The sound quality of the built-in speakers of modern TVs is often much worse than the TV picture. Therefore, connect external speakers to the TV if you want to improve the sound and achieve a much more cinematic feeling.
In this article, you’ll learn the 5 best options for connecting your external speakers to your TV at home. We’ll also briefly discuss the different aspects of soundbars and surround systems and explain what you need to keep in mind.
- How to Connect External Speakers to Your TV
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Types of Speakers Do You Want to Connect to Your TV?
Before you get into the actual connection of speakers, you first need to consider what types of speakers there are for TVs in the first place. These are essentially soundbars and surround systems.
Soundbars are easy to set up and integrate. You need to connect it to the TV via an optical cable or the HDMI cable. Then plug it into the power source, and you’re ready to go.
Besides the TV, you can usually pair other devices with it. For example, a smartphone or other device can be connected via Bluetooth.
A good soundbar doesn’t necessarily cost a lot of money. Especially if you only want to make small improvements to the sound, the soundbar is your choice.
Compared to a surround sound system, you can save a lot of space by using a soundbar. Thanks to its slim design, it can be easily placed on a TV shelf and does not interfere at all.
Although the soundbar is more than enough for many home theater living situations, it usually can’t keep up with an entire sound system. This is because soundbars can only imitate surround sound.
More speakers also produce more sound. The surround system even covers different frequency ranges that you can perceive from all sides.
There are usually countless devices in today’s living room that require different connection options. The sound system’s receiver can be used as a central control unit and connected to various devices. However, this connection of external devices is usually limited to ordinary soundbars.
With a surround system, you don’t have to buy everything as a complete package but expand it over time. The system can then be expanded at your own pace and adapted to your changing living situation.
Unfortunately, in addition to the speakers, there are also many additional cables that you should connect as unobtrusively as possible with a well-organized cable management system.
Although you can slowly expand your system to 5.1 or 7.1, the cost of the whole thing is usually quite high. All in all, you need additional components like speakers and a receiver.
How to Connect External Speakers to Your TV
Option 1. HDMI
The high-definition multimedia interface has long been a standard connection for televisions, computers, video recorders and various screens. But because the HDMI output can also transmit audio signals, it is increasingly being used to connect speakers, especially for soundbars and modern surround systems.
One big advantage over the digital S/PDIF competition: HDMI has more bandwidth. If S/PDIF does not first calculate the amount of data via software, it cannot transmit Dolby True HD, for example.
Option 2. S/PDIF
This is the interface from Sony and Philips that can transmit digital audio signals. Here, you will find two types of connection: the Toslink transmission via an optical cable. You can usually recognize the socket on the TV by the flashing light behind the cover.
On the other hand, there are cables with RCA plugs, which are not red or white but usually orange compared to conventional analog cables. Disadvantages: The devices have to be matched to each other.
Therefore, only certain soundbars, surround systems, and occasionally active speakers are possible. You can see which connector is available on the speaker on the back of your device.
Option 3. RCA
Good old-fashioned RCA plugs are still standard on hi-fi systems, and televisions also offer these types of connectors that output audio signals. In addition, RCA plugs always come in pairs for left and right audio signals.
In other words, more than stereo does not work through an analog RCA connector. RCA-based surround systems require a corresponding number of outputs on the TV.
Option 4. Jack
Like their RCA counterparts, Jack plugs also handle analog stereo signals, but in a single plug. This has two disadvantages: On the one hand, the plug is more susceptible to physical damage.
On the other hand, if the speakers are hardwired and you have the left and right speakers set up incorrectly, with RCA, you can simply reverse the two plugs on the TV. With the jack, you’d have to move the speakers.
Option 5. Bluetooth
Of course, modern smart TVs also offer a Bluetooth function that forwards signals to soundbars or speakers. This has two advantages: On the one hand, you logically don’t need any annoying cables.
On the other hand, soundbars or Bluetooth speakers can also be connected quickly and easily with other devices, such as smartphones. However, the data bandwidth is smaller with Bluetooth than with WLAN.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Connect Speakers Directly to My TV?
No. The speakers must be properly amplified.
Most TVs have an audio output for a powered speaker system, and the TV’s remote should operate the volume control on the speakers.
But it is generally easier to use a separate amplifier connected directly to the TV’s audio output and then connect the speakers to the amplifier.
Can I Connect Speakers to My TV Without a Receiver?
Yes, you can. The speakers will be connected to the TV directly, not through a receiver.
Most of the new Smart TVs are now equipped with Bluetooth, so if your speakers support Bluetooth as well, then you can connect them wirelessly to the TV. Also, keep in mind that many wireless speakers support optical input only. In this case, you will need to check whether your TV has an available optical output.
Some TVs have RCA ports or a 1/8″ mini-jack port that you can use to connect to a soundbar or home theater system with analog input.
Can You Use Stereo Speakers with a TV?
Yes, you can use stereo speakers with your TV. If you already have a great set of stereo speakers, there’s no need to get rid of them. There are several ways to connect stereo speakers to a TV, depending on the type of connections that your TV and stereo receiver have.
How Can I Connect Speakers to My TV Without AUX?
Auxillary is not the only way to connect speakers to a TV. Here are some other options:
- Wireless speakers: Some Bluetooth speakers can be paired directly to your TV, or you can use an adapter that plugs into your TV’s audio output and then connects to a pair of wireless speakers.
- HDMI: If your TV has an HDMI-ARC port, you can buy a soundbar that also has ARC (audio return channel). It will connect the same way as connecting the soundbar to a cable box or Blu-ray player, but the TV will control both devices’ volume at the same time.
- Optical audio: Soundbars and home theater systems with optical inputs can be connected directly to most TVs. The optical cable is usually included with the soundbar or home theater system, and it’s also available at most electronics stores.
Of course, how you end up upgrading your TV is up to you. However, there are many possibilities. Whether soundbar, Bluetooth box or classic stereo speakers, many things are possible without much effort.
Now you know what you can do if you want to connect external speakers to the TV.