This can Save Your Marriage!

Stop arguing over how loud the TV is…

Wireless headphones have become known in the retail electronics trade as “Marriage Savers”. They are not only good for listening to CDs while you’re out in the yard and the CDs are safely in the house, they are the solution to watching TV when one spouse likes it really loud (Or is a little hard of hearing) and the other (Usually the Wife!) can’t stand it that loud. They’re also great for late night TV watching, to avoid disturbing others.

Wireless headphones come in at least three flavors. There are probably still a few very cheap ones on the market that use infrared (IR) to transmit the sound. I would avoid these. Their range is very short, and line-of-sight only. Many currently on the market are Radio frequency (RF), and have the longest range, typically 100-200 feet. Both the IR and RF styles come with their own transmitters that can be plugged into any device with a headphone or audio output jack.

There are also many, many, stereo Bluetooth headphones now available. These are great for listening to a phone or tablet that has Bluetooth, however, they are not suitable for most TV or home stereo use because they do not come with a transmitter. In other words, you can only use them with something that is Bluetooth-enabled. Bluetooth also has a short range compared to RF headphones; it’s official range is 10 meters, or about 30 feet.

Your choice depends entirely on the intended use. For home TV watching, get the RF variety. For use with a Bluetooth-enabled device, by all means get the Bluetooth headphones, just be aware that the range is much shorter, so probably not suited for yard work, unless you’re listening to your phone and it’s on your belt (Or on your lawn mower).

More and more devices on today’s market, such as TVs and laptops, have Bluetooth built in, and Bluetooth headphones will work with all of these. If you’re getting them for your phone, make sure the headphones are compatible with stereo and phone enabled (with a microphone), so you won’t have to take them off to answer a call.

Occasionally an issue arises with TV audio outputs that will turn off the internal speakers when the external audio outputs are turned on. If the TV is hooked up to a home theater system, you may need a splitter so you can send the audio to the stereo system and the headphones at the same time. If you don’t have a home theater system or stereo to hook the TV up to, you may have to decide on one or the other, or get a stereo. TV speakers stink as a general rule anyway, so a stereo might enhance everyone’s viewing enjoyment.

The other possible problem with TVs involves whether the audio outputs are fixed or variable. “Variable” means the volume of the outputs will vary with the TV’s volume control. It’s best to use fixed outputs if you have them; that way, headphone volume can be adjusted independently from the TV volume.

You can see the vast variety of wireless headphones on the market here:

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