If you want to immerse yourself in your favorite movie or TV show, there are lots of different headphone options out there for you to enjoy. Gaming headsets can be great for watching TV since they tend to be comfortable and have very low latency, but some people find them difficult to set up. Dedicated TV headphones that use a wireless RF transmitter stand are usually easier to use but can be expensive. Most Bluetooth headphones have too much audio lag to be suitable for watching TV, but some models can achiever lower latency with a dedicated Bluetooth dongle.
Regardless of what kind of headphones you choose, sound quality, isolation, and leakage will be important to consider. Open-back headphones tend to have a more spacious, immersive sound but they also leak a lot, which can be disturbing to others. Closed-back headphones might not have the same open sound, but they tend to have better isolation, especially if they have an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature.
So far, we've reviewed 364 headsets and below are our recommendations for the best TV headphones of 2019. See also our recommendations for the best wireless TV headphones and the best gaming headsets.
The best TV headphones we’ve tested so far are the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. They’re comfortable, well-built gaming headphones that you can set up with a variety of home theatre systems thanks to their versatile wireless transmitter. They also support Bluetooth, making it extra easy to take a call on your smartphone while remaining connected to your TV. If you happen to also be a gamer, their great boom microphone will be a welcome addition.
These headphones have very good sound that is well-suited for not only movies and TV shows, but is versatile enough for a wide variety of music genres or even audiobooks and podcasts. They come with two swappable batteries so you can keep one battery in use in the headset and the other always charging. They last for about 15 hours when their battery is fully charged, but when it finally runs out of power, you just swap it for the other one.
The dual-battery system of these headphones is great, but some may prefer the dedicated charging stand of the Astro A50. Both isolate rather poorly for closed-back headphones, but the Astro leak much more sound, so these headphones are a better choice if you have roommates or a partner you don’t want to disturb. If you like the design of these but find them a bit too expensive, you can also check out the similar Arctis 7 2019 Edition, which are much cheaper but aren’t as feature-packed.
If you don’t like the bulky gamer-centric design of gaming headphones and are looking for more typical home theater headphones that you want just for watching TV and movies, then get the Sennheiser RS 185. They don’t have Bluetooth like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but they're easier to set up and use with most home theatre systems. They come with a dedicated RF transmitter stand that connects the headphones to your TV wirelessly and charges them when not in use.
They are open-back headphones that sound good overall, with a more open and bright sound than the closed-back SteelSeries. Some people may find they sound a bit sharp, but not everyone will be bothered by this. Some may prefer their brighter sound and find it helps with dialogue and makes the headphones feel more spacious. They’re powered by AAA batteries and can last for up to 22 hours on a charge.
On the downside, they don’t feel quite as well-made as their price may suggest. Their open-back design also doesn’t isolate at all, so they’re best used in a quiet room where you won’t disturb or be disturbed by others. That said, they have a decent amount of connection options and their charging stand is pretty convenient. If you don’t mind using AAA batteries, they’re a decent choice if you prefer dedicated TV headphones.
If you find the Sennheiser RS 185 too expensive and prefer closed-back headphones that don’t leak as much sound, then get the Sennheiser RS 165. They don’t have as many connectivity options as the RS 185, but if all you need is a line-in, then they are a decent, cheaper alternative. They’re comfortable, sound good and have the same great charging stand as the RS 185.
Unfortunately, they feel rather cheaply made. They feel decently durable, but not quite as well-built as other similarly priced headphones like the HyperX Cloud Mix, which are gaming headphones that support Bluetooth. However, the HyperX need to be used wired when watching TV since their Bluetooth latency is too high, so they don’t provide the convenience of the Sennheiser, which are dedicated for TV.
If you prefer the casual design and added noise isolation of ANC Bluetooth headphones but want to be able to use them wirelessly with your TV as well, then get the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They don’t isolate as much noise as other ANC headphones nor do they have a dedicated wireless transmitter, but with the right accessories, they make for decent TV headphones thanks to their satisfying bass-rich sound and intuitive controls.
Since they are Bluetooth headphones, you’ll have to purchase an aptX Low Latency dongle to get the best latency performance for watching video content. It might take some time to get them set them up initially, but thankfully they support multi-device pairing so you can keep them paired to your TV even if you connect to another device. They have an excellent 30-hour battery life and a comfortable and durable build that's easy to use with intuitive controls.
On the downside, they have a rather bulky design that isn’t the most aesthetically appealing. You may want to consider the Dolby Dimension if you’re looking for stylish Bluetooth headphones that’ll look great on your TV stand, but the Dimension are rather expensive and might not provide as good value as the BackBeat Pro 2 for most users.
If you’re looking for TV headphones that won’t break the bank and you don’t mind a wired design, the best headphones for watching movies in the budget category are the Logitech G433. They don’t have the convenience of wireless headphones, but their low latency wired connection makes them a suitable option for watching a lot of video content without any lag.
They have a casual, closed-back design that comes with a mobile-friendly cable so you can also use them with your phone. They have a surprisingly well-balanced sound that's on par with much more expensive headphones, which makes them a good choice for gaming too, especially since they can be customized with the Logitech Gaming Software app on PC.
Although they feel fairly well-made overall, they don’t feel quite as durable as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. You also may need to purchase an AUX extension cord, depending on your home theater setup. If you happen to use a PC or a PS4 to watch TV instead of a traditional cable box, you may want to consider the Corsair HS70 Wireless. The Corsair feel much better-built, but they don’t have the universal compatibility of the wired Logitech G433.
If you prefer an open-back design and also like listening to music at home too, then get the Philips SHP9500. They’re not as versatile as the Logitech G433 since they don’t have a microphone or any customization options, but if you’re just looking for simple, great-sounding budget headphones, they are hard to beat.
If you have a noisy household, you might want to steer away from them since they don’t isolate noise at all. They also leak a lot of sound, which can be bothersome to those around you. That said, if you’re looking for comfortable headphones to watch movies or listen to music by yourself at a great price, they are definitely worth taking a look at.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for movies and TV shows for most people to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones that are good for home theater use. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones for watching movies. Personal taste, media content, home environment, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you have a lively home or wish not to disturb anyone around you with leakage.