How to Connect External Speakers to a TV

By James Clark

Connecting external speakers to a television takes only a few minutes with audio cables that insert straight into RCA-type jacks on the TV. However, because the amplifier built into a TV is only powerful enough to drive the built-in speakers, some sort of power source is needed to run the external speakers. The solution is either to connect the TV to an amplifier for home theater and then connect speakers to the amp, or to use self-powered speakers, such as the small desktop models designed for connecting to a computer. Computer speakers may be the better option if floor space is unavailable for standard home theater speakers.

Things You'll Need

  • RCA audio cables
  • Amplifier
  • Speaker wire
  • Wire strippers
  • or
  • Self-powered speakers
  • Y-adapter with 2 RCA plugs on one end and a mini-plug jack on the other

Connecting Full-Size Speakers

Step 1

Insert the red and white plugs on a set of RCA audio cables into the right and left audio "OUT" jacks on the back of the TV.

Step 2

Connect the other ends of the cables to a free pair of audio "IN" jacks on the amplifier.

Step 3

Strip 1/2 inch of insulation from the speaker wires, and connect a pair of wires to the left and right terminals on the back of each speaker using the red wire for the right audio connection and the other wire for the left.

Step 4

Connect the other ends of the speaker wires to a pair of stereo speaker terminals on the back of the amplifier. The wires attach by raising spring-loaded clips on the back of the amp to reveal a hole for inserting each wire.

Step 5

Set the amplifier selector to the set of audio jacks connected to the TV to enjoy stereo sound from the television.

Connecting Self-Powered Speakers

Step 1

Insert the RCA plugs on the Y adapter into the TV's Audio "OUT" jacks.

Step 2

Connect the mini-plug on the wire attached to the right-hand self-powered speaker to the mini-plug jack on the Y adapter.

Step 3

Plug in the audio cable and mini-plug from the left-hand speaker into the Audio "OUT" jack on the back of the right-hand speaker.

Step 4

Connect the AC adapter to the power jack on the back of the right-hand speaker, then plug the adapter into an electrical outlet.

Step 5

Switch on the external speakers and adjust the volume.

Tips & Warnings

  • Shut off the TV's built-in speakers by pressing the "Menu" button on the remote control and scrolling to "Speakers," and then use the left and right arrow keys to switch the built-in speakers on and off.
  • Disconnect all equipment from the power while connecting the speakers.