How To Connect A Smart TV To An Amplifier

Norvan Martin
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With the arrival of 4K and UHD technology, TV image quality has immensely improved. With improved image quality, we also need improved audio. For this reason, you may want to connect your TV to an amplifier to maximize the audio. In this article, we explain the ways you can connect your smart TV to an amplifier.

There are several ways to connect your TV to an amplifier depending on which connections your TV and amplifier have. You can use analog RCA, digital optical or HDMI ARC. 

NOTE: While you can send sound through the amplifier, we do not recommend it if you want a cinematic, theater-like experience with your surround sound system. If that’s what you want, you will need a receiver.

We explain further below.

There are three common methods you can use to connect an amp to a TV. See the discussion below:

1. Use Analog Stereo Output (RCA Outputs)

RCA is the most basic way to connect your TV to an external audio system. RCA cables are those red and white or red, white and yellow cables. They are sometimes called phono jacks. This type of connection is for older amplifiers. Both devices must however support the use of RCA cables. 

RCA connection outputs send a two-channel stereo output from the TV to the amplifier.

How To Connect Your Smart TV To Your Amplifier Using Audio Cable (Analogue Cable) Step By Step

Step One: Assemble The Devices

Check for Availability of the following: Analog Audio cable (for Analog Audio, 3.5mm-plug stereo mini-jack, Audio (R) INPUT, Audio (L) INPUT, Audio (R) OUTPUT, Audio (L) OUTPUT, Audio OUT/Headphone OUTPUT.

Now you can use straight RCA cables that have the RCA plugs on both ends or you can use 3.5mm to RCA cables as most TVs will have a 3.5 mm port (regular headphone port). 3.5 mm jacks are also known as 1/8 stereo jacks.

Step Two: Connect The RCA Cable

Using the analog stereo cables, connect the mini-stereo plug (3.5mm) to your TV’s audio output. If you are using a regular RCA cable, connect it to the TV and the amplifier matching the colors as you do that.

Step Three: Turn On The Devices

Connect the devices to the power socket and turn them on. You can then select the input on your amplifier.

Step Four: Adjust The TV Settings

Go into the menu of your TV and set the sound to output to play through RCA vs. using the television’s internal speakers. However, not all TVs require this.

2. Use A Cable TV Box With RCA, HDMI, etc

If you have a cable TV box that your TV is already connected to, you can easily connect your amplifier to the cable box using RCA, HDMI or so on.

This of course depends on what ports and connections the cable box offers. Below is an illustration of an example:

Use A Cable TV Box With RCA connect TV to amplifier


3. Use Digital Optical Output

This method is much better than option one as the optical cables are used to deliver much better audio signals. To use it, you will need a TV with digital out and an amplifier with digital in.

Option 2: Connecting Using Optical Digital Cable Step By Step

Step One: Assemble The Materials

Assemble the smart TV, Audio system, HDMI cable (for VIDEO), coaxial digital cable (for digital audio), and optical digital cable.

Step Two:  Connect The Optical Cable

Connect the Coaxial Digital Cable, Optical Digital Cable, or Audio Cable to the audio output jack of the television.

Connect the other end of the cable to the corresponding jacks on the amplifier.

Note: depending on the stereo receiver, the audio input may be labeled TV INPUT  or VIDEO INPUT.

Step Three: Turn On The Television

When using the Optical Digital Cable connection, turn on the Tv and set the speakers to the audio system following the guidelines set out in the user manual.

Also, set the television sound to the desired setting of either Fixed or Variable if your TV has that option.

Step Four: Turn On The Amplifier  

Turn on the amp and set it to the proper input.

You can also use a DAC or a sound processor. To learn more, check out our article on why you may need a DAC.

4. Use HDMI-Audio Return Channel (ARC) Connection

To take advantage of this resort, your smart TV and audio device must be ARC-compatible and they have to be activated.

