Headphones can be a great addition to your home theater, whether you're looking to simplify your setup or if you want to enjoy movies and TV shows without disturbing those around you. Unlike many headphones designed for casual use, dedicated TV headphones tend to offer audio settings like surround sound and bass control to help you get the most out of your content. They also usually have wireless designs to eliminate audio cables running from the couch to your TV. While Bluetooth wireless headphones can have high audio lag, which can cause your audio and visuals to fall out of sync with one another, many dedicated TV headphones use specialized docks and transmitters to ensure low latency and reduce annoying lip-sync issues.
We've tested over 700 pairs of headphones, and below, you'll find our recommendations for the best headphones for watching tv. See our recommendations for the best wireless gaming headsets, the best audiophile headphones, and the best wired headphones.
The best TV headphones we've tested are the Sennheiser RS 195 RF Wireless. These dedicated home theater headphones have a specialized receiver dock that directly plugs into most TVs and lets you use them wirelessly with low latency. The buttons on each ear cup allow you to easily adjust their volume as well as toggle between music and speech modes to help improve audio quality. They have 'Personal Hearing' profiles that the manufacturer advertises to enhance your listening experience by matching the EQ to your personal preferences. Their bass-heavy sound profile provides extra thump and rumble that makes sound effects in action sequences feel more immersive without drowning out the dialogue. They're prone to inconsistencies in audio delivery, though, and you may experience a drop in bass if you wear glasses or have thick hair.
These over-ears have a comfortable fit but don't distribute pressure well, so some places where they contact your head, like below the earlobe and on top of the head, can get sore after a while. On the upside, they're well-built, and their stand acts as a charger when you're not using them. They last around 19 hours continuously and use rechargeable AAA batteries. However, they take more than eight hours to charge fully, which might be a deal-breaker if you want to use the headphones again later in the same day.
In the upper mid-range price point, the Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless are the best wireless headphones for TV. They're part of the same lineup as the Sennheiser RS 195 RF Wireless and offer similar performance at a lower price. Like the RS 195 RF headphones, their bass-heavy sound profile can make action-packed movies and shows seem more immersive. Their receiver dock easily connects to your TV and provides a low latency connection, so your audio and visuals don't fall out of sync. Compared to their pricier sibling, they aren't as sturdy and are missing a few extra features, including the RS 195 RF's 'Personal Hearing' profiles. Fortunately, their control scheme is easy to use, and they have a physical button on one ear cup that you can use to add more bass or activate surround sound.
While they can't passively isolate you from the level of ambient noise found during a commute, they can cut out a fair amount of noise at home, like background conversation, which is nice when you're watching a movie in a shared space. Their rechargeable AAA batteries provide about 24 hours of continuous playback but take more than eight hours to recharge, which can be a problem if you forget to charge them overnight. You don't have the option of using them wired if the battery is dead. Their sound is more dependent on their fit and positioning on your head than the RS 195 RF, so adjusting them is important to get a consistent sound. However, you may notice a drop in bass if you have thick hair or wear glasses.
If you don't want to sacrifice a wireless connection, the Sony WH-CH710N Wireless are a solid lower mid-range option. They won't offer better performance than our top Bluetooth pick, the Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless, since they don't have a dock and only support SBC codec, which is the default Bluetooth codec. Their latency is also high and not as good as the Sennheiser, which use a wireless transmitter base to help lower sync issues. Out of the box, these over-ears have a bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra thump, rumble, and boom to audio, which can help immerse you in content with lots of action scenes. That said, fans of dramas or sitcoms will enjoy how clear and present dialogue and instruments sound throughout the mix.
They have a comfortable fit suitable for long movie marathons and last over 29 hours continuously and take a little over five hours to fully charge, which is less than our pricier picks. You can also use them wired in a pinch, thanks to their 1/8" TRS cable, but the cable may not be long enough to reach your couch while watching TV. If you're looking for mid-range TV headphones with a wireless dock, consider the Avantree HT5009 Wireless. They have lower latency and longer continuous battery life but aren't as comfortable or versatile for other activities, like commuting or using at the office.
If you want the best wireless headphones for TV at the lowest price, the Logitech G433 are a pair to consider. These gaming headphones have a detachable mic and can be used casually on the couch. They aren't wireless, which could be a downside for some, but the analog connection eliminates the risk of your sound and video falling out of sync. Their sound profile is well-balanced, although they won't add thump and punch to action scenes like the Sennheiser RS 195 RF Wireless. A bump in the high-bass adds warmth, and elements like dialogue and instruments sound present and clear.
If you prefer a different sound, they have a companion app with a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. Unfortunately, the headphones are very prone to inconsistencies in bass and treble delivery, so it's important to take the time to adjust their fit, positioning, and seal each time you wear them. Their limited control scheme also only includes a volume wheel that scrolls infinitely by default. The earcup padding seems prone to wear and tear, but they come with a second pair of earcup pads that you can switch in.
The Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless are the best Bluetooth headphones for TV we've tested. Although Bluetooth headphones like the Sony WH-CH710N Wireless tend to have high audio lag, one way of countering this issue is using a different Bluetooth codec than the standard SBC. Not all headphones have additional codec support, though. Enter the PXC 550-II: they support aptX-LL, a low latency codec that helps ensure that your audio and visuals stay in sync while watching your favorite shows. However, you'll need to ensure you have a Bluetooth adapter or transmitter that supports this codec. They have over 21 hours of continuous battery life, and you can use them while charging, which is handy in a pinch.
These comfortable over-ears support multi-device pairing, so you can have them connected to your TV and smartphone simultaneously. Thanks to their ANC system, you can also block ambient sound, like chatty roommates for those living in a shared space. Their bright sound profile is well-suited for vocal-centric and dialogue-heavy content too. Their treble delivery is sensitive to the headphones' position and fit on your head. Since they also have a closed-back design, their passive soundstage doesn't seem very immersive or spacious.
Jan 25, 2023: We've replaced the Astro A50 with the Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless and made the Sony WH-CH710N Wireless. Text overhaul for clarity and flow.
Oct 28, 2022: Updated text and checked that products are available in the right price range.
Aug 17, 2022: We've rehauled this article to improve its quality. We've added the following picks: the Sennheiser RS 175 RF Wireless, which are often compared to the Sennheiser RS 195 RF Wireless, and the Sony WH-CH710N Wireless, which are more affordable Bluetooth headphones that work well if you have a newer Sony TV. We've also updated our Notable Mentions and removed old and out-of-date picks.
Apr 26, 2022: We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Feb 25, 2022: Checked our picks for product availability and accuracy. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for movies and TV 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 are all our headphone reviews, sorted by their latency with aptX-LL. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones for watching movies or TV shows. 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.