How to Connect Your TV to Your Stereo Speakers

By James Clark

Stereo speakers connected to a television will typically provide superior sound over the built-in speakers installed on most TV sets. Standard RCA-type audio outputs on the back of the TV can be used to connect the speakers, although the signal must be amplified. The TV output jacks do not supply enough power to drive a stereo speaker, so the connection either requires an amplifier or receiver, or self-powered speakers such as those used with a computer. Either connection should take only a few minutes.

Things You'll Need

  • Standard white and red audio cables with RCA jacks on both ends
  • Stereo amplifier or receiver
  • Speaker wire
  • Wire strippers
  • Alternatively:
  • Standard audio cables
  • Y adapter with RCA jacks on one end and 3.5mm mini-plug jack on the other
  • Self-powered speakers

Full-Size Speakers

Step 1

Insert the red and white plugs on the audio cables into the right and left audio OUT jacks on the back of the TV, then connect the other ends to a set of audio IN jacks on the amplifier or receiver.

Step 2

Cut two lengths of speaker wire for each pair of stereo speakers and strip 1/2 inch of insulation form both ends of each wire.

Step 3

Connect the wires to the terminals on the back of the amp or receiver and each speaker. The red wire traditionally connects to the red (positive) terminal for easy reference and the other wire connects to the black terminal. It is important to use the same polarity from the amp or receiver to the speaker.

Step 4

Turn on the equipment and adjust the volume on the amp or receiver to enjoy stereo sound from the TV.

Self-Powered Speakers

Step 1

Install the white and red plugs on one end of the audio cables to the audio OUT jacks on the TV, using the white plug for the left connection and the red plug for the right.

Step 2

Insert the plugs on the other end into the jacks on the Y-adapter.

Step 3

Connect the plug on the cable from the right speaker to the mini-plug jack on the Y-adapter.

Step 4

Insert the plug from the left speaker cable into the OUT jack on the back of the right speaker.

Step 5

Connect the DC power plug to the jack on the back of the right speaker and plug the transformer on the other end into a wall outlet.

Tips & Warnings

  • The TV volume must be turned up beyond zero to hear sound from the external speakers. The amplifier or receiver volume control can then be used to adjust the sound level on the speakers.
  • Unplug the equipment from the electricity while connecting speaker wires and audio cables to prevent a short circuit.