Problem: You get on a flight, only to realize you packed wireless earbuds — meaning you can’t use the in-flight entertainment system.
Similar problem: Lots of health clubs have cardio machines with headphone jacks, but you want to use your wireless ‘buds.
Related problem: The Nintendo Switch doesn’t support Bluetooth headphones.
Offshoot problem: Your spouse is going to murder if you don’t turn the damn TV down, but your TV doesn’t support Bluetooth headphones.
All these problems (and more!) can be solved by a single device: a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver. Fancy ones like the Twelve South AirFly can run as much as $45, but I’ve got a better option: For a limited time, and while supplies last, Cheapskate readers can get the TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter and Receiver for $19.99 with promo code CNETEVG5. Regular price: $29.99. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page.
This portable, rechargeable gizmo can plug into any headphone or audio-out jack (airplanes, health clubs, older cars, Nintendo Switch, you get the idea) and broadcast that audio to your preferred Bluetooth headphones. It does this using low-latency aptX technology, meaning audio and video should be correctly synchronized if you’re watching something.
That’s the transmit option. As a receiver, the device lets you plug in, say, a favorite set of wired headphones or a wired speaker — anything that doesn’t have native Bluetooth capabilities. Then just pair it with your phone, tablet or anything else that broadcasts Bluetooth audio.
Handy, no? The TaoTronics has a rechargeable battery that’s good for up to 10 hours, though if you’re planning to give it a full-time home (like plugged into your TV), it can operate while plugged into power.
I’ve used similar devices, though not this exact one. It has a 4.2-star average rating from over 2,000 buyers and a 12-month warranty from TaoTronics — 18 months if you register it after purchase.
I feel like this is kind of a must-have item, even if you have just one Bluetooth-audio problem you need to solve. For $20, it’s a cheap fix.
Read more: The best home audio products for 2019
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