Best Wireless Headphones for TV
I’ve recently become enthralled with TV headphones. There’s something about it that truly immerses you in the experience. Watching movies and tv shows with these headphones on are my new favorite thing. It’s an experience not unlike going to a movie theatre (except you can pause when you need to use the bathroom!).
In fact you may ever wonder how you did without them. You want to watch a movie late at night without waking people up? Pop on a set of headphones and forget about it.
Most of these headphones use either Radio Frequency (RF) or Digital Transmission. They also give you freedom of movement: you can listen to your favorite tunes while cooking, doing lawn work, etc.
There’s three key factors in helping you choose the right TV headphones:
- Closed-Back or Open? – Closed-back headphones seal in most of the noise, whereas open-backed ones allow sound to bleed in and out. The catch is that the sound in open-backed headphones tend to sound better and more natural. For some, however, having sound bleed out of their headphones is not an option.
- Analog or Digital? – Check your TV to see what kind of audio outputs it supports. Analog outputs include: a headphones jack, or the red and yellow cables. Digital outputs include: coaxial, HDMI and Optical outputs. Digital outputs will give you an overall better sound quality.
- Bluetooth, RF (radio) or Digital Transmission – There are different types of ‘wireless’. Most wireless headphones will use some form of RF headphones. Although lately there’s been a surge in bluetooth enabled TVs that will allow you to use bluetooth headphones.
1. Sennheiser RS180 Digital Wireless Headphones
Audiophile Quality Wireless Headphones
Pros: Audiophile quality headphones that (in my opinion) sound as good as the Sennheiser HD600 headphones. The Kleer wireless system transmits sound at 16-bit/44.1-kHz, which is CD quality sound. The velour earpads and lightweight construction means you can wear them all day in total comfort.
The buttons. They’re all clusted on the bottom on the bottom right earcup, and the volume up/down buttons are separated by the power button. You can guess what tends to happen. They’re also open-backed, so there is significant sound bleed.
If sound quality is your number one concern, the RS180 are the best and most immersive wireless headphones out there.
2. Sony MDR DS6500 Headphones
Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound Between Your Ears
These closed back headphones are one of the only wireless headphones to support Dolby’s 7.1 virtual surround sound technology. This means you can put on a blu-ray and enjoy a fully immersive sound experience without disturbing anyone around you. The range is also listed at 328 feet. While it does extend that far, the sound does seem to cut out when going around corners in the house.
The headphones weigh in at 315 grams, which starts to feel heavy on the head after long listening sessions. Whereas movies and TV shows sound amazing, listening to music is nowhere as good as the Sennheiser RS180’s.
If you want headphones for watching movies and you cannot have any sound leaking out and disturbing people around you, these headphones will deliver a great experience. Just be warned that there’s a significant drop off in sound quality when listening to non-surround sound sources.
3. Sennheiser RS160 Wireless Headphones
‘Kleer Wireless’ Sound on a Budget
The RS160’s are the lowest priced headphones that are equipped with Sennheiser’s lossless Kleer technology. If you can’t afford the RS180’s, these headphones deliver a comparable listening experience. The over-ear headphones are also comfortable to wear. The transmitter base can also be powered with AA Batteries, in case you want your headphones to be more portable.
They don’t come with the same convenient transmitter/charger dock that the RS180’s have. The sound is also lighter on the bass, so if you love having head thumping bass, you should skip these headphones.
A (more) budget friendly way to enjoy Sennheiser’s Kleer technology. The headphones are high quality, comfortable and have decent range. But they also have significant sound bleed.
4. Sennheiser RS120 Digital Wireless Headphones
The Best Budget Friendly TV Headphones
The best best budget friendly tv headphones on this list, the RS120’s use standard RF instead of Kleer technoloy. The sound is still very good, and the range of over 300 feet means you can listen to tunes while washing your car, doing yard work, etc. It’s also closed back, so you can watch movies/listen to music without disturbing anyone around you.
As with most RF headphones, there’s a slight audible hiss you can hear between songs. The 926 MHz frequency is susceptible to interference from cordless phones, so you may need to adjust the frequency to prevent it.
These headphones are almost as good sounding as their corded counterparts. The RS120’s are a popular model that’s been out for almost ten years. As a result the model is under-priced: you get more sound quality than the price suggests. If you want great sounding headphones on a budget, the RS120’s are a great choice.
With a number of TV’s now coming with bluetooth support, you can watch movies using bluetooth headphones. The advantages are that you can use bluetooth headphones for other activities like exercise, plane travel, and the morning commute. Whereas tv headphones are usually tied to the transmitter base.
Before you consider bluetooth headphones, make sure that your TV supports bluetooth (you can find it in the bluetooth menu).
Scosche RH1060 Bluetooth Headphones
Car Audio maker has been making waves with the new RH1060 Bluetooth headphones. Not only is the sound quality comparable (and usually better) than most Bluetooth headphones, at $199 they are a hundred dollars cheaper than your average set of bluetooth headphones. It has a long lasting lithium-ion battery, 40mm drivers and full Bluetooth compatibility with most smartphones. They are also closed, so you can watch the TV in peace.
The Bluetooth doesn’t sound as good as Sennheiser’s Kleer technology, but they are better sounding than the Sony headphones when listening to CD’s.
These make a great ‘all round’ set of headphones, as they are travel/commute friendly, and work well as gym headphones as well. At $200 I can’t really recommend them enough.
Sennheiser MM-450 Flight Bluetooth Headphones
These are not only Bluetooth headphones, but are active noise-cancelling headphones as well. If you want to watch TV in a busy/noisy environment, this is a great way to enjoy the TV without having to turn up the volume to drown out external sounds. It also features a talk-through function so you can have conversations with people without having to take off your headphones. Although designed with air travellers and commuters in mind, the MM-450’s are a great way to tune out the world when you need to. It’s very relaxing to have that power sometimes.
There’s a bright blue light on the side of the headphones that is unnecessary, and is very bright in dark environments. I wish there were a way to disable it. The noise-cancellation and Bluetooth will both drain the battery, although you can still get 8 hours of usage when both are engaged.
Probably the most versatile headphones on this list, the noise-cancellation circuitry isn’t that expensive and yet being able to actively cancel out distractions is quite a freeing experience. Again it works with most smartphones and makes for great commuting headphones (although they aren’t good gym headphones).