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 achieve 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 over 400 headsets and below are our recommendations for the best TV headphones. See our recommendations for the best gaming headsets.
The best wireless headphones for TV that we've tested to date are the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. While these headphones are designed for gaming, their retractable microphone and base station with a wide range of connectivity options make them a great choice for hooking up to your home theater system. They're quite comfortable thanks to their large, spacious, and well-padded ear cups, and they have volume control directly on the ear cups, so you can easily change the volume without reaching for the remote. Unfortunately, their headband limits their maximum size a bit, so they may be a bit tight for people with larger heads, though they should fit most people well.
Their out-of-the-box sound profile is very well-balanced and flat, and they don't sound boomy or muddy. If you want to customize their sound profile to suit your personal preferences, you can change their EQ within the companion software on Windows or macOS, or you can also adjust the bass directly on the transmitter base. Their transmitter base also works as a dock to hold your headphones and has a spot to charge one of the two included swappable batteries. The dock has a wide variety of connectivity options including optical, line-in, and USB. While the headphones are Bluetooth capable, connecting them to the TV this way isn't recommended as their high Bluetooth latency may result in sync issues.
Unfortunately, these headphones are quite expensive, but their versatile design means that you can likely use them as your day-to-day headphones, as well as for gaming, making their higher price tag worth it if you use your headphones for a wide range of activities. Overall, if you're looking for a comfortable pair of over-ear headphones with a wide range of connectivity options that fit in well with any setup, these are a great option.
If you don't need a microphone or don't like the bulky design of gaming headsets and want a more traditional pair of TV headphones for watching TV and movies, get the Sennheiser RS 185 RF, which are some of the best TV headphones we've tested. They don't have Bluetooth like the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless, but they're easier to set up with most home theater systems. They come with a dedicated RF transmitter stand that plugs into your TV and connects wirelessly with the headphones; it also works as a charging base for your headphones when you aren't using them.
These open-back headphones sound quite well balanced overall. Some may find them a little bright; however, this could help with dialogue and make the headphones feel more spacious. They use a pair of AAA batteries for power which can be charged when the headphones are placed on their dock; a single charge will last for up to 22 hours.
On the downside, they don't feel quite as well-made as you may expect at this price point. Also, since they're open-back, they aren't ideal if you have a noisy home environment as lots of background sound will seep in. They also leak a lot of sound, so those around you will hear what you're listening to. That said, their charging stand and on-ear audio control are both convenient, making them some of the best home theater headphones.
If the Sennheiser RS 185 RF Wireless are too expensive or you don't want to disturb those around you with the sound from your headphones, then go with the Sennheiser RS 165. They feel even cheaper-made and their base station only has a standard line-in audio jack, but they sound good and their stand charges the headphones as well. Unlike the other Sennheiser, their closed-back design means they leak much less sound and do a much better job at blocking out noises around you. They're just as comfortable as the other Sennheiser headphones, though they're a bit more breathable, which should help for longer TV binging sessions.
Get the RS 185 if you need digital audio or RCA connections for your home theater setup, but if you're worried about sound leakage and only need a standard audio jack connection, go with the RS 165.
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, the best TV headphones with Bluetooth. They don’t isolate as much noise as other ANC headphones and they don't 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're 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 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 Wireless if you’re looking for more stylish Bluetooth headphones that’ll look great on your TV stand, but they're rather expensive and might not provide as good value as the Plantronics for most users.
If you need headphones for your TV but don't want to spend too much, get the Logitech G433 as they're the best TV headphones in the budget category that we've tested to date. While they aren't wireless, these over-ear headphones have a detachable mic and are quite comfortable. Thanks to their wired design, they don't require a battery, so you don't need to worry about keeping them charged. They feature an in-line remote with volume control, so you can easily change the volume without needing to find your remote, and their build quality is quite decent for their price point.
Their out-of-the-box sound profile is quite well-balanced, with just a tiny extra thump of bass that isn't boomy or overpowering. Luckily, if you aren't happy with their sound, their companion software is compatible with both Windows and macOS and gives you access to a graphic EQ as well as presets. Their included cable is 6.5 feet long, so you may need an extension if you sit far away from your TV, and depending on your TV's connectivity options, you may need to purchase an aux to RCA adapter to plug them into your TV.
Unfortunately, their sound profile isn't consistent among users, so you may experience their bass or treble differently, especially if you wear glasses or have long hair. They also may not be the best choice to double as day-to-day headphones either as they isolate almost no background noise, and leak quite a bit of audio. Overall, however, if you want a pair of budget headphones for the TV and don't mind having a wire, these are a great option.
If you like over-ear headphones like the Logitech G433 Gaming Headset but want to experience the spaciousness of an open-back design, check out the Philips SHP9500. They're a basic pair of wired headphones that sound great for their price. They're comfortable to wear for a long time despite the bulkiness, and the build quality is pretty decent, albeit a bit plasticky. The open-back design also means that they don't isolate you from ambient noise, so it's best to use them in a quiet environment. There aren't any customization options like the Logitech or any extra features, but that's to be expected for headphones at this price point.
If you want a pair that can be customized and don't mind a closed-back design, get the Logitech, but if having great sounding headphones with a great soundstage is important, go with the Philips, which are some of the best headphones for movies, in addition to TV shows.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wireless headphones for 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.
01/27/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
10/21/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.