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How to connect speakers to your TV

So you’ve joined the 21st century and upgraded your TV’s tinny-sounding built in speakers. Now what? Time to make the connection and match up your inputs with your outputs. Whether it’s a soundbar, a stereo, or a surround receiver, let us help you connect speakers to your TV.

Editor’s note: this article was updated on January 30, 2023, to note the use of HDMI eARC.

Step 1: Look at the back of your TV

If you can see and access the panel where your TV’s inputs and outputs reside, then great! Move on to step 2 immediately.

If your TV is already mounted to the wall and you can’t see the outputs, you may want to check the user manual or do an online search for your specific model. This way, you can reference the paperwork and rather than go through the process of dismounting your TV. Alternatively, consider getting a new mount that will allow you to move the TV into different positions so you can access the ports in the future without much fuss.

Pay close attention to the ports on the back of your soundbar or receiver. You’ll need to match them to your TV.

Of course, you may just have to take the screen off the wall. Grab a blanket and place it on a flat plane like a floor or a table that’s big enough. If you don’t have blankets, find an area of clean carpet devoid of clutter. Now unlatch the TV from the wall mount, place it face down on your prepared area, and take a look at what outputs it has available.

Step 2: Identify your audio output options

What we’re looking for is something that says “audio out,” or any other port that sends audio out of your TV. This could be HDMI, optical, coaxial, RCAs, or a 3.5mm socket—it just has to be an output port that your receiver or soundbar also has available for input. Here are the types of ports we’re looking for to connect an external audio system to a TV:

  • Digital audio: HDMI, optical, or SPDIF (single coaxial RCA)
  • Analog audio: “Line Out” RCAs, “Aux Out”(3. 5mm TRS), or a “Headphone Out” (3.5mm TRS)

Note: If your TV and external audio system have more than one of these connections in common, you only need to pick one. They are listed in order of preference above. Digital connections are preferred over analog as they allow for cleaner signal transfer, and your external sound setup can better handle audio processing, rather than just using the TV’s analog feed.

If your TV or receiver are of the older variety, an analog connection may be your only option. Keep in mind that if one only offers RCAs and the other only offers a 3.5mm TRS socket, all is not lost, adapters do exist.

Step 3: Reconnect your TV

An optical cable is the best way to transmit audio data over short lengths.

If you’ve had to remove all the cables from your TV in the first step, now’s the time to make sure everything’s back the way it’s supposed to be; with the addition of whatever cable you will use to transfer audio to your sound system. Once you’ve plugged in the audio cable to the right audio output port, we can get a better sense of the best place to put your receiver or soundbar.

Step 4: Connect audio system to TV

Placing your audio system close to the TV helps hide unsightly cabling.

With the audio output cable connected to the TV and presumably dangling in the breeze, we’re ready to connect your receiver or soundbar of choice. The cables these products include are likely short, so putting your hardware directly underneath the TV on a stand, shelves, or entertainment center will be ideal. This also has the added benefit of fewer cabling rat’s nests.

If you have a soundbar

Congratulations! After you hook up the power cable and the other end of the audio cable to the appropriate input, you should be basically ready. All that’s left is for you to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and setup notes. If you have a Dolby Atmos or MPEG-H enabled soundbar like the Sennheiser AMBEO Soundbar, you may need to do a little more setup to enable the 3D sound features.

If you don’t want to hook up multiple things to your TV, many soundbars now support HDMI eARC, a feature that allows you to use the soundbar as a sort of receiver where you can plug in many devices to it and pipe the signal from the TV via a single HDMI cable. On the back of the TV there should be an HDMI port with an eARC label to identify the correct place to plug in your soundbar to the display.

If you’re hooking up a receiver

Ensure you’ve hooked up your main channels and satellite speakers using the provided cables. Place your speakers the way you’d like them to be arranged, then use the shortest length of speaker wire you can to connect them to your receiver. You probably won’t run into any power issues, but read up on it first just in case.

Once you’re done with this, you should be all set with the physical connections.

Step 5: Check the audio out in the TV’s menu settings

For Samsung TVs in particular, the audio output menu is easy to find.

On many TVs, the back panel audio outputs will be active by default. Ideally, you won’t need to do anything except turn the volume for the TV’s internal speakers all the way down. If you don’t decrease the TV speaker’s volume and sound plays through the TV and external audio source simultaneously, you can run into some strange and unpredictable audio effects caused by interaction between the two which can sound weird.

If your TV can’t send an audio signal to your external device, locate your TV’s audio settings through the “menu” button on your remote. Once you’ve done this, look for the “sound options” or “sound” menu, and select an item called “sound output,” or just “output.” From there, you should be able to toggle which output you want the TV to use to feed your system.

When the settings on both the TV and the system are correct, slowly turn up the volume on your new system until you hear whatever’s playing on the TV, grab some snacks, and you’re good to go.

