How to Connect Speakers to a TV with Speaker Wire

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Updated February 11, 2023

It’s hard to come across a great built-in sound system when looking for the best TV, especially with modern designs that tend to sacrifice audio quality for a slimmer design. This can lead people to wonder how much they should expect to spend on a TV. So, if poor sound quality has you pondering how to connect speakers to a TV with speaker wire, we’re here to help. Additionally, if you hate the sight of wires hanging from your wall-mounted TV like a lot of people, we have you covered. Check out how to hide TV wires on wall for a great breakdown of some different options


  • Connecting speakers to your TV can produce a significant increase in your system’s sound quality.
  • Simply connect the speaker wire to the back of your speaker and amplifier, then connect the audio or RCA cable to the correct sound output of your TV.
  • Adjust the volume controls and sound levels to reach your desired audio quality.

With the correct setup, you can do it using tools lying around the house. Also, if you’ve just purchased a TV you may not know what to do with your old one. Or maybe you followed our guide on what to do if your TV won’t turn on and nothing seems to work, you can look here to learn how to dispose of an old TV.

Insider Tip

If your speaker sound isn’t coming through, go to your TV’s audio settings and select the external speaker option.

How to Connect Speaker Wire to a TV

Connecting your stereo equipment to your TV for your own little theater setup can seem daunting, but it is simple enough, especially if you follow this guide. Connecting speaker wire to a TV is a straightforward task. Below are the general steps and guidelines for tackling this DIY project.

STEP 1 Examine and Ready Your Setup

  1. Know what kind of speakers you have. You can connect active speakers directly to your TV through RCA cables, which means that they have an amplifier inside of them. Conversely, passive speakers will most likely have bare speaker wire, if not, you can use wire strippers to expose the wire. These need to be connected to an amplifier or stereo receiver that plugs into the TV.
  2. Clear a space for your equipment. Whether using active speakers or a passive system with a stereo receiver, ensure there’s enough room for all your sound equipment and other connected devices.
  3. Check to ensure you turn everything off before plugging anything in.
  4. Check the back of your TV and locate the RCA connection or auxiliary cable headphone jack. The RCA outputs will most likely be indicated by two color-coded jacks: one red, the other white.

STEP 2 Connect Your Speakers and Receiver

  1. If you have passive speakers, you’ll connect the wires to the speaker and then to the amplifier or stereo receiver. Here, unscrew the binding posts on the speakers and amplifier, then stick the bare, stripped copper metal wire into the holes and tighten the screws. Be sure not to get any rubber in the binding posts and that the speaker wire connection is tight. If you have active speakers, skip to the next step.
  2. Connect the RCA, audio jack, optical cable, or HDMI-ARC audio cables to the correct audio output on the back of your TV. If you aren’t sure what HDMI Arc is used for we have an article you can read about what is ARC TV. Additionally, your HDMI ARC port is a great way to connect a soundbar to your TV, if you would prefer that over speakers.

STEP 3 Test your New Sound System

  1. Turn on your TV, and test the sound to ensure the audio input signal works. If not, go to your TV’s settings and check to ensure it’s switched to the external speaker setting and that the audio cables are all secured. And if you have your favorite music on your phone but want to play it through your nice new speakers on your TV. Don’t worry we have a guide on how to connect your phone to your TV. Additionally, if you have a smart TV, you can connect your TV to WiFi and use an app to play your favorite music.


Before installing speakers, check if they have a built-in amplifier or if they’ll need an external amplifier.


What type of audio connections does a TV have?

A TV typically comes with an auxiliary cable outlet (also known as a headphone jack), an RCA input, and an HDMI-ARC. All these can connect different types of sound equipment.

What do I do if no sound is coming out?

One thing to check is that the A/B switch is placed in the active position. You can usually find this switch on the back of your speaker.

What type of connection does speaker wire need?

Passive speakers need to connect to what is called “binding posts.” These are unscrewed and then tightened once the positive and negative wires have been placed in the correct position. There is a positive terminal and a negative terminal that the wires connect to. Active speakers plug directly into the back of your TV. These will have RCA plugs or HDMI. There may even be a Bluetooth option to make it a wireless speaker as well.

STAT: Just in case there are any unforeseen obstacles, purchase 10 to 15 percent more speaker wire than you think you’ll need. (source)

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