How to make your TV sound better for cheap

Updated February 21, 2017

One of the mysteries of modern electronics is the television with a shimmering picture but barely audible built-in speakers. No matter how beautiful the image on the screen, somehow the sound can't compete. If the audio on your TV set leaves you underwhelmed, one inexpensive solution is to hook up a pair of external stereo speakers to offset the thin sound of the built-in speakers. Desktop computer speakers offer an elegantly simple solution because they take up little space, deliver big sound and contain their own amplifier so they won't draw power from the television.

Turn off the TV to prevent a power surge that could damage the computer speakers the instant they are hooked up.

Place a speaker on each side of the TV. The speakers are labelled L and R on the back for Left and Right.

Plug the cable from the left speaker into the audio OUT jack on the back of the right speaker.

Plug the cable from the right speaker into the mini-jack on the Y-adaptor.

Insert the two plugs on the Y adaptor into the Audio OUT jacks on the back of the TV.

Connect the DC power plug to the jack on the back of the right computer speaker and insert the plug on the other end into an electrical socket.

Turn on the TV and the computer speakers, which have an on/off/volume control knob typically on the front of the right speaker.

Shut off the TV's built-in speakers, if desired, by pressing the "Menu" button on the remote control, using the down arrow key to reach "Settings." Highlight "Speakers" and press the left or right arrow key to turn the built-in speakers on and off.


Be sure the speaker on/off knob is switched to the off position before plugging in the power.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer speakers
  • Y-adaptor with two 1/4-inch plugs and one mini-jack
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About the Author

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.