The Complete Guide to Connecting External Speakers to Your Samsung TV

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Written by Jason Lin

Connect External Speakers To Samsung Smart Tv

Connecting external speakers to your Samsung TV is one of the best ways to massively boost your audio and take your home entertainment experience to the next level.

After testing over a dozen speaker setups with the latest Samsung TVs, I’m going to walk you through everything you need to know – from choosing the right speakers to making the connections and configuring the settings.

Why Connect External Speakers?

While Samsung TVs do offer good built-in speakers nowadays, they still can’t match the sound quality of a dedicated speaker system. External speakers give you:

  • Powerful, room-filling sound: External speakers can play much louder and produce fuller, richer audio than tiny TV speakers.
  • Surround sound: With multiple speakers placed around the room, you can achieve true immersive surround sound.
  • Improved clarity: Dialogue, music lyrics and subtle audio details are much clearer. No more straining to understand what people are saying!
  • Thundering bass: TV speakers lack the bass performance to make explosions, gunshots and action scenes truly impactful. A subwoofer delivers heart-thumping low frequencies.

Connecting an external speaker system or soundbar is the single best upgrade you can make to improve your Samsung TV viewing and listening experience.

What You’ll Need

  • Samsung TV – This guide covers 2016 models and beyond. Some older TVs lack ARC/eARC support which limits connectivity options.
  • External speakers – Choose speakers, a soundbar or a full home theater system based on your budget and needs. All provide massive audio improvements over Samsung’s built-in TV speakers.
  • Speaker cable(s) – Depending on how you connect, you’ll need either an HDMI, optical, aux cable or speaker wire. Some systems are wireless.

Connecting External Speakers to Samsung TV: The Steps

We’ll cover the most common connection methods from best to worst below. I recommend using the HDMI eARC method if at all possible as it provides the highest quality audio and streamlines connectivity.

Method #1: HDMI eARC (Best Option)

Hdmi Earc Samsung Tv

HDMI eARC is the optimal way to hook up external speakers to modern Samsung TVs. It carries multichannel surround sound signals to external devices.

You’ll need:

  • External speakers/system with HDMI eARC support
  • HDMI cable


  1. Connect HDMI cable from TV’s HDMI eARC port to speaker’s HDMI ARC/eARC port
  2. Turn on external speaker system
  3. On Samsung TV, go to Settings > Sound > Sound Output and select your external speaker system
  4. Adjust audio settings on speakers for desired sound

That’s it! With eARC, uncompressed surround sound signals will transfer from your TV to the speakers for the best quality.

Pro Tip: If you don’t see your device listed under Sound Output, try rescanning for devices under Universal Remote to add it.

Method #2: Optical Digital Audio

Optical Digital Audio Samsung Tv

If your sound system lacks HDMI ARC capability, use an optical cable instead. Optical can carry 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound.

You’ll need:

  • External speakers with optical input
  • Optical/Toslink audio cable


  1. Connect optical cable from TV’s Optical Digital Audio Out port to speakers
  2. On speakers, switch input mode to optical
  3. On Samsung TV, go to Settings > Sound > Sound Output and select your external speaker system

While optical cables can’t transmit the highest quality lossless surround sound formats, they still deliver excellent 5.1 channel audio quality perfect for most users.

Method #3: Bluetooth Connection

Connecting Samsung TV to speakers via Bluetooth gives you an easy, wireless setup. Just note that Bluetooth compresses the audio signal which technically reduces sound quality a bit.

You’ll need:

  • External speakers/system with Bluetooth support


  1. Turn Bluetooth ON in speaker system settings (pairing mode)
  2. Go to Settings > Sound > Sound Output > Bluetooth Speaker List on Samsung TV
  3. Select your speaker system to pair
Samsung Tv Sound Output

Bluetooth connections are super convenient but generally have lower bandwidth than HDMI eARC or optical cables. Make sure to position your Bluetooth speakers close to the TV with minimal obstructions in between.

Method #4: RCA (Auxiliary Cable)

If your external speakers lack digital inputs, you can still connect them via analog aux cables (RCA). Sound quality is dependent on your actual speakers.

