How to Connect Your TV to an External Audio System


How to Connect Your TV to an External Audio System – While the introduction of 4K and UHD technology improved the picture quality of televisions significantly, the sound quality of any home entertainment system is equally important. In this article, we’ll cover five different methods for connecting a television to an external audio system, including those made by LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, and Vizio.

Five Different Methods for Connecting Your Television to an External Audio System
Connecting the TV to an external sound system is a superior alternative to using the set’s internal speakers. There are up to five options for sending audio from a TV antenna, cable box, or streaming device to an external sound system, such as a soundbar, home-theater-in-a-box system, stereo receiver, or home theater receiver, depending on the brand or model of TV.

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The simplest method of enhancing television listening is to connect the analog stereo outputs (also known as RCA outputs) of the television to an external audio system. The following are the fundamental steps:

  • Connect RCA cables to the television’s analog audio output.
  • The other end of the RCA cables should be connected to a set of available analog audio inputs on a soundbar, home-theater-in-a-box system, stereo receiver, home theater receiver, or powered speakers.
  • After connecting everything, turn on the soundbar, receiver, or other audio devices you’re using, and then follow the instructions for external audio setup on your television.
  • To hear the sound, select the input on your audio system to which the TV is connected.
  • The RCA connection outputs connect the television’s two-channel stereo output to an external audio system.

If using the analog connection option with a soundbar, verify that the soundbar supports audio enhancement features such as virtual surround sound, which expands the soundstage for a more immersive listening experience. Check for additional audio settings, such as Dolby Prologic II/IIx or DTS Neo:6, if connected to a home-theater-in-a-box or home theater receiver. If this is the case, a surround sound signal can still be extracted from the stereo input signal.

On many newer televisions, analog connections such as RCA or 3.5mm are no longer available. This means that if you are purchasing a new television set and your soundbar or audio system only supports analog audio inputs, you must ensure that the television you purchase supports analog audio output. Otherwise, you’ll need to purchase a soundbar or audio system that supports either digital optical audio or HDMI-ARC connections, as discussed in the following two sections.

The digital optical audio output connection is a superior method of connecting your television’s audio to an external audio system.

  • Connect a digital optical cable to your television’s digital optical output.
  • The other end of the cable should be connected to a corresponding digital optical input on a soundbar, home-theater-in-a-box system, or home theater receiver.
  • After connecting the cable, proceed with the setup procedures for your television and audio system.
  • To hear the sound, select the digital optical input as the source.

If you discover that your external audio system is not receiving any sound from the TV via the digital optical connection, navigate to your TV’s audio output settings and look for a PCM option. This may resolve the issue. This is the case with some soundbars that include a digital optical audio input but lack an onboard Dolby Digital or DTS 2.0+ decoder.

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