The idea of getting wireless sound from your TV to your ears so only you can listen in isn’t an area that always works wonders, but Sennheiser is hoping its latest effort could help.
When the kids have gone to sleep and you want to watch the TV up loud, there’s a good chance you restrain yourself and turn on the captioning simply because it’s easier than waking everyone up. That’s how some parents have grown accustomed to watching TV, and may be the case if you’re a little hard of hearing and can’t quite make out what’s coming from the screen’s speakers.
Getting the sound of a TV to play directly in your ears isn’t always as easy as it might seem, and that’s partly because of the volume. While many TVs include Bluetooth and have for some time, a TV mightn’t play as nicely with a pair of headphones as you expect, with the volume from each — TV and headphone — not necessarily talking to each other the way they do on our phones.
There are some ways to get around this, such as using a pair of Bluetooth headphones with a media device like an Apple TV, or even opting for a speaker system or soundbar that supports a night mode to reduce the intense bass sounds that might wake up someone else, but there’s also another: headphones specifically made for the TV.
It might sound like a bit of a crazy idea, but it’s one that has been around for some time, affording people the chance to watch their TVs with proper headphones and a wireless transmitter plugged into either an digital or analogue audio port, the old school optical or 3.5mm headset jacks on the back of your TV. Most televisions will have at least one, if not both, and wireless headphones that can work as a transmitter can support the connection, as well.
Sennheiser has been dabbling in this area longer than more, but its latest generation set for release next year bundles up the technology in a smaller package, almost resembling a necktie of sound.
Called the RS 5200, it’s a pair of earphones strapped to a transmitter with volume controls placed on that section, and this will wirelessly connect to a transmitter in a docking station, which also charges the wireless earphones.
The Sennheiser RS 5200 includes three hearing profiles to change the clarity at different frequency ranges dependent on what suits your ears best, and there’s a “Speech Clarity Function” that can do something similar to a soundbar’s night mode, focusing on the high-sounds of TV dialogue so that you can hear it better, even when listening through the earphones.
The idea is one that can even see TV listeners walk away up to 70 metres from the screen and transmitter dock, essentially allowing them to go for a wander around the home and still hear what’s going on, but it’s one that will also cost a pretty penny.
While it’s not set for release in Australia until early 2022, Sennheiser’s RS 5200 is pitched at those with relatively deep pockets for a personal sense of their TV’s sound, priced at $499.95 locally. Given that price, you might want to try whatever pair of Bluetooth headphones you have already to find a solution, or even using a media device like an Apple TV, as that might save you a few bucks. And if not, Sennheiser’s RS 5200 will be available next year.