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"Do I Need A Bluetooth Transmitter or Receiver?" Getting the Right Gadget for You

Bluetooth adapters are as popular as ever, connecting Home Cinema Stereo networks, adding Bluetooth to your car and allowing you to watch TV through headphones wirelessly so you can be comfortable on the sofa with some supper.

The technology is simple, but there are two very important distinctions in the world of Bluetooth adapters; Transmitters and Receivers. Learn about the differences and more importantly how to choose which is needed for your next project!

What is a Bluetooth Transmitter?

The first half of the puzzle is the Bluetooth transmitter. Bluetooth Transmitters are used to connect wirelessly between an audio / data source like a phone, PC, TV or Radio to an Audio output device like headphones, speakers and earbuds.

The key thing to remember and take note of it the direction of the relationship shown below

In this flow chart, audio sources like TVs and CD Players are connected via a short audio cable to a Bluetooth Transmitter. This allows the audio to be transmitted and sent out wirelessly. Rather than the cables carrying the sound right to an output device, the sound is instead taken to the Bluetooth Transmitter.

Once the transmitter broadcasts the audio over Bluetooth, any paired Bluetooth devices can receive and play the audio!

Think of a Bluetooth transmitter as a wireless audio output.

What is a Bluetooth Receiver?

The second half of the puzzle is the Bluetooth receiver. Bluetooth Receivers are used to connect wirelessly between audio devices like wired speakers, headphones or soundbars to wireless audio sources such as phones, Bluetooth-enabled TVs and Computers.

Once again, it is the direction of the wireless relationship which is vital as shown below

This flow chart shows wireless audio sources sending their audio over Bluetooth, but rather than being received directly by a pair of Bluetooth Headphones the audio is picked up by a Bluetooth Receiver. This allows audio to be received to the adapter, which can then send it through the cable to the audio device.

Once the receiver has received the Bluetooth audio, any wired device connected can play it as if it were Bluetooth-enabled itself!

Think of a Bluetooth Receiver as a wireless audio input.

Do You Need a Transmitter or Receiver?

Using the above flow charts you can work out which direction you need the wireless connection to go in, and therefore easily decide which adapter to buy. Some common examples are below to help you:

"I want to play my TV audio wirelessly, but my TV doesn't have Bluetooth"

Connect a Bluetooth Transmitter adapter to the TV by cable, and then pair the transmitter to your wireless headphones, earphones or hearing aids. The transmitter will add wireless audio output to the TV.

"I want to play Spotify on my phone through the car stereo"

Connect a Bluetooth Receiver to the car stereo by cable, and then pair the phone to the receiver. When you play Spotify, it will play to the Receiver wirelessly which will then pass it via cable to the stereo. The receiver will add wireless audio input to the car.

"I want to hear my radio in bed but my wired headphones don't reach"

If both devices would be wired, you will need to ensure both have access to Bluetooth. Connect a Bluetooth Transmitter to the radio and a Bluetooth Receiver to the headphones to make them both wireless. Or, purchase either a Bluetooth Radio or Bluetooth Headphones then use a single adapter for the other device.

Can a Bluetooth Adapter Transmit and Receive?

There are adapters available which have both Transmitter and Receiver types in one adapter. However, these require you to select a mode. For example, you could use the adapter to play your Phone apps in the car stereo as a receiver, then take the adapter inside when you get home and use it to transmit audio from the TV.

However, you cannot use the transmitter and receiver mode of a single adapter simultaneously. This would limit the device to merely being a Bluetooth repeater, or require wired connections both ways which would negate the purpose!

This is why the best way to use Bluetooth adapters is to ensure ONE of the devices in the flow chart already has Bluetooth, and add the adapter to the other.

Explore the Range

Familiarise yourself with the range of newly updated MR adapters! These adapters are Bluetooth 5.0 which is double the speed of prior versions, as well as capable of HD stereo audio. Find the perfect, miniature Bluetooth transmitter or receiver with the latest Bluetooth 5+ Chipset for under £30

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