Thursday 20 September 2018

Ask Adrian: Our tech editor tackles your trickiest technology problems


'One For All' Bluetooth audio transmitter available in Harvey Norman (€45)
'One For All' Bluetooth audio transmitter available in Harvey Norman (€45)
Nokia 7 Plus
Sony A7 Mark III
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Q We've just invested in a great new TV and I'm thinking of buying my husband wireless headphones so that he can watch all the sports he enjoys so much while I listen to music (or watch Netflix on another device) in the same room. Are there specific types for TV use, and how much can I expect to pay?

A You have a few options here, partly depending on what your new TV is capable of.

Several new tellies have Bluetooth built in, meaning you can connect any pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones. For example, on a Samsung TV, you'll find the Bluetooth connection in settings. From there, it's fairly straightforward to pick out your headphones, which you need to put into pairing mode.

The good news here is that decent Bluetooth wireless headphones now start at around €30, where once you'd be asked to fork out €100 or more.

However, not all new TVs come with this Bluetooth feature. Sony, incredibly, doesn't allow Bluetooth headphones pairing on many of its sets, even on expensive flagship tellies.

For televisions without such ability, there are still several options. Your TV will have one (and probably both) of a 3.5mm headphone jack and a USB port. Either type of interface works with a Bluetooth connector dongle. In layman's terms, this sticks into your telly (through either the 3.5mm headphone port or the USB port) and emits a Bluetooth signal which your ordinary wireless headphones can then pick up.

The gadget is powered by the TV connection, so there's no need to recharge it.

One example is the 'One For All' Bluetooth audio transmitter available in Harvey Norman (€45), which can connect to your TV either through its USB port, headphones jack or even RCA port.

PC World/Currys sells something similar (Logitech's Bluetooth Audio Adapter) for €45, although that only plugs into your TV's 3.5mm headphone port or RCA port, without the option to connect via USB.

An alternative option is a Bluetooth 'station' which operates in a similar way. Sennheiser has the best quality products in this area. The only thing is that this is typically a more expensive choice. Sennheiser's excellent RS 175 set, for example, costs €250 in Arnotts.

Of course, if any of this seems daunting to connect, or you're just not confident of making it all work together, you can always simply get a set of headphones with an extra long lead.

This is actually the solution that I have used for years, with a pair of high-quality Denon headphones with have a three-metre lead. The advantage is that the audio quality is marginally better (as is the case generally with cabled headphones compared to Bluetooth headphones) and there's no recharging required. However, it's a little messy if you have animals or kids that move around a room when you're trying to watch something, as they can trip over the cable. Indeed, wireless headphones have the advantage that you can walk out of the room and into the kitchen without necessarily pausing your TV or missing out on action. Most Bluetooth signals stretch to around 30 feet, even through walls. That means if it's a sporting match, your husband can at least keep the commentary with him when he makes his cup of tea or has to go to the toilet.

RECOMMENDATION: 'One For All' Bluetooth audio transmitter available in Harvey Norman (€45, pictured)

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Sony A7 Mark III  (€2,300, lenses extra)

Sony has done something very unusual - it has put most of the best features from its top flagship cameras (the a7R III and the A9) into its 'entry level' full-frame camera, the A7 Mark III. The result is a device that, in most respects, is leaps and bounds ahead of almost all its direct competitors, including Canon's 6D Mark II, Nikon's D750 and Fuji's X-H1. While I'll be giving this a more complete review in coming weeks, I can say that this is shaping up to be the camera of the year.

Nokia 7 Plus (€399)

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