How to connect external speakers to your TV |

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    If you’re like us, you’ll want to enjoy the ultimate movie experience in the comforts of your home, but sadly, our TVs just don’t cut it. Don’t get us wrong, the picture looks fine, the same can’t be said of the sound. The speakers on our TVs are tiny, squeaky in comparison to the ones ideal for music and movie listening. The same goes for laptops. The good news is that you can move to a superior listening experience using speakers you already own, or by investing in a new sound setup. They’re worth it, we assure you. Even an affordable set of multimedia speakers under Rs. 2,000 can do a lot for your setup, more than what the tiny speakers on your TV can, no matter how premium the TV model might be.

    If you’ve bought a sound setup or are planning on it, we hope to give you a glimpse of how easy it is connect your TV to your speakers. TVs can connect to speakers using a number of connectivity options, and we tell you the best way to set up yours.

    What to know before you start
    It’s a good idea to keep your TV and sound system’s manuals handy. If you can’t find them, download them from the manufacturer’s web site. Remember that we’re talking about connecting the output connectors on the TV, to the input connectors on the speakers. The manuals can tell you where to find these ports and what options your TV has. Other things to keep in mind are that you may need to configure some settings on the TV to tell it to use the external speakers, not the tiny ones we’re trying to escape. If you have no such option, you could turn down the volume on the TV entirely, and use the volume control for your external speakers.

    Using RCA cables

    RCA cables are one of the simplest ways of connecting your TV to your speaker system. They only carry stereo sound (2 channels – left and right), not surround sound. If you’re using a basic set of stereo or 2.1 speakers, this is usable. If you’re using surround speakers, they’ll only play stereo sound. The pair of cables and connectors are a pair, usually marked as red and white. These cables go from the red and white ports at the back of your TV (RCA output ports) to the input ports placed one of your speakers, or the subwoofer unit, in the case of the 2. 1 speakers. You should refer to the manual for the TV and the speakers to know exactly where these ports are located.

    Using 3.5mm analogue cables

    If your TV doesn’t use RCA connectors for audio output, it may have a headphone out port (3.5mm port). You can use this to connect your TV to the speakers. They’re the same connector used on phones, tablets, laptops, etc. For this, you’ll need to use a 3.5mm audio jack on the TV end and a RCA jack on the speaker end. If your speakers also use 3.5mm for input connectivity (instead of RCA connectors), you can use a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable. This method too is ideal for basic multimedia speakers but you can’t get surround sound using this cable.

    Using an HDMI (ARC) cable to connect the TV to an receiver or soundbar

    HDMI is one of the more preferable methods because it can transmit surround sound, without any quality loss, something RCA or 3.5mm connector methods suffer from. Surround sound speaker setups, receivers and soundbars without HDMI inputs are likely to support this. Your TV too needs to have an HDMI output port, sometimes marked HDMI-ARC. Connect a cable between the two devices using an HDMI cable.

    Using an HDMI cable via your receiver or soundbar through to the TV

    HDMI cables can also be used if you’re using a receiver or amplifier setup that has HDMI input ports. If your TV doesn’t have an HDMI output port, you can channel your sources (laptop, gaming console, set-top box) using an HDMI cable, through to the receiver/amplifier or soundbar then use a second HDMI cable from that device’s output port to your TV. That way, you can use the receiver or soundbar’s remote control to switch between inputs, not the TV. You’ll still hear all the audio through the speaker setup used. This is handy if HDMI-ARC isn’t an option or if you want to play music on your receiver/amplifier-powered speakers, without having your TV powered on all the time.

    Using an optical cable

    Optical cables are rarely used but they offer the same performance as HDMI. If your TV has an optical output, connect it from the TV to the receiver or soundbar if it supports it. You’ll be able to transmit surround sound by doing so. These cables tend to be thinner and more discrete than thicker HDMI or complicated RCA cable setups. You may need to make tweaks to your TVs or source’s settings to ensure audio is sent via the optical cable.

    Those were some of the simplest ways to connect your TV to your speakers. We recommend opting for a good soundbar or a surround sound speaker, amplifier-receiver setup. And if you haven’t yet tweaked your TV’s picture quality yet, we think you should. Don’t forget to read our feature articles on tweaking your TV’s picture quality in minutes, and also a more advanced calibration method. If you’re looking for more assistance, or help on purchasing speakers or TVs, you can drop us a query here or on our social media accounts.

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    HOW TO CONNECT SPEAKERS TO A TV – all the ways

    Good external speakers will improve the sound of even an old TV. High-quality speakers will add realism to any audio track – the main thing is to correctly connect them to the main equipment. How to do this is described below.

    What types of connectors are available

    Despite the variety of audio systems, today there are only 5 main types of connection, as the rest are either outdated or have not yet become popular.

    How to connect speakers to your TV

    When connecting audio devices to your TV, you need to consider their type. Based on this parameter, you need to select cables and adapters.

