How to Connect Optical Audio Cable from TV to Home Theater and Why Opt for External Audio Systems?

How to Connect Optical Audio Cable from TV to Home Theater
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With the innovation in technology, we all are becoming more critical about quality. Gone are the days where we would settle for standard definition TVs. Today, we only opt for high definition or even 4K video quality. But, what about audio quality? That too seems to have gone above and beyond. We don’t want to settle for substandard audio even when we are watching the news. That’s why some suggest the use of external speakers or home theaters. They also say that learning how to connect optical audio cable from TV to home theater is something you should consider.

The question though that most of you would ask is “Why do you even need an external audio system and worry about connecting cables if the TV itself has its own speakers?” Let us look into some of the reasons why some of you might not be satisfied with your TV’s audio system.

What are the Problems with TV Audio?

All televisions come with their own set of inbuilt speakers, but over the last decade or two, they have only become thinner and thinner. In fact, these days, televisions are as slim as five millimeters. Majority of them are equipped with LED or OLED screens. However, the biggest problem with them is how you can fit speakers inside them, let alone have them produce amazing sound.

Technically speaking, in order to produce high-quality sound, a speaker needs to push out air. With the lack of space, especially for slim TVs, the internal volume will be quite low. What this results in is very thin-sounding audio from the television that in no way compliments what you see on that fantastic high-definition screen. Nonetheless, some television manufacturers are trying their best to bridge this gap.

Hence, these days, they are applying innovative ways to fix the audio problems that is why you will notice that several modern televisions have some enhancement features for the audio called DTS Studio Sound, Dialog Enhancement, Volume Leveling and/or Virtual Sound.

To take it a step further, famous brands, such as LG, have now begun to incorporate an inbuilt soundbar into their high range of OLED televisions. Sony, on the other hand, has started incorporating an Acoustic Surface Technology in their high range OLED televisions wherein the screen both displays the image and produces the sound.

Connecting the Television to an External Audio System

While one way to tackle the audio situation is to buy those high-end, modern televisions from popular and established brands, not everyone can afford such an expensive product. So, the next best solution, as mentioned earlier, is to connect your television to an external sound system.

Connecting your television to a home theater or sound system entirely depends on the brand of your television. There are four possible options that you can use to allow the television to send the audio to an external source. That would include via the antennas and streaming sources, but if you have a smart TV, you have cables or route external AV sources. Amongst the most common methods of sending audio from television to an external audio system is via an optical audio cable.

What is an Optical Audio Cable?

An optical audio cable is a product that is used to send audio from one device to another. It can support stereo, DTS 5.1 multichannel and Dolby Digital. Most of the time though, HDMI wires are preferred over the optical audio cable because they can, with certainty, transmit high-quality audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, which the optical audio cable cannot. Additionally, HDMI wires can also pass video signals, which means one wire can transmit audio and video; thus, reducing the necessity of multiple wires.

Nevertheless, the efficiency of an HDMI wire and an optical audio cable to transmit sound is the same. Likewise, both are significantly better than those analog cables. With that said, optical audio cables are still the number one choice when there is no HDMI port present, or when the device does not support HDMI wires.

How to Connect Optical Audio Cable from TV to Home Theater?

As we have mentioned, optical audio cables can offer fantastic audio quality. What is better is that connecting it from a television to a home theater system is not rocket science. In fact, you can do it on your own as long as you are familiar with your TV and home theater ports. In order to use an optical audio cable, you just need to connect it to the digital optical output of your television and to the corresponding digital optical input of your home theater system receiver.

Depending on what kind of television you own and also the brand, this option will not only be able to provide a two-way channel stereo signal. It will also be able to access a two or a 5.1 channel undecoded audio signal that a home theater system receiver will be able to decode correctly. This is ideal since these days, a majority of TV shows and movies are only broadcasted in Dolby Digital (either two or 5.1 channels). Some of these signals could also possibly contain an encoded signal of DTS 2.0+.

In some cases, you would not be able to hear any sound from the home theater system that you have connected to the television. This may occur in certain home theater systems that have an input optical audio cable option but lack the DTS 2.0+ or Dolby Digital decoding ability.

If such happens, then you need to go into your television’s audio output settings and search for an option called PCM, which stands for Pulse Code Modulation. It is used to convert analog audio signals that are represented by waveforms into digital audio signals without any compression. This will most likely correct the issue.


The procedure on how to connect optical audio cable from TV to home theater is as simple as connecting a puzzle. You just need to match the correct cable to the appropriate port. While HDMI wires are definitely the better way to go, there is not much loss of quality if you do opt for optical audio cables.

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