How to Connect 5.1 Speakers to a TV

Updated February 21, 2017

A 5.1 surround sound speaker system uses five speakers and a subwoofer to fill a room with multichannel audio. When connected to a TV, the system lets you enjoy programming recorded in surround sound. A self-contained 5.1 system includes a subwoofer with a built-in amplifier and surround-sound processing. Often designed for computers, these systems can also connect directly to a TV. The smaller-sized audio plugs may require adaptors to work with the TV's jacks.

Connect the cable from the back of each speaker to the respective audio output jack on the back of the subwoofer. For example, the centre speaker connects to the centre-channel audio output. Connect all five speakers: left front, centre, right front, left rear and right rear.

Connect the subwoofer cable's mini-plug to the 3.5mm jack on the Y-adaptor.

Insert the white (left) and red (right) plugs on one end of the RCA stereo cable into the respective jacks on the Y-adaptor.

Insert the white and red plugs on the other end of the cable into the matching audio output jacks on the TV.

Plug in the electrical cords for the subwoofer and TV.


Plug in all audio cables before connecting electrical cables to a wall outlet.

Things You'll Need

  • 5.1 speaker system with cables
  • Y-adaptor with 3.5mm jack and two RCA jacks
  • Stereo RCA cable
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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.