How to Hook Up Surround Sound to Television

By James Clark

Connect a TV to a surround-sound system for rich audio.
i sound system image by Pavel Losevsky from

Watching television in a home theater is only half the experience. To get the most out of audio-video equipment, hooking up the TV to surround sound creates a multi-channel audio sensation of being in the middle of the action. As more TV programs are presented in surround sound, it is no longer necessary to pop in a DVD or Blu-ray to enjoy multi-channel audio. Connecting a TV to a surround-sound system takes only a few minutes with color-coded cables for simple setup.

Set up the speakers in the room for surround sound. The left and right front speakers should be placed on each side of the TV, with the center speaker above or below the TV screen. Rear speakers can be placed behind and slightly above the main listening area. The subwoofer is a large speaker box that produces omnidirectional bass and can be placed anywhere in the room where it won't get in the way.

Cut a length of speaker wire long enough to connect from each speaker to the surround receiver, then strip 1/2 inch of insulation from each end.

Lift the spring-clip terminals on the back of each speaker to reveal holes for connecting the red wire to the positive terminal and the other wire to the negative terminal. Attach the wires on the other end to the terminals labeled for each speaker on the back of the receiver. For example, connect the front left speaker to the terminals labeled for the front left audio channel on the receiver. Connect the subwoofer to the Sub OUT jack on the receiver with a subwoofer cable. The single plug on each end of the cable inserts straight into the jacks on the back of the sub and the receiver.

Connect a video cable from the TV's AV IN jack to the receiver's video OUT jack. This sends the picture signal to the TV.

Connect composite AV cables from the cable or satellite box to a set of AV IN jacks on the receiver, matching the white, red and yellow plugs on the cables to the colors on the jacks.

Plug in and turn on all equipment, then set the receiver selector knob to the set of jacks connecting it to the cable or satellite box. Press the "Input" button on the TV repeatedly until the signal from the cable or satellite box appears on the screen.

Press the "SURR" button on the receiver's remote control to activate the surround-sound processor, which transmits the different audio channels to the speakers connected to the receiver.