George Lucas is reported to have said that “sound is half the picture.” Home theater enthusiasts know this to be true, as some of the best experiences in your home come from the audio that accompanies the movie.  From an emotional soundtrack, to an explosive car chase, right down to getting up to answer your home phone, only to realize that the phone ringing is a sound effect from the movie you’re watching and is not actually in your house.  All those experiences contribute to making a great home set up even more entertaining.

Another famous Hollywood director, when talking about the sound you get with today’s flat-panel TVs, was quoted as saying “It’s called ‘Tele-vision’, not ‘Tele-hearing’”... (OK…that quote was actually me😊).  Today’s super thin TVs deliver a TRULY great picture, look AMAZING on a stylish stand or mounted on the wall, but they clearly present a limited performance envelope if you wish to TRULY get an immersive audio experience.

Often, I get asked the “big picture question,” can TCL TVs hook up to such-and-such model sound bar/receiver? To summarize, I have NEVER had a scenario where a customer had a piece of audio equipment that didn’t have SOME TYPE of connection to which our TVs can connect with and improve the experience. That being said, there is a difference in connecting something so that it works, and getting something to get the best experience you can get.

For the purposes of this next section, let’s assume that we are buying a new TV and we need some new audio gear to go with it. I’ll go over the connections available on TCL Roku TVs that will get you enveloped in sound in no time. In ascending order of performance:

Analog Audio Output

All TCL Roku TVs have an ANALOG AUDIO OUTPUT in the form of a 3.5 mm jack.  With this you can send analog audio to headphones, a sound bar, or a home receiver. Note you may need an adapter cable to go from 3.5mm to RCS L/R audio…only a couple of bucks.  The limitations here are that you will only get stereo sound, as well as it being analog instead of digital.

Digital Optical Out

Next up the performance ladder is a DIGITAL OPTICAL OUT, again, available on all TCL Roku TVs.  With this, you will not only get digital audio quality, but, if you have a compatible sound bar or home theater set up, you’ll get true surround sound – up to Dolby Digital Plus.  What this means is that with proper speaker placement, you’ll get sound in front, alongside, and behind you!  This is great because nearly EVERYTHING you’ll watch including TV shows, movies, and video games, can take advantage of this added level of performance.


For the best of all worlds, the latest connection found on all of our TVS is HDMI ARC.  ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and improves things on many levels.  From a convenience point of view, HDMI ARC, when connected with compatible devices, means that you can simply use any remote that controls your TCL Roku TV – whether that be your TCL Remote, or your programmed Cable/Satellite/universal remote – to operate the volume of your system, automatically!  Second, your “rat’s nest” of wires will be significantly cleaned up, needing only one HDMI cable to go between your TV and compatible soundbar or home theater system. Neater is always better!

And last but not least, in addition to getting Dolby Digital Plus from our 3- and 4-Series of TVs using HDMI ARC, our award-winning 5- and 6-Series TVs will pass through, what I will testify to, is the most exciting innovation in home theater since Dolby Stereo: Dolby Atmos!  Cue up a movie on Vudu, or any other streaming service that supports Atmos, or pop in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc, and HOLD ON.  Among the many benefits that Dolby Atmos offers, my favorite is object-based tracking.  I can simplify it by thinking of it this way: in addition to traditional left-center-right-rear channels, object-based tracking adds the ability to identify something and track it.  It’s like the system says “Hey! Follow the sound of that bullet as it ricochets around the room. Even above you!”  It’s awesome, and TCL was one of the first companies in the world to bring HDMI ARC with Dolby Atmos pass-through to your living room!

Well there you have it, the full rundown of audio connections on TCL TVs. We are proud that we have the audio connections for nearly every conceivable home system set up, from something very basic to the most discerning home theater enthusiast’s systems. 

There are TONS more to learn by either researching online or working with a knowledgeable salesperson at you local store, but when you are all done, the AMAZING picture your TCL delivers will be complemented by great sound, allowing you to get the full cinema-like experience you deserve!*


*Popcorn and sticky floors not included.