You’ll need:

  • External passive (non-powered) speakers
  • 3.5mm to RCA stereo audio cable
3.5mm To Rca


  1. Connect aux cable from TV’s headphone jack to L/R inputs on passive speakers
  2. Turn speakers ON (if powered speakers)
  3. On Samsung TV, go to Settings > Sound > Sound Output and select Audio Out/Headphone Jack

While very convenient, analog RCA connections don’t support surround sound signals – just standard 2-channel stereo audio.

Tweaking Speaker Settings on Your Samsung TV

Once you’ve connected your external speakers, soundbar or home theater system, adjusting some quick settings on your Samsung TV optimizes the audio performance:

1. Set speaker system as default – Go to Settings > Sound > Sound Output and set your connected system as the default output instead of TV Speaker. This ensures audio plays through your external speakers automatically when powered on.

2. Enable Surround Sound – Navigate to Settings > Sound > Expert Settings > Surround Sound and turn it ON. This upmixes stereo audio into simulated surround which sounds fuller.

3. Run audio calibration – Under Settings > Sound > Sound Mode Settings, select Adaptive Sound+. This auto-calibrates your connected speakers to the room acoustics for optimized sound quality.

4. Adjust audio delay – If you notice lip sync issues between the video and audio, go to Settings > General > Accessibility > Audio Delay to add ~50-100ms delay. See how to fix audio sync problems on Roku.

5. Troubleshoot connections – If issues arise with external speakers not showing under Sound Output, first disconnect/reconnect cables at both ends. Failing that, power cycle the speaker system and TV.

And that’s it! With your external speakers now properly connected and configured, you can finally experience the theater-quality sound that Samsung’s top-tier TV displays deserve.

No more straining to decipher dialogue or lackluster bass. External audio systems transform your Samsung TV into a truly premium, cinematic experience that immerses you inside the on-screen action.

Still having no luck getting those external speakers to function? Our guides on troubleshooting Vizio sound bar problems outline some additional steps to try.

FAQ – External Speakers for Samsung TVs

Still have some questions about connecting external speaker systems to your Samsung TV setup? Below I’ve compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Q: What are the best external speakers for a Samsung TV?

A: The Samsung HW-Q950A is the top choice as Samsung’s flagship 11.1 channel soundbar. It delivers explosive bass and an overwhelming sense of immersion thanks to upfiring speakers. If you want a cheaper option but still a big upgrade over TV audio, check out Samsung’s HW-S60T all-in-one soundbar. It offers acoustic beam technology for pinpoint audio precision directed right at the viewer.

Q: Do Samsung TVs support surround sound over ARC/eARC?

A: Yes! Using an eARC connection, uncompressed 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos surround sound passthrough is supported on compatible Samsung TVs. ARC is limited to standard Dolby Digital 5.1 but still delivers decent surround sound.

Q: Can I connect wired and wireless speakers simultaneously?

A: It depends. On some higher end Samsung TVs like the Q90T, you can connect up to 2 Bluetooth devices simultaneously to have both wired speakers and Bluetooth headphones paired at once. However on most models you can only have one active audio output device at a time.

Q: I connected external speakers but hear no/low sound. Help!

A: First, double check that under Settings > Sound > Sound Output your particular device is actually selected. If it doesn’t appear in the list, there’s a connection issue. Next, check speaker system volume levels & mode settings (e.g Bluetooth, Optical, HDMI ARC) to confirm the correct source is activated. Try power cycling TV & speakers to force a fresh handshake. Finally, confirm cables are fully inserted on both ends.

Still having no luck? Try using a different cable and factory resetting the problematic speaker system.

Q: Can any external speakers connect wirelessly to Samsung TVs?

A: Correct – some powered soundbars and speaker systems like Sonos have built-in WiFi/casting capabilities, allowing you to stream TV audio completely wirelessly over the network. As long as the speakers show up under Sound Output device list, Samsung TVs fully support wireless/WiFi speaker connections.

And there you have it…everything you need to know about seamlessly connecting external speaker systems to your Samsung TV!

Have any other questions I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments below!

Jason Lin
Tech enthusiast with 10+ years of experience, providing guides, reviews, and tips on Smart TVs, streaming devices, and TV apps.

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