    Speakers are divided into 6 types, which will be discussed in more detail below.

    Active speakers

    Speakers with an amplifier that run on mains or battery and batteries. Speakers are connected without the use of adapters and add. devices. There are 3 types of active speaker connectors:

    1. RCA or “tulip” – the left and right channels are connected to the red and white jacks on the TV, respectively.
    2. The

    3. TRS or Mini Jack is a popular jack for home speakers. If the TV does not have such a connector, you should purchase an AUX cable, thanks to which the devices can connect to each other.
    4. Direct connection – rare. The list of allowed adapters for the model is usually specified in the instructions.

    Article for the curious: Detailed 4-point instructions on how to connect wireless and wired speakers to a laptop

    Passive speakers

    There is no built-in amplifier, so you need to be sure that the connected equipment will pull them. Most TVs have amplifiers, but they may not be enough for acoustics. According to the rules, the power of the amplifier should be 30% more than that of the speaker. The more powerful the amplifier, the better.

    The speaker impedance must match the output impedance of the amplifier. In addition, polarity must be observed (plus to plus, minus to minus), otherwise the sound will be worse than intended. If there are more than 2 speakers in the kit, you will have to buy an AV receiver that will combine the speaker signal and convert them linearly.

    Some amplifiers are equipped with a receiver to save money on adapters. For owners of modern TVs, it is advisable to purchase an amplifier with an HDMI connector – this way the sound will be transmitted in maximum quality.

    Informative article: Active and passive speakers – what is the difference: 3 selection criteria

    Music center

    They are usually equipped with an AUX output, which is also used in cars. To connect to TV, it is enough to buy an AUX cable and carry out the following actions:

    1. Connect TV and center. You need to connect the cord to the OUT connector on the center and In on the TV.
    2. Connect the speakers to the music system.
    3. Enable both devices.

    Sometimes the centers are connected through a “tulip” and a mini-jack. The connection logic is the same – the Out port on the transmitting device, the In connector on the receiving device.

    Useful article: Which is better: soundbar, music center or speaker system – an overview of 3 options The system will produce better sound than conventional speakers, but slightly worse than when using a home theater system. It consists of an amplifier, passive speakers and a subwoofer.

    SCART connector is used for connecting stereo systems – today it is rare. The connection problem is solved by purchasing a SCART-“tulip” or SCART-Mini Jack adapter.

    Note: Correctly setting up the speaker system on a PC – instructions in 2 sections Before connecting the subwoofer system to your TV, please read the instructions carefully. The user manual describes the possible adapters that can be used with this model.

    Important : Before connecting the devices, they must be de-energized, otherwise there is a high possibility of a short circuit.

    Home theater with subwoofer lets you immerse yourself in the world on your TV screen. Good audio systems transmit the smallest rustle that will change the perception of a movie or game.

    Read: Answers to 2 popular questions about a subwoofer – what is it and why is it needed? If the cinema is old and does not have such a port, you should read the instructions and choose among the possible connection options those that will not “chew” the sound.

    Connection algorithm:

    1. Connect speakers and subwoofer.
    2. Connect to receiver.
    3. Connect receiver to amplifier.
    4. Connect amplifier to TV.

    As a rule, after these steps, no additional settings need to be made – just plug the system into the electrical network. But it is better to revise the instructions. If it indicates the presence of settings, they should be carried out.

    Wireless speakers

    Many TVs have Bluetooth, even non-Smart TV models. The algorithm for connecting TV and wireless speakers is the same, but may differ from model to model:

    1. Turn on TV.
    2. Go to settings and turn on Bluetooth.
    3. Find Bluetooth devices that are ready to connect.
    4. Find speaker and sync.

    If the speakers do not sync, you should try another connection method, which will be indicated in the instructions for the TV.

    An interesting article: What are portable speakers – how to choose a portable speaker according to 11 parameters

    Types of cables

    13 HDMI – used when both devices have HDMI connectors. It transmits audio and video with original quality without distorting anything.

  • HDMI – mini, micro HDMI – used in portable devices to save space. The audio quality is slightly worse than HDMI, but still at a high level.
  • HDMI-DVI – a wire used to connect modern technology to an old TV or monitor. DVI is known as a “cable with screws” – it carries both image and sound.
  • SCART is another “dinosaur” from the world of cables, previously used for video and audio transmission. Today, you almost never see such equipment, so you have to look for an adapter for the right connector.
  • 3.5mm Stereo The is a classic audio jack found on most computer speakers and wired headphones.
  • RCA – the famous “tulip” found on all TVs released since the 80s.
  • USB – found in wireless speakers or inexpensive active speakers. The connector is available on most TVs released after 2010.
  • Micro USB – such cables are rare in TV, as classic USB is usually enough.
  • Lightning – used to connect Apple equipment. Depending on the connected equipment, additional adapters may be needed.
  • AUX – a wire that connects devices with a mini-jack port and TV with a “tulip”.