This feature allows the transfer of audio signal originating from the TV back to an HDMI-ARC equipped amplifier without having to make a separate digital or analog audio connection from the TV to the amp.

The same cable that connects to the TV’s HDMI input (the one labeled HDMI-ARC) receives as well as transmits audio between the TV and the audio system.

Option 1: HDMI Connection Using Audio Return Channel (ARC) Feature Steo By Step

Step One: Assemble All The Requirements

You will need to assemble the smart TV, amplifier, High-quality HDMI Cable, and TV-Out ARC connection of the audio system.

Step Two: Connect An HDMI Cable To The HDMI Ports Labeled ARC

Locate the HDMI ports on the smart TV and amplifier. The port can also be identified in your manual as ARC. Connect the HDMI cable to the Tv and then to the amplifier.

Step Three: Set The Speakers To Audio System

You can do this by opening the settings screen.

Step Four: Turn On The Control For HDMI Setting

 Do this both on the TV and on the amplifier to allow the HDMI cable to pass signals through the devices.

Consult your operating instructions manual for the steps required to enable the control for HDMI may vary.

5. Use Bluetooth

This is a wireless connection option that requires that both the TV and amplifier support Bluetooth connectivity. Also, the devices must be paired to be able to communicate with each other.

How Do I Get My TV To Play Sound Through My Amp?

For your smart TV to play sound through the amplifier, it is important to understand the kind of audio connection your TV offers such as RCA or HDMI.

Then, determine what audio inputs your amplifier offers. Depending on the generation and cost of the amplifier, it may offer several input options. The connection should be compatible with the one offered by the amp.

Determine what type of cables you need for the connection. For example, if your TV has a stereo headphone output (called a 1/8 stereo jack) and your amplifier has only RCA audio inputs, you will need to use a “1/8 stereo to RCA” cable. But not all inputs and outputs are compatible.

Once you establish the right connection, turn off both the TV and the amplifier and connect one end of the cable to the audio output ports on your television, and the other end to the audio input ports of the amplifier.

Turn on the television, and then the amplifier. Operate both devices to test the connection.

How Do I Connect Speakers To My Smart TV?

Once the amp is successfully connected to your smart TV, you may need to wire the TV to an external speaker to augment your sound experience.

Below are some of the ways you can connect speakers to your smart TV.

  1. Using RCA cables – they only carry stereo sound (2 channels – left and right), not surround sound.
  2. Using 3.5mm analog cables – use 3.5 mm audio jacks on the TV jack and RCA jack on the speaker end. This method is ideal for basic multimedia speakers.
  3. Using an HDMI (ARC) cable – your TV must be supportive of the HDMI ports, sometimes marked HDMI-ARC.
  4. Using a digital optical cable – if your TV has an optical output, connect it from the TV to the receiver, that is if it supports the cables.
  5. Using an HDMI cable via your speaker through the TV.

What Can I Use if I Don’t Have an HMDI Cable?

You may also purchase an adapter or a cable to connect it to your TV’s regular HDMI input.

If you don’t have Micro HDMI, search for a DisplayPort on your laptop that can handle the same digital video and audio signals as HDMI.

You can get a DisplayPort/HDMI adaptor or cable for a few dollars and connect it without difficulty.

How Do I Connect My Samsung Smart TV to My Sound System?

Here are some of the steps you need to take:

  1. Take the remote control of your smart TV.
  2. Press the HOME button.
  3. Select “Settings”
  4. On the displayed screen, select the “Sound Menu” and then choose the sound output option.
  5. Select the “Speaker List’ that you would want your TV to connect to.
  6. It should now be connected and ready to play.
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Norvan Martin is the founder of He is a professional Electronics Engineer and is passionate about home theater systems and AV electronics. BoomSpeaker was created as an online hub to share his knowledge and experiences as it relates to home theaters and home audio electronics. My email: [email protected]  Connect on Pinterest and Linkedin