How to Hook Up Surround Sound to a TV With a DirecTV Box

By Shea Laverty

All you need to connect your DirecTV to your surround sound system is the right cable. However, only surround-compatible receivers deliver true surround.

Things You'll Need

  • AV composite cables

Connecting your DirecTV satellite receiver to your surround sound system requires only that you have the right cables on hand. The setup is as simple as connecting the right cables to the appropriate ports on the DirecTV receiver and your stereo receiver. Only surround-compatible DirecTV receivers deliver true surround sound through your audio system. Incompatible devices output the sound as multi-channel stereo.

Tip

While these instructions apply to most DirecTV satellite receiver or surround sound systems, consult your owner's guide for specifics related to your devices.

Choosing Cables

The cables you need depend primarily on the available inputs and outputs on your DirecTV box and surround sound audio receiver. Look at the back panels of your devices to see what kind of ports are available and check this video guide for help identifying the types of ports. Before purchasing cables, check the distance between your DirecTV box and audio receiver so you purchase cable that is the correct length.

Tip

HDMI and optical audio ports are usually labeled on the back panel to avoid confusion. Composite ports are easily identified by their red and white jacks.

Connecting Your Surround System

HDMI

HDMI connections produce the best results, so it's the best choice when available. HDMI transmits both picture and sound in a single cable -- a handy feature if your DirecTV receiver or surround receiver serves as a hub for other devices like gaming consoles, DVD player or Blu-ray player.

Step 1

Connect one end of the HDMI cable to the HDMI-In port on your surround receiver.

Step 2

Connect the other end of the cable to the HDMI-Out or HDMI port on your DirecTV receiver.

Composite Audio

Composite audio offers the most widespread support and is the audio connection almost guaranteed to be present on both your surround system and your DirecTV receiver.

Step 1

Insert the red and white connectors on one end of the cable to the color-coded Audio-Out jacks on your DirecTV receiver.

Step 2

Insert the connectors on the other end of the cable to the color-coded Audio-In jacks on your surround sound audio receiver. If your stereo receiver supports multiple audio inputs, choose one that is easy to remember, ideally SAT or Satellite, but if these options aren't available, use AUX.

Optical Audio

Optical audio connections are less common than HDMI or composite, but they are available on some devices. Optical connections offer audio quality that is superior to composite connections and that serve as an alternative if your HDMI ports are occupied with connections to other audiovisual devices.

To set up optical audio, connect each end of the optical cable to the Optical Audio or Optical ports on the DirecTV receiver and the surround receiver.