How to Wire Speakers to a Flat Screen

By Steve Lander

Updated August 29, 2017

External speakers have better sound quality than your TV's built-in speakers.
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Flat screen TVs have one key drawback, necessitated by their thin design: Their size leaves little space for high-quality speakers. While they can provide adequate audio response for casual television watching, their thin cases make it impossible to include powerful woofers for deep bass response. As such, connecting your flat screen TV to even inexpensive speakers can have a significant impact on the quality of the sound accompanying the television shows, movies and other content that you display on it.

Powered Speakers With a 3.5mm Mini Plug (Computer Speakers)

Turn off your TV and speakers and unplug them from the wall. Insert the speakers' miniplug into your TV's 3.5mm audio output jack.

Turn your speakers' volume control all of the way down. Plug your speakers and television back into the wall and power them back on.

Turn your television set's speaker off if it does not automatically do this. The procedure varies from set to set, but you will generally find it in the "Audio Settings" option of your TV's on-screen menu.

Set your TV's volume to your typical listening level, then increase the volume on your speakers until you hear the sound at the appropriate volume. Some TVs output a fixed volume over their audio outputs. In this instance, you will need to adjust the volume on your speakers exclusively.


If your TV lacks a 3.5mm jack but has an analog audio output consisting of two phono jacks, usually marked "R" and "L" or color-coded red and white, you will need to use an adapter that has two phono plugs connected to one 3.5mm stereo mini jack. To use the adapter, connect the phono plugs to the corresponding color-coded jacks on your TV and insert the 3.5mm plug from your speakers into the jack on the adapter.

Home Theater Audio System

Unplug your TV and your home theater receiver from the wall. Plug the appropriate cable into your TV's audio output. TV's typically output audio over HDMI (high definition multimedia interface), optical digital or a standard stereo analog audio interconnect with two phono plug connectors.

Plug the other end of the cable into the audio input on your home theater receiver.

Plug your receiver and TV back into the wall and power them on.

Turn off your TV's speakers by using the appropriate setting in the on-screen menu, usually located in the "Audio Settings," if your TV has not already done this.

Use your receiver's source selector to select the input to which you connected your TV. Depending on your receiver, you could use a button named "Source" or "Input," or press a button that is dedicated to the specific input.


If you are using computer speakers that are USB-powered, you might be able to use your TV's USB port, if it has one, to power them, saving you from using your speakers' wall adapter.