How to connect a new soundbar to an old TV that doesn’t support HDMI – Ben Patterson

While most modern soundbars rely on HDMI to connect to HDTVs and 4K TVs, there are still plenty of soundbars on the market with legacy audio inputs that will work with older TVs—and yes, that includes CRT (aka “tube”) TVs that are decades old.

By connecting an aging TV to a soundbar, you can give your older set a massive audio boost, complete with thumping bass and even virtualized 3D sound. And if your ancient flat-screen or tube TV has the right outputs, hooking it up to a new soundbar will be a snap.

Look for optical or RCA audio outputs

The first step is to check the back of your old TV to see what kind of audio outputs are available. If your aging TV lacks HDMI, the next best thing would be an optical (or Toslink) audio port, which has a squarish opening with a pair of small notches on each side. Not only can optical audio connections handle compressed (but not lossless) 5.1- and even 7.1-channel Dolby Digital and DTS sound, they’re also widely supported by the latest soundbars.

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