Before buying the Xbox Series X, I wanted to determine if it had an optical out port.
Like any serious gamer, I bought a high-end headset that uses the optical port on the Xbox One a few years back.
My friend told me the PS5 doesn’t have an optical out port, and I wondered if my headset would become useless if the Xbox Series X also didn’t include the optical out feature.
I got on the internet to do some research, and this is what I found.
Does the Xbox Series X have an optical port? No, the Xbox Series X doesn’t come with an optical out port. Instead, the Xbox Series X has an HDMI out port that supports HDMI 2.1 features. HDMI 2.1 has more bandwidth and supports Dolby Atmos and 8K signals simultaneously.
Don’t worry if you’re used to connecting your sound system to your Xbox via the optical out port. You can use the optical port on your TV. Most TVs have this feature.
In the unlikely event that your TV doesn’t have an optical cable port, you should consider purchasing an HDMI Audio Extractor, or if possible, updating your sound system to use a USB port. I will get into more details about these three options later in the article.
Why Doesn’t The Xbox Series X Have An Optical Audio Port?
To the dismay of many Xbox lovers, Microsoft chose to ax the optical port in its Xbox Series X.
The optical out port is what many gamers use to extract audio from the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
Xbox senior management gave three key reasons for removing the optical port or Toslink.
- Low usage: If not enough people use a console feature, it is ruthlessly cut from the design to save money. From their own internal research Xbox says they found out not many players use the Toslink. So, sadly the optical link got the chop this time around.
- Cost: In an interview on IGN’s Unlocked podcast, the Executive Vice-President of Gaming at Microsoft Phil Spencer expounded on why they decide to chuck the optical port and invest elsewhere “So if you look at a part on a console that’s maybe one, or two dollars and you say, ‘okay, how big of a deal is that inside of a console?’ That’s a few hundred dollars. But then you say, ‘okay, we’re going to plan to sell, you know, 100 million of these consoles.’ So you take two bucks over 100 million now you’re $200 million over the life of the program.”
- Design. In an IGN interview, Spencer also said that the optical out port was not a good fit for the design they were going for with the Xbox series X. “Space considerations also influenced the decision not to have the optical audio port on the Xbox Series X,” he said.
So, if you have a sound system that connects via an audio port, it won’t be compatible with Xbox Series X. But don’t throw away these devices just yet.
Xbox Series X Optical Port Alternatives
The Xbox Series X not having an optical port is not a big deal.
Because there are other ways to connect your sound devices that use a Toslink to the Xbox Series X.
One way you can connect your sound system is via your TV’s optical out port. Like I said at the start of this post, most modern TVs have this feature.
On your TV, the optical port can be found at the back, side, or front. It looks like this:
Once you find your TV optical out port, you’ll need an HDMI cable and an optical out cable. The Xbox Series X comes with an HDMI 2.1 cable. With the cables in hand, do the following:
- Use the 2-meter ultra high-speed HDMI 2.1 cable your console comes with to connect the Xbox Series X to the TV.
- Plug one end of the HDMI cable into your Xbox Series X HDMI port.
- Next, plug the other end of the HDMI cable into one of your TV’s HDMI ports.
- Now, plug the optical cable into your sound system.
- Connect the other end of the Optical cable into your TV’s optical port.
- One final but important step, navigate to your TV’s sound settings to ensure sound is played through the optical out option. Once you check the sound settings, you should be able to play audio from your Xbox through your sound system.
Using the TV optical port has added advantages. Apart from playing sound from the console, audio from movies, streaming media, and TV programs will also play through your sound system.
What If Your TV Doesn’t Have An Optical Output Port?
If your TV doesn’t have an optical audio connection, don’t stress about it.
There’s still a way you can get sound from your Xbox Series X through your preferred audio system.
To do this, you would have to get yourself an HDMI Audio Extractor. Using this device, you will be able to tap the audio from the HDMI cable connected to your Xbox and connect your audio system using an optical cable.
HDMI audio extractors don’t cost much. You can find several reasonably priced options online. I recommend you get the J-Tech 4k HDMI 2.0 HDCP 2.2 splitter.
I have used this device, and it worked perfectly for me. But don’t take my word for it. The J-tech has loads of 5-star reviews on Amazon.
The J-Tech will help you extract the HDMI audio signal from your Xbox Series X HDMI output and convert it to optical out.
Here is how to do the connection using the HDMI audio extractor.
- Power your extractor using the 5V power adapter it comes with. The “Power” LED light will come on to show it is receiving power.
- Connect the Xbox Series X to the sound extractor. You’ll do this using an HDMI cable. The cable goes into the HDMI output on the console and the HDMI input of the extractor. When you make the connection, the “Link” LED light on the HDMI sound extractor will light up once an HDMI input signal is detected.
- Connect your TV to the HDMI output of the extractor. You’ll need another HDMI cable to do this other than the one that comes with the Xbox Series X.
- Connect your sound system to the optical output port of the sound extractor using an optical cable.
- You should then be able to receive sound from your Xbox Series X to your audio system.
Below is an image of the connection process:
Updating Your Sound System
Astro recently released a firmware update that allows you to connect the headsets once updated to the Xbox Series X using the USB port.
How to Update Your Astro Headset to Work Work With the Xbox Series X
Graphics: If we could have images detailing the process below that would be nice.
- Connect the MixAmp often paired with Astro headsets to a Mac or PC using the USB port. For the Base Station, ensure they are charging.
- Go to the Astro Gaming site, and depending on which machine you’re using, download the Astro Command Center software for PC or Mac.
- Once you download the software, click next to install it.
- You’ll be asked where to save the software. Choose your preferred location, or the software will be placed in the program files.
- Once you choose where to place the software, click install.
- When the setup wizard is complete, you’ll receive a popup window. Click finish to complete the installation.
- Open the software, and on the command center dashboard, you will see the firmware update version of the headset you’re using. Click on the update now button.
- You’ll be shown all the updates available for your headset and asked if you want to proceed with the updates.
- Click yes to proceed, and once the update is done, you’ll get a notification. Click OK on this notification.
- When the update is complete, disconnect your Astro device from your Mac or PC. Proceed to connect the device to your Xbox Series X via the integrated USB port, and you can now enjoy your favorite game.
Microsoft says they are working with other audio partners, so they will also provide ways to update their devices. If that is not possible they will roll out new equipment that doesn’t connect using optical out ports.
The Xbox Series X is the first console that Microsoft has released without an optical port.
But the lack of an optical port on the Xbox Series X should not get in the way of you enjoying your favorite game.
You can get sound out of your Xbox using your TV’s optical port. If it doesn’t have one, you could buy an HDMI Audio Extractor, to tap the sound out of your Xbox Series X.
Lastly, if possible, you could update your current audio device so you can connect it directly to the Xbox using the USB portal available.
Can the Xbox Series X and S connect to 5ghz Wifi? Yes. The Xbox Series X and S can connect to a 5Ghz wifi router. However, it might not be the best internet connection to use with your Xbox. Find out more about using 5ghz Wifi with the Xbox Series X and S in this article.
How big is the Xbox Series X operating system? The operating system and systems files on the Xbox Series X take about 198 gigabytes on the console’s SSD. That leaves roughly 802 GB for games. Read more about the Series X operating system specs in this article.
Do you need the internet for Xbox Series X? It depends on what you’re doing. To download and buy games, you need an internet connection. But you don’t need the internet to play the games you buy. I answer this question in detail in my post here.