a smart TV, then there are probably one or more digital output ports like digital optical audio port or coaxial output. You can see the digital optical audio port and the cable used for that kind of port below.
DIGITAL OPTICAL AUDIO PORT
DIGITAL OPTICAL AUDIO CABLE
If your TV has only digital audio output ports and your transmitter has only analog inputs (RCA or 3.5mm), you will need a device called DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), like the one in the picture below.
DAC – Digital to Analog Converter
The input end of your DAC should be connected to the TV through digital optical audio cable, and output end should be connected to the transmitter (base) through RCA or auxiliary audio cable.
Bluetooth headphones are a little bit more complicated for installation. If your TV doesn’t support Bluetooth, you will have to buy a Bluetooth transmitter and, in that case, the installation is pretty much the same as the installation of RF and IR headphones.
If you have a smart TV that features Bluetooth with low latency codec, you will have to enable Bluetooth function on your TV and pair the headphones with your TV. Below, you have a short guide with pictures on how to pair them. We’ve used SONY BRAVIA TV for this tutorial.
Step 1 – Turn on the headphones and enable pairing mode (some headphones go to pairing mode the moment you turn them on)
Step 2 – Go to the Settings menu on your TV
Step 3 – In the Settings menu, scroll down to the Network Settings and choose Bluetooth Settings
Step 4 – Turn on the Bluetooth
Step 5 – Click on Device List
Step 6 – If your device is not on the list, click on Add Accessory
Step 7 – After a short search, your device will appear on the list. Click once to select it and after a few seconds you will be paired and you can use your headphones.
If your TV doesn’t feature Bluetooth, or if it doesn’t support low latency Bluetooth profile, you will have to buy one additional device called Bluetooth transmitter (or transceiver) that supports low latency profile. In some cases, you will get this device along with the headphones. In the picture below, you can see a Bluetooth transmitter made by Avantree.
The transmitter in the picture has only AUX (3.5mm) input but you can also find transmitters/transceivers with optical inputs, RCA analog inputs, etc. You just have to buy the one that suits your needs. The transmitter has to support aptX low latency codec and that’s the most important precondition for good audio-video synchronization.
This is the end of our article on 10 best wireless headphones for TV. Hopefully, we have at least helped you understand what makes a good pair of TV headphones and if you have found something you like on our list, then our mission is complete.
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