Ask Adrian: Problems Pairing AirPods and TVs and Using a Projector to Watch Outdoors

Question I’m at my wit’s end trying to find a smart TV that is compatible with Apple AirPods. My problem is that I am limited to anything that exceeds a 42 inch screen. Do you have any suggestions? – Philippe Gavin

This is a much trickier problem than it should be. In theory, almost all new TVs come with Bluetooth, which means you should just be able to pair your AirPods with them. In reality, different TVs act quite differently with different types of Bluetooth headphones. I’ll give my own recently purchased TV, a high-end 55-inch Sony A8 Oled model, as an example.
It will pair with any Bluetooth headset or earphones (including AirPods). But there are two problems. Firstly, some headphones and earphones have a slight delay when watching live TV. In other words, you don’t see an actor’s lips moving as you hear the words. Unfortunately, Apple’s AirPods are affected by this. There is not the same delay, for example, when I watch with Sony’s WH-1000XM3 overhead headphones. To complicate matters, the delay is not the same when watching a streaming option like Netflix or Disney + directly (where it’s closer to synchronicity) than from TV, even using AirPods. .
It’s also finicky when it comes to controlling exactly which audio output is on or off at any given time. For example, you might want headphones or earphones because you have to listen at a higher volume than others in the room. But it will often also play at the same chosen volume throughout the room, through the TV speakers. (If this is your problem, there are other solutions that make it easier for you to split the audio signal.)
So I am afraid that if you really want to use only Apple’s AirPods, you will have a hard time getting everything to work properly. There is still the option of traditional wired earphones or headphones, which are supported by some brands of TVs. Panasonic televisions often have this feature, for example; this is one of the reasons I bought a 40 inch economy model two years ago.

I wonder if I can use a projector as an alternative to a TV. I read that the image can be much larger. I would like to invite friends over to watch some of the big games. Do you have a recommendation?
– Gary McLoughlin
There is a very big difference between indoor and outdoor projection – the exterior is almost always much brighter (especially during the summer months during major sports tournaments) and therefore more difficult to clearly distinguish.
But yes, you can watch live TV or streaming options (Netflix, Disney + and others) through a projector. It’s pretty straightforward for the majority of people in Ireland with Virgin or Sky TV service – just connect your cable or Sky box to the projector via an HDMI cable. Whatever streaming options are available through these boxes, you should also be available through the projector, although you can also just use something like a Chromecast, Apple TV, or Amazon Fire TV to access streaming directly.
When it comes to which model to choose, the more you spend, the better your photo will be. But in general, 400 or 500 € should give you a pretty decent model, bright and clear on the inside, although it is much more variable on the outside. I would look at the Epson EH-TW740 (€ 579 at Harvey Norman). It has decent brightness levels and is relatively good value for money. It’s only “full HD” resolution, but it’s as good as you’ll get in this price range and, unless you’re sitting a few feet from the projection area, that’s really good. . Keep in mind that you will also need an external speaker as the sound from the projectors is weak and weak. Recommendation: Epson EH-TW740 (579 € at Harvey Norman)

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