Getting a new TV? Don’t worry because the chances are it’s going to be great, especially in the picture quality department. But what about the sound? It seems that this aspect of the listening/watching experience is quite neglected because the quality of TV speakers is not really getting any better. This is the main reason why people tend to connect TVs to soundbars or active speaker systems and improve the overall audio quality.
Usually, when connecting a TV to the speakers (passive speakers), you need a receiver. You connect all the audio sources (like a TV, gaming console, cable box, etc.) to your receiver (via HDMI, HDMI ARC, or digital optical inputs/output or available analog connections) and then connect the receiver to the speakers.
However, some people don’t own receivers or don’t want them and don’t want to deal with all the wiring. What can you do when you don’t have a receiver or when it’s broken? Stay with us and we promise we’ll give you some great solutions but let’s start from the beginning and say a few words about receivers in general.
What Are Receivers?
We often use various devices without knowing their purpose or even avoid buying them because their role isn’t completely clear. Since the receivers are very important for this article, we have decided to explain a few things about them.
Receivers are devices that receive data (audio and video) from one device and send it to other devices. They can be connected to both audio and video sources and this is the main reason they are called audio-video (A/V) receivers. Their main role is to connect to an audio/video device on one side, receive audio content from it and play it on some other audio device such as a home theater speaker system. They come with their own remotes and easy-to-use controls allowing you to smoothly switch between sources and watch/listen to any content you want no matter if it’s TV, DVD player, gaming console, etc.
One of the most important functions of a receiver is amplification. They are supposed to amplify the audio signals and supply all the connected (passive) speakers with the proper amount of power in order to make them work.
AV receiver is the hub of your home entertainment system – it receives audio/video signals, distributes the signal to your TV and speakers, and amplifies the signal for the speakers
Now that we have learned some basic things about receivers and clarified the purpose of this article, we can pass to the next segment and give you some specific solutions to your problem.
Note: Some of the following solutions apply only to people who haven’t bought the speakers yet. If you already have a pair of passive speakers or an entire surround sound system, I’m afraid that your only option is to buy a receiver.
Using Bluetooth to connect your TV to your speakers is probably the easiest and cleanest way to establish a stable connection and preserve good sound quality. The only requirement to be met here is that both devices support Bluetooth and that they both support aptX low-latency codec. If so, the only thing you have to do is to turn on both – TV and speakers, turn their Bluetooth feature on, pair them, choose the content you want to watch/listen to, and hit play.
However, one of the most common problems you can encounter is the lack of Bluetooth feature on one of the devices because not all TVs and speakers are Bluetooth-enabled. Actually, the only type of TV that supports Bluetooth is a smart TV, so if you don’t own one you have a problem.
Luckily, there’s a solution to this problem as well, and this is a Bluetooth kit (transmitter and receiver). In case you aren’t familiar with it, we’ll just say that Bluetooth transmitters are devices that are inserted in a non-Bluetooth device so that they can encode audio (coming from a TV) and transmit it via Bluetooth to the receiving Bluetooth-enabled device (Bluetooth receiver, headphones, speakers, etc.).
A simple and affordable Bluetooth transmitter/receiver kit is the perfect solution for your non-Bluetooth speakers and TV
Bluetooth connection pros
- Fast and simple
- Good audio reproduction
Bluetooth connection cons
- Only smart TVs support Bluetooth
- Not all speakers support Bluetooth
It may sound unusual to you but if you don’t have a receiver but already have a pair of passive speakers, replacing it with a 2-channel integrated amp can be a pretty good solution. Why? Well, because two-channel integrated amps actually act the same way as receivers do. The technology that both types of devices use is very similar with a few differences. Anyway, a two-channel amp will definitely help you transmit your TV audio to your speakers and improve their performance at the same time.
So, now that we have established that, what are you supposed to do to connect them properly?
The first step is to find an amplifier that will match your speakers. That will require you to look for something that can handle all of your speakers’ power requirements. Depending on the speakers you have, you may need to buy a pretty powerful and expensive amp. If your speakers are not too demanding, then even a cheap 50 W/ch amp may be a viable option.
The second step is to connect the amp to your TV using one of the available analog or digital audio connections.
After that, you have to connect your speakers to the amp using the speaker wire.
Once you do this, the TV shall send the signal to the amp and the amp will pass it to the speakers, which will finally deliver the sound you’ve been craving for.
Two-channel amplifier pros
- They ensure great audio quality
Two-channel amplifier cons
- Finding the right amplifier for your speakers, just like finding the right receiver, can be confusing and time-consuming
Direct connection is one of the oldest, greatest, and easiest ways to connect TV and speakers. It requires only these two devices and the necessary cables. However, the last part can be troublesome because both – TV and speakers need to have matching ports.
The biggest problem is that some of the latest TVs don’t have analog audio outputs (RCA or headphone out) at all. They only have digital audio outputs and HDMI ports that can also handle the music. This should not be an issue if you have some advanced active speakers with digital audio inputs.
Numerous active speakers have optical inputs (Edifier S2000 MKIII, Kanto YU6, Klipsch The Sixes, Swans Speakers M300)
However, if you have a pair of older or cheaper active speakers that have only analog inputs, you will need an additional device that would convert digital audio to analog. That could be an HDMI audio extractor or some kind of a DAC.
If you buy an HDMI extractor, you are supposed to connect all the video sources to it (gaming consoles, Blu-ray/DVD players, cable boxes, etc.), and then use one HDMI output to connect it to your TV. The speakers connect to the audio outputs on the extractor.
If you buy a DAC device, you are supposed to connect all the video sources to your TV and then use the optical or coaxial audio output on your TV to connect the DAC device. The speakers are supposed to be connected to the RCA/AUX outputs on the DAC.
Direct connection pros
- Simple and fast connection
- Best possible sound quality
Direct connection cons
- It may require additional equipment (which means additional costs) in case your TV is not compatible with your speakers
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