Wireless Headphones? How Does That Work?

Wireless technology seems to be taking over the world. It is certainly convenient. It eliminates the complicated and often unsightly mess of cords and wires. It also provides you with a bit of freedom. You no longer have to be tethered to your device to hear the audio. But how exactly does this technology work? Three Technologies that Work Differently First it’s important to know that there are three basic wireless technologies. They include infrared, radio frequency and Bluetooth. Bluetooth actually uses radio frequency but it uses it in a slightly different manner. Let’s take a look at each. Radio Frequency Wireless headphones that use radio frequency require a transmitter. This transmitter is plugged into a power supply. It also must be connected to your device. For example, if you want to listen to your television with wireless headphones your base unit will need to be connected to your television. The receiver sends electric signals to the base unit. The base unit then converts the signals into radio signals. It taps into a radio frequency and sends it through the air to your headphones. To use your headphones you’ll need to be within range of the transmitter. Your headphones then convert the radio signals back into sound. Bluetooth Bluetooth works very similarly. However, instead of tapping into one radio frequency it scans through thousands every minute. This helps ensure there is no interference. Some devices come ready to receive and transmit Bluetooth signals. They’re called “Bluetooth enabled.” However, if you want to connect Bluetooth headphones to another device you can purchase transmitters. Infrared Wireless Headphones Infrared wireless headphones also use a transmitter that must be connected to the device you want to listen to. Instead of sending radio waves, it sends light-emitting diodes, aka LEDs. They’re collected into a focused beam of invisible light that’s sent to the receiver. The receiver then converts the signal into sound. As you might imagine, in order to receive the sound you need to be near the transmitter and in line with it. If something blocks the light being sent to the receiver in your headphones, you will lose sound. However, unlike radio frequency you won’t receive any interference. Any type of wireless headphone goes through a three step process. Your device, for example your stereo or television, sends a signal to the transmitter. Your transmitter sends a signal to your headphones. The signal is then converted into sound. When your device is equipped with a transmitter, for example a Bluetooth enabled device, then you won’t see the three pieces of equipment necessary for the transmission process. However, you don’t need a special device to receive the benefit of wireless headphones. A transmitter and headphones work for most devices. It’s advanced technology that most everyone can enjoy.


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