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A friend of mine has a Samsung TV (Model UE40J5250) to which he would like to connect an analogue 2.1 speaker system for better sound. Unfortunately, this low-end TV has a very limited number of interfaces.

The only two interfaces which seem adequate to me are an optical audio output port (a.k.a. TOSLINK) and RCA. As offers for TOSLINK to 3.5mm jack adapters I found so far are extremely expensive, I bought a cable that is RCA on the one side (which I plugged into the TV) and 3.5mm jack on the other side (which I plugged into the subwoofer).

This didn't work. May the RCA port on the TV a dedicated input port? The TV's manual is not very detailed.

Here's a picture of the connections on the back of the TV:

enter image description here

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    #TIL: Cinch is a non-US term for an RCA (or phono plug) connector.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 11:27
  • Please define "didn't work". If all your audio output is going to the subwoofer, you're only going to get the deepest bass sounds out of the sub, and all the "normal" bass, mid-range and high-end will be filtered out by the sub's electronics, leaving basically no audio at all. Also, double check that these are output ports, not input ports. If it's a set of white / red / yellow then it's most likely input as the yellow is a composite video input and the red/white are the audio input to go with it.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 11:30
  • The subwoofer receives the signals for the whole 2.1 speaker system.
    – vyasa
    Sep 23, 2020 at 11:40
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    I’m voting to close this question because operation of appliances and product recommendations are both off-topic here. Sep 23, 2020 at 12:19
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    Is there a sub-site on StackExchange where my issue would be on-topic?
    – vyasa
    Sep 23, 2020 at 12:31

2 Answers 2

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Assuming the picture linked in your comment is actually of the TV in question I've highlighted the issue here:

enter image description here

That says:

COMPONENT / AV IN

There is no way in the world you're going to get any sound out of any of those jacks. My apologies, in the comments, I was asking about a red/white/yellow set, which would be Composite IN, this is a Component IN where the video come in on the Red/Blue/Green set, and the audio comes in on the Red/White set.

Next to it, at the bottom, it reads:

DIGITAL AUDIO OUT / OPTICAL

If you want Audio output that's your go to. Even if the TOSLINK connector is more expensive, it's probably cheaper than buying a new TV with other audio out options.

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  • I mostly agree, but the analog audio connections could be in/out, just as the top RCA jack is both composite (yellow) video and component (RGB green channel). Functions can vary depending on menu selection.
    – isherwood
    Sep 23, 2020 at 12:59
  • @isherwood I'd agree with you except that they are labeled "IN", while the TOSLINK connection to the left is labeled "OUT". Also, the OP doesn't seem to be getting any output...
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 13:48
  • Maybe I'm misinterpreting "The subwoofer receives the signals for the whole 2.1 speaker system".
    – isherwood
    Sep 23, 2020 at 14:32
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    @isherwood yes, the "subwoofer receives the signal", separates the low-band signal for itself and passes the rest on for the other speakers to reproduce. That is assuming that it's actually attached to an output source. The jacks in the picture are input jacks allowing the TV to display picture/sound provided to it from a DVD/BluRay/other. It appears, based on the pic provided, that this TV has only one output - the "Digital Audio Out" also known as TOSLINK. [con't...]
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 15:08
  • Connecting the TV to the sub via these RCA jacks is like running 14/2 between two ceiling fixtures and wondering why they won't light up. It's because there's no power (signal) going into the fixtures. The TV and sub are both expecting signal input on the connectors that the OP seems to be using, and nobody is supplying any signal output.
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 15:09
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As mentioned in the other answer, you must use an audio output to connect to the speaker system. The reason the adapters you've found (TOSLINK -> 3.5mm "headphone") are expensive is because TOSLINK is digital and optical (uses fiber optic lasers to communicate with a digital receiver) and 3.5mm (known as "headphone jacks") is an analog electrical contact type interface. Since you'd need an actual converter and not just a cable, you can expect to pay more.

Some older TVs will have a headphone (3.5mm) output port, possibly on the side near channel/menu buttons and not on the back where the inputs/outputs are located. Even though these are meant for headphone/hearing aid use for accessibility, the audio they output can be run through a speaker system, but it will not be as high-quality as an optical digital output.

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    Excellent point! Of course, once converted from the digital TOSLINK output to an analog signal at the 3.5mm output jack, significant audio quality will probably be gone anyway...
    – FreeMan
    Sep 23, 2020 at 15:54

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