Is it really possible to “Netflix and chill” when everyone watching the TV is aggressively battling to control the volume? Sennheiser’s latest earbuds could finally bring peace to the family room, as they wirelessly connect to any TV, even older models that don’t have Bluetooth built in.
Sennheiser’s new TV Clear buds aren’t the company’s first headphones designed specifically with TV connectivity in mind. Older models like the RS 2000 provide the same functionality, and while they feature a design that’s supposed to be more comfortable to wear for longer periods, they also look like a doctor’s stethoscope and only work with an included base station that wirelessly broadcasts low-latency audio from a TV or home theater system.
The TV Clear offer two big advantages to Sennheiser’s older offerings, with the most obvious being that they look and feel like regular wireless earbuds, with a compact design that relies on silicon eartips and small wings to stay securely perched in a user’s ears. Battery life is promised to be up to 15 hours per charge when used with an included low-latency transmitter that can be connected to a TV or other gear using analog or optical cables, with an additional 22 hours of use provided through an included charging case.
They can also help bring peace to the bedroom when someone wants to stay up late watching TV while their bedmate wants to go to sleep. But they’re also an excellent solution for those dealing with hearing loss, as the TV Clear buds offer five selectable levels of speech clarity enhancement, making it easier to discern what people on screen are saying without requiring the volume to be cranked overly loud.
The other advantage to the TV Clear over older models like the Sennheiser RS 2000 is that they also function as regular Bluetooth earbuds, connecting to laptops and mobile devices, or even smart TVs that offer Bluetooth, although with more latency between the action on screen and what the user is hearing than when using the included wireless transmitter. This makes the TV Clear more versatile as everyday wireless headphones too, but that flexibility doesn’t come cheap. Priced at $400 for the earbuds plus the transmitter when available this Summer, they’re considerably more expensive than even the most feature-rich wireless earbuds available today. If you’ve already got a Bluetooth-friendly smart TV at home, you might want to save yourself a few bucks and just stick with a cheaper pair of wireless buds.