The Best Way to Watch TV

3 Types Of Wireless TV Headphones RF V. IR Vs Bluetooth

Types Of Wireless TV Headphones: RF vs IR vs Bluetooth

Wireless TV headphones are a great way to enjoy the comfort and convenience of listening to streaming content, watching cable or satellite television or your favorite movies. But what kind of wireless headset do you need? This article is a quick guide on how they differ.

Infrared (IR)

(IR) headphones are less common than Radio Frequency and Bluetooth headphones but they offer some helpful and unique features. As with all TV headphones a transmitter is connected to the audio out ports on the back of your television and the audio is wirelessly transmitted to the headset. Infrared travels at the speed of light making it the fastest of all technologies, which completely eliminates delay. An Infrared headset does not need to be paired to the transmitter like a Bluetooth headset and an unlimited number of headsets can be received from one transmitter. Bluetooth supports just one headset. Infrared is a light that fills the room so as long as the light is hitting the headset it will receive the signal. This is why you can turn your back to the transmitter and it may still work. Think of turning on a light in a room. The difference is you cannot see Infrared light. Another great feature of Infrared is it will not go through walls which is extremely important if you don’t want your television audio to be picked up by a neighbor or if more than one transmitter is in the home. The infrared transmission is contained within each room eliminating interference and maintaining privacy. 

Radio Frequency (RF) 

2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz Radio frequency (RF) TV headphones use radio waves to transmit audio from the transmitter to the TV headset.  The advantage of RF headphones is they have the longest range of any technology. Infrared only covers one room and Bluetooth has an average range of 30 feet. If you want the freedom to walk around while listening to television this may be a great option for you. Typical TV applications for RF headphones include watching sports games or news programs where you need to hear all of the audio while remaining mobile around your house. The advantage of the newer 5.8 GHz TV Headphones is they do not need to be paired to the transmitter and they support multiple headphones from one transmitter. 


Bluetooth is the most common type of wireless TV headphone but it requires the headset to be paired to the transmitter and is peer to peer so only one headset can be used. You can connect your Bluetooth headphones directly to your TV if it has a built-in Bluetooth transmitter or you can connect a Bluetooth transmitter to the audio out ports on the back of your television.. Bluetooth headphones are well know because they follow an international standard but are the slowest technology because it is heavily encrypted. 

Key Takeaways

So should you pick infrared, 2.4GHz or 5.8 GHz radio frequency, or Bluetooth headphones? It all depends on your needs. Infrared is the fastest, clearest and simplest type of wireless TV headphones because they don’t need to be paired and multiple  headsets can work from a single transmitter. Also they are less likely to interfere with other devices in the room and they are safe with pacemakers.  Radio frequency (RF) headphones have the longest range allowing you the freedom to walk around your home. 2.4GHz RF TV Headphones need to be paired. The newer 5.8GHz RF TV Headphones do not need to be paired and multiple headset can be used from one transmitter.  Bluetooth wireless TV headphones are the best known however they need to be paired, they are slowe, have a 30 foot range, only support one headset and may compete with other Bluetooth devices in your home. This author believes the best TV Headset technology is 5.8GHz Radio Frequency because it is fast, simple to use (no pairing), has a very long range and supports multiple headsets from one transmitter. 


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