Got a vintage or old but want to enjoy great sound? There’s a bit to know and I’d love to help!
In this article you’ll find some handy info:
- How to connect a TV to an
- Clear & helpful diagrams
- What to do when your TV has only digital outputs an can’t use
- How to connect a TV to a with no AUX inputs
- Cable and connector types for new TVs to know
- How to connect an older receiver to a new TV
- Can I connect speakers directly to my TV instead?
- Can I listen to my TV in surround sound on an older receiver?
- How to connect a TV to an old receiver without AUX inputs
- More related articles
and connector types for new TVs to know
The cables you’ll need to connect your to your TV will depend on the TV’s output jacks available. Generally speaking, you’ll need RCA cables at some point to get sound to the ‘s inputs.
It’s important to be clear also that you need a home with auxiliary (“AUX”) input jacks of some type. (I’ll cover that below)
There’s no standard set of jacks for TVs.
Your TV will likely have one or more of the following connections:
- RCA cables: these are also called signal cables because the is non-digital and can be amplified directly. Using an RCA is easy and fairly cheap. Some TVs provide a 3.5mm (1/8 inch) style connector. In that case you can use a 3.5mm to RCA adapter .
- Optical digital output: Also called “TOSLINK”, this is a sound connection that must be converted back to an signal. These use an made of a fiber optic material inside and carry a digital signal using pulsed light signals.
- Coaxial (RCA style) digital: these use a single jack that plugs into an and carries a using electrical bits (unlike a TOSLINK that does the same using light).
These types of connectors apply to both a standard or a as well.
Note that TVs don’t normally include an for outputs – an option is common. An shouldn’t be needed for getting sound to your unless you’re connecting another type of device or a new ‘s .
What’s the difference between digital and jacks?
Digital outputs carry sound (usually ) by transmitting digital signals made up of bits of information. Newer receivers with the same connections can connect to these directly and “decode” them (change them back to an waveform) to be amplified and drive speakers.
However, an home cannot and you’ll likely need a digital to (RCA) to do get the signal you can use. or a standard
Whenever possible, connecting a TV using RCA cables or a 3.5mm output is much easier and cheaper, too.
I’ll cover both situations in the next section.
How to connect an older to a new TV
The type of connection you’ll need will depend on your particular TV. Older receivers often have auxiliary (AUX) RCA input jacks with one or more labels:
- AUX in
- DVD in
- CD in
Input jacks like these were used years ago playing from a separate source through the and will work fine for TV sound with the right connection. (You can also connect sound from an external media player or for example if you like.)
They’re the same thing as both accept a low-level signal (line level) signal to be amplified by the in the right mode and sent to the speakers.
TV to connection diagram
As I mentioned earlier, there are two main types of TV sound connections you’ll use:
- (non-digital) via RCA jack outputs or a 3.5mm (1/8″) headphone style output jack
- Digital signal outputs: an or coaxial (RCA style) output
1. Connecting a TV to an older using jacks
This is normally very easy to do, although you may need to turn on outputs in the menu in some TVs to get sound.
Simply connect whichever available outputs you have to the auxiliary, DVD, CD etc. inputs on your . Don’t spend a ton of money on the RCA cables either as standard quality cables will work fine.
Some TVs only have a headphone size output jack in which case you can use a 1/8″ (3.5mm) plug to RCA jack adapter. You can then connect standard cables between the TV and the .
2. Connecting to a TV’s digital output jacks
Digital to converters accept a digital signal that can’t be used with or an and convert the digital signal to a output. They provide a and also a 3.5mm (1/8″ headphone) jack in some cases.
This is a bit trickier because you’ll have to convert the , not just connect it. You’ll need to pick up a digital to . These cost about $18-$25 and usually include a small AC-DC power supply.
Some do or do not include the cables needed to connect to your television (many do include it) so you’ll simply use whichever option you have: the optical (TOSLINK, fiber optic) jack or the coaxial digital jack.
One thing to know is that fiber optic cables can be damaged if bent too much so you’ll need to be careful to avoid kinking them or crushing them in tight spaces. Doing so can permanently damage the material, causing them to fail to carry the signal properly.
If you have both options the is fine to use.
Note: When using your to play the through your ‘s speakers, be sure to disable or turn off the volume to the internal if it has the option. Otherwise the will conflict with your better speakers, resulting in poor & distracting sound. Use only the when possible.
Can I connect speakers directly to my TV instead?
Ordinarily no it’s not possible to connect non- to a TV. Very few of them have built-in that can connect to .
Signal outputs are low-level outputs and can’t produce the power required to drive speakers. It’s also possible to damage outputs by connecting a low impedance (low resistance) load such as 8 ohm or 4 ohm speakers directly to them. For that reason a , , or amp is needed.
However, you can connect an amplified pair if you like! For example, powered PC computer speakers or a powered bookshelf speaker set can be used.
In both cases, you can use similar connections to those I’ve listed above or find out more about connecting speakers to a TV.
Can I listen to my TV in on an older ?
Unfortunately no you can’t for two reasons:
- In most cases you cannot get true from your TV’s jacks – only .
- An older usually cannot decode a Dolby Digital or DTS surround signal into discrete outputs (separate channel signals each with its own sound source).
With a few exceptions, televisions usually “downmix” (convert) the 5.1 stream to a 2 channel output. It may be possible in some cases (you can check your menu settings to see if there’s an option) using an optical or coax output. However, there’s no guarantee.
Older receivers are normally only or quadraphonic 4-channel at best. However, you can simulate 5.1 sound if your features Dolby Pro Logic I or II. While not quite the same, it’s a good way to get close to the experience to a degree.
Dolby Pro Logic derives a center output, left & right front outputs, and rear satellite speaker outputs from a 2-channel source for both music or movies.
How to connect a TV to an without AUX inputs
What if your has no AUX, DVD, or CD options? Are you out of luck? Not quite!
For a with a or 300 ohm (twin screw) antenna connection, you’ve got an option that can work.
You can pick up an RF modulator that will accept an pair and convert it (modulate it) to a radio frequency (RF) signal the can accept. This is what was done back in the day for video game systems or home computers.
For receivers with 300Ω antenna lead terminals, you’ll need a 75Ω to 300Ω adapter and a to connect them. Once connected and powered up, tune the to the provided frequency and you should have TV sound through your speakers.