How to Hook Speakers to a TV

By Chris Moore

At times, the sound quality of a TV's speakers don't match the HD digital video quality it provides. Hooking up external speakers to the TV will correct this problem. If the TV set has audio output ports (which most HDTVs do), you can directly connect the TV to an audio receiver or amplifier, and connect high-quality speakers to the receiver. You can get the receiver and speakers separately, but a full sound system (especially a surround-sound system) with the receiver and speakers together will give you the best quality possible.

Things You'll Need

  • Speakers
  • Audio receiver/amplifier
  • Audio cables

Step 1

Connect the TV's audio output to the input of the receiver or amplifier. There are usually three possible options: Digital optical, where the cables connect to the small, square port; digital coaxial, with an orange-colored RCA-style connection; and the basic RCA audio, with the red and white plugs.

Step 2

Hook up the speakers to the receiver. RCA audio cables will be the most likely connection used here. If the speakers came with the receiver, check the output ports and see if each output is specified for a particular speaker (this is especially true with a surround-sound system).

Step 3

Wire the speakers to the receiver using their special compression terminals and wires if that's what they are equipped with. There are several varieties of this, but it mainly involves wedging the wire's bare U-shaped bracket under each terminal's red or black tab. The receiver will have a port specified for each terminal. Make sure each wire connects the right terminal to the right port.

Step 4

Normalize the audio levels on the receiver by tuning the volume dials for each individual speaker to the medium level. You won't need to adjust these much at any time. Use the receiver's master volume control to adjust the volume for the TV set.

Tips & Warnings

  • If the TV set is connected to a cable or satellite receiver box, connect the cable/satellite box's audio output to the speaker system instead of the TV set.
  • Avoid turning the sound up too high on the speakers, especially if you are using a complete sound system. The system is built to provide the right audio balance at normal levels, and turning the level too high, especially for any one particular speaker, can damage the system.