Getting great sound from your Vizio TV is key to an immersive home theater experience. While Vizio TVs have decent built-in speakers, adding an external speaker system via the optical audio out port takes sound quality to the next level.
In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about making optical audio connections from your Vizio TV including:
What is Optical Audio Out on a Vizio TV?
The optical audio out port on Vizio TVs allows you to connect an external speaker system using an optical or TOSLINK cable. This fiber optic connection transmits uncompressed digital audio from your smart TV to audio devices like soundbars, A/V receivers, stereo systems, and powered speakers.
Optical audio ports may also be labeled S/PDIF, TOSLINK, or Digital Audio Out on the back of your Vizio TV. The interface uses red light to send digital sound signals through plastic fiber optic cables with specialized TOSLINK connectors.
Optical cables support up to 5.1 surround sound channels, making them ideal for connecting Dolby Digital and DTS speaker setups. While optical doesn’t offer quite as much bandwidth as HDMI, it’s a reliable way to get premium quality audio from your Vizio smart TV.
Why Use the Optical Out Port for Audio?
There are several key reasons to use your Vizio TV’s optical audio out instead of built-in speakers or analog connections:
Supports Surround Sound – Optical cables can transmit up to 5.1 discrete surround sound channels. This allows external audio systems like Samsung surround sound speakers to take full advantage of Dolby and DTS soundtracks from Blu-ray discs and streaming services.
Better Sound Quality – Digital optical audio offers better clarity and dynamic range compared to analog connections. There’s no signal degradation with optical.
Long Cable Runs – TOSLINK cables maintain perfect sound quality up to about 30 feet. No need to place equipment next to the TV.
Cable Locks In Securely – Optical connectors tightly latch in place. No friction disrupting delicate audio signals.
Isolates TV Sound – Free from electromagnetic interference that can occur with RCA analog and even HDMI to some extent.
Single Cable Solution – One TOSLINK handles all audio, no separate cables needed for multiple channel surround.
Wide Compatibility – External speakers, receivers, preamp/processors, and other AV gear support TOSLINK input.
In short, optical audio out unlocks your Vizio TV’s full sonic potential while making setup easy. It’s the best choice for surround soundbars and 5.1 home theater systems.
Locating the Optical Out Port on Your Vizio TV
While it’s easy to use, actually finding the optical audio out port can be tricky with some Vizio TV models hiding TOSLINK connections out of plain view.
Here are a few tips for locating optical out on your Vizio:
Check Next to HDMI – Typically optical audio ports are grouped with HDMI and other A/V inputs on the rear panel.
Look for Digital Audio Out Label – May also be marked as S/PDIF, TOSLINK or Optical Out.
Examine Back Panel Diagram – Manuals have diagrams showing where ports are located even if hard to visually spot on TV.
Feel Around Edges – Optical jacks are often found on far left/right sides and can’t be seen head-on.
Once located, connect your TOSLINK cable making sure it clicks securely in place. Having trouble finding optical out? Grab your Vizio manual or contact customer support for assistance.
Connecting Speakers via Optical Cable
Hooking up an external audio system to utilize your TV’s optical out is a straightforward process once you locate the port:
What You’ll Need
- Vizio TV with optical audio out
- External speaker system (soundbar, AV receiver, etc.) with optical input
- TOSLINK optical audio cable
- Turn off both Vizio TV and external speakers.
- Insert one end of optical cable into optical out port on TV.
- Connect other end of TOSLINK cable to optical input on speaker system.
- Power on connected devices and select optical input if prompted.
- Enable optical/SPDIF signals in TV audio settings if needed.
- Adjust speaker system volume to desired listening level.
That’s all there is to it. Keep reading for pro tips on configuration settings to enable the best quality sound.
Optical vs HDMI ARC: Which is Better for Audio?
Vizio TV optical and HDMI ARC outputs seem similar since both transmit digital audio to external equipment like sound bars and A/V receivers. But there are important technical differences to consider.
HDMI ARC – Stands for Audio Return Channel, allowing 2-way audio signals between TV and speakers over a single HDMI cable. ARC handles high bandwidth lossless surround sound like Dolby TrueHD and DTS:X in addition to core formats.
Optical – Limited to standard Dolby Digital, DTS, and 2 channel PCM. No data compression but maxes out at 24-bit/192khz bandwidth. Multi-channel LPCM and lossless audio downmixed to dual channel DTS or Dolby Digital output signal.
So while HDMI ARC offers higher resolution sound, the simpler optical connection has plenty of bandwidth for crisp multi-channel audio from most TV, streaming and disc sources.
Optical is more widely compatible with older AV gear as well. For most real world applications, users are unlikely to perceive audio quality differences between optical and HDMI ARC sound bars or speaker systems.
Bottom line – both HDMI and optical outputs capably drive Dolby and DTS equipped audio devices. Base your connections on equipment capabilities and available ports.
Troubleshooting Optical Audio Issues
Occasional hiccups can stem from loose TOSLINK connections, incompatible audio modes, incorrect input selection or faulty cables. Here are some quick fixes for common optical audio problems:
No Sound/Audio Dropouts – Ensure optical cables on both ends are fully inserted. Switch inputs, toggle TV audio options. Replace cable if issues persist.
Sound Intermittent – TOSLINK ports are dusty or obstructed. Use pressurized air to clean then reconnect cable firmly.
Distorted Sound – Change audio format to PCM and enable/disable Dolby Digital options. Check speaker configuration.
Volume Control Not Working – Enable HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) to control external device volume levels through the Vizio TV remote.
Still having optical audio issues? Don’t hesitate to call Vizio support troubleshooting specialists at (844) 254-8088 for helpful tailored troubleshooting assistance.
Vizio TV Optical Out FAQs
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about getting the best possible sound quality using the optical audio out port built into most Vizio TV models:
What is the difference between optical and RCA audio?
Optical is a digital signal supporting 2 channel PCM stereo or 5.1 surround sound. RCA uses analog signals limited to standard 2.0 stereo without advanced processing.
Can Vizio optical output transmit Dolby Atmos?
No. Optical bandwidth maxes out at Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound. Connect AV receivers and sound bars via HDMI to enjoy object-based 3D effects of Dolby Atmos.
Why use optical instead of HDMI ARC?
If HDMI ports are already in use, optical is a solid way to add surround sound supporting core Dolby/DTS formats in an easy plug-and-play manner. Optical isolation also eliminates signal contamination.
What speaker systems work with Vizio optical out?
Vizio optical outputs are compatible with virtually all external audio devices featuring TOSLINK input – sound bars, bookshelf speaker pairs, AV receivers, stereo preamp/processors, theater-in-a box systems, and powered speakers.
How can I control volume of speakers connected via optical?
You’ll need to enable HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI CEC) to control playback levels of optical-connected devices using the Vizio TV remove. Then volume buttons will sync between TV and external audio system.
Hooking up an external multi-channel speaker configuration using the optical output transforms Vizio TV programming into a riveting home theater experience.
To recap, optical audio out connections:
- Provide uncompressed 2.0 PCM/5.1 Dolby Digital/DTS surround sound
- Offer wider compatibility than HDMI ARC
- Are easy to set up with plug-and-play TOSLINK cables
- Deliver better quality than analog connections
- Allow volume control sync with CEC enabled
- Give isolation from electromagnetic TV interference
We hope this guide covered everything needed to help experience movies, sports and more with fuller dynamic sound! Just connect your Vizio sound bar, A/V receiver, or speakers to optical out and enjoy the audio upgrade.