Do you remember the days
when people thought Bluetooth was something you got when you failed to go for regular dental check-ups? Well, maybe not. But it does show that tech developers sometimes can have a weird sense of humour. Bluetooth is actually named after Harald Bluetooth, the King who united Denmark back in the 10th century.
Although why the Swedish Bluetooth developers would name their innovative product after a Danish King remains a mystery still. Probably just that weird sense of humour again. But enough of the digression already.
Bluetooth was created
with the goal of unifying the standard whereby small electronic devices could wirelessly communicate with themselves over a distance of around 10 meters. (That's about 30 feet to you and me).
Wi-Fi, on the other hand, resembles more of a single broadcasting point available to any number of devices at a range that can sometimes exceed 30 meters (100 feet). Wi-Fi, as you probably know, stands for wireless fidelity, and stems from the prosaic term high fidelity. But why Wi-Fi is capitalized and hi-fi isn't, I really couldn't say.
Bluetooth lacks password protection but it does require that devices be paired in order to communicate with each other, (yes, these days you can occasionally get a threesome). You'll have to enter a passcode though, which is generated by the Bluetooth device itself, and is basically what Bluetooth developers mean when they talk about pairing.
Every Bluetooth upgrade has improved speed and increased range. The latest, Version 5, is supposed to double speed and depending on the terrain and boundaries etc., be capable of communicating over distances of about 800 feet! Needless to say, such improvements make Bluetooth a viable option for a whole gamut of tasks. And while Bluetooth runs on minimum power chips smaller than the fingernail of your little finger, it can be incorporated into almost any device.
Bluetooth began life
as a low-fi method for relaying your voice to and from your phone. In the beginning, it sounded pretty rubbish, but following continuous upgrades, it can now deliver audio at full fidelity quality.
If, however, you are looking for ultimate fidelity, a wired connection surpasses Bluetooth every time. Plus, wired connections need no additional power source, which means there's no risk of batteries going flat while you're listening. Which brings us nicely back to actual purpose of this article. Are dedicated headphones better than Bluetooth for listening to your TV?
Sure, there is a wide selection of dedicated TV headphones available. But the selection of Bluetooth headphones is even wider. Some TVs come already equipped with Bluetooth and so do stereo and home theatre receivers. Kinda' convenient, don't ya' think? And just for extra clarity, here's a quick rundown of the entire process:
Turning your TV and other audio into a Bluetooth device is a fairly simple process which requires minimal levels of knowledge and effort. Just make sure the audio devices, and the TV, have an audio output. It can be a digital coaxial output, an optical output, an RTA pin plug, or even a humble headphone jack.
Next, you need a Bluetooth transmitter which you can get from your local electronics retailer or (like everything else these days) from Amazon or eBay. Most will be battery powered but you can get rechargeable, 5-volt USB powered Bluetooth, if you're prepared to pay the extra costs. Always look for what's know as low-latency transmitters, or you risk your audio being out of sync with your video due to a time delay.
Now choose from the 100 or more headphones that are Bluetooth enabled. These headphones also run on batteries and are usually rechargeable. Prices vary, but the old rule of thumb applies: the more you pay the better the sound and the more comfortable your headphones will be on your ears.
The final step is to pair your headphones with the TV, computer, tablet or whichever Bluetooth capable device you want to listen to. This is another simple task and the good news is you only have to do it once for each device.
Still not sure?
Check out this mini selection of the top-selling Bluetooth and TV headphones on Amazon right now:
Low latency Bluetooth 4.2 transmitter, dual-link wireless audio headphone adapter for TV and PC with RCA, support Aux and computer USB digital audio. Enables effortless listening to a wide range of devices like laptops, iPods and more. Requires analogue audio output with 3.5mm headphone jack. USB powered. 4.5 from 5-star reviews.
Lurico 3.5mm Bluetooth Transmitter
For home audio, laptop, Kindle Fire, MP3/MP4, iPod, TV, with USB power supply. Transmits audio to your Bluetooth speakers, headphones and other devices. High-quality sound effects via Advanced Bluetooth Modules. Perfect for adding wireless functions to your TV and PC and many other audio devices. 4.5 from 5-star reviews.
Taotronics Bluetooth Transmitter
Portable stereo wireless music transmitter for 3.5mm audio devices TV ears, Bluetooth dongle, A2DP stereo music transmission. Adds Bluetooth capability to your headphones, speakers and other stereo systems. Lightweight, small and durable with up to 7 hours of power. Works during charging and includes micro charging port. 4.5 from 5-star reviews.
Jelly Comb Wireless Television Headphones
Rechargeable wireless RF stereo no latency headphones with 3.5mm jack for TV, laptop and smartphone. Upgraded audio scan and auto sleep. Provides maximum comfort for long TV sessions. Ergonomic design, lightweight with soft-skin ear pads and leather padded headband.
4 from 5-star reviews.
Phillips SHP2500/10 Indoor Corded TV Headphone
For music, TV and PC. Full-size headphone for enhanced TV entertainment. Supreme comfort for long use. In-line control to adjust volume. 6M long cable so you can sit where you like. Features an acoustic reflector for improved bass performance. 4 from 5-star reviews.
Of course, whether you choose Bluetooth or a dedicated TV headphone is a matter of personal taste. Both provide pretty good price/quality levels and the tech is generally state-of-the-art. What it comes down to in the end is your comfort requirements and how you actually want to use your devices. Happy listening!