In order to watch DirecTV programming in stereo or surround sound, you'll want to connect to your stereo or home theater receiver. The connection is simple, but you'll need to decide what type of system (surround or stereo) that you intend to have before you connect any components.
Check the DirecTV receiver. This is where it pays to know what type of sound that you're looking for. If you intend to use a surround sound system, with true surround sound, you'll need a digital connection. More advanced DirecTV receivers and HD models will have either a coaxial digital connection, an HDMI connection, an optical connection or a combination of these. All these connections will support surround sound. If you only have an analog connection (red and white jacks), you will not be able to get true surround sound. You can still use surround speakers, but you won't get five distinct channels of sound, but rather a blending of two channels.
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Check your stereo receiver. Make sure that the input connection on your stereo matches the output of the DirecTV receiver. All stereo receivers will have analog inputs, but you might not have an available digital input or you might have an input that differs from your DirecTV output. Ensure that you have a matching connection and buy the appropriate cable. Note that optical/coaxial converters are available to match separate connections.
Connect the components. With the correct cable (RCA, coaxial, optical, HDMI) connect the audio output on your DirecTV receiver to the audio input on your receiver. Use input terminals labeled "Cable" or "Video" when available to keep it simple. HDMI carries both audio and video, so if you connect using HDMI, you'll need to connect the video on your television using a seperate HDMI cable from your stereo receiver HDMI output. Otherwise, you don't need to run video through your receiver and can connect directly to your TV using component video, S-video or composite video connection.
Turn your DirecTV, stereo receiver and TV on. Switch the receiver to the input that you used to connect the DirecTV and you should now get audio from your DirecTV on your stereo or home theater system.