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Radio frequency wireless TV headphone sets, also referred to as RF headphones, broadcast in much the same way as a radio station, only on a much tighter band and with much shorter range.
This communication format is one of the oldest in existence, and the reason for that is its simplicity and the wide variety of frequencies on which different devices can transmit. Cell phones, radio stations and television stations all operate off of radio waves at different frequencies.
Even if you receive your television via cable, it still comes from a satellite to a dish where it is then cleaned up before being piped to your home with a cable. With the exception of the internet, which only operates wirelessly at the end user level, pretty much every modern communication medium travels via radio waves.
Nowadays, radio bands are commodities, and most countries regulate their usage to be sure that there are as few conflicts as possible. The recent digital TV transition was because of Walkie Talkie frequency usage. The United States government wanted TV broadcasters to switch to a digital format because this format is much more compact than analog, which is what we used to use.
This freed up much of the air waves for other things, such as more advanced cell phone features and, hopefully, a strong wireless internet service.
Wireless headphones for TV are similar to cordless phones in that they are only meant to work within one household. They have a range of about 300 feet, give or take depending on what types of materials they have to pass through to get to their destination, such as walls that may contain anything from fiberglass to steel.
These different materials can and will affect any wireless radio signal. They also are susceptible to interference from anything else radio that may be operating at or near their frequency. This isn’t just limited to cordless phones, either. Wireless routers, as well as electromagnetic fields around electronic appliances can wreak havoc with, and often add random noise to anything that works off radio.
Whether this noise is audible to the listener and to what effect depends largely on the end user, though it’s safe to say that RF will always have some sort of interference and what is received will never be 100% of what was transmitted.
It’s even possible that someone using a cordless phone could be able to hear the sounds being transmitted to your wireless TV headphone set, though odds are pretty good that the signal would not be understandable as they’re probably not going to be working on exactly the same frequency, only close.
Sometimes this can be addressed by varying the frequencies of your different electronics. Cordless phone manufacturers especially go out of their way to produce phones that work on unusual frequencies for just this reason, though 900 megahertz phones seem to be on their way out, which is a shame because their audio quality was perfectly fine and they offered a cheap solution to any conflicts with 2.4 gigahertz equipment.
For example, all wireless routers use only the 2.4 gigahertz frequency.
There are so many radio waves bouncing around in our atmosphere, and so many things that can disrupt them that there is simply no way to ever guarantee much of anything when it comes to radio. The best idea is often to just purchase whatever it is you’re wanting to use, and return it if you’re unable to make it work with your other electronics.
Be wary if you live in an apartment complex or duplex, though, as your neighbors may or may not currently have all of their radio based equipment up and running at the time of your test. If you’re able to use a set of RF wireless TV headphones without any noticeable distortion, then RF is certainly going to be your best, cheapest, longest range option.