(Sorry for the title, but I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to home entertainment equipment)

Recently, I got a 48" TCL Roku TV to replace a 59" Sony projector TV. It's pretty nice, with a good image after some fiddling and with the flexibility of the Roku software, but it has a problem; the sound leaves a lot to be desired.

Because of that, I'm thinking of saving up to get an external sound system. I figure I might as well go all-out and get some sort of 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system.

Since the TV only has a 3.5mm audio jack and an optical audio out, running one of those to a surround system would be out of the question, especially since at least the 3.5mm Jack outputs terrible quality sound.

I believe a some sort of A/V receiver would be the best option. It would need to have 3 HDMI inputs (at least), possibly a few composite inputs, and optical audio in so that the smart features of the TV could have sound run to the system.

The problem I have is a complete lack of knowledge on how to look for what I need. Do receivers have the capability of acting as a sort of switcher for the inputs, just needing one cable to the TV? Do they work as passthroughs?

I have no idea how to look for one, and I don't know if this is even the right place to ask (or if I asked correctly), but I'm more than willing to completely rewrite the question if that helps anyone help me.

2 Answers 2


As far as HDMI pass-thru receivers, yes they are on the market.

I am currently using a Denon AVR-1513 to route output from my PC/Xbox One, to my HDTV via HDMI. This specific unit has 3 input with one output as far as HDMI goes, along with the usual optical/coaxial/RCA/ outputs you would expect.

Mine is a bit lower end so it only has pin connectors while higher end units have bind post connections.

The model I currently have has been discontinued, but I would recommend the one I ended up installing for my parents:Denon AVR-S500BT

This unit may/may not meet your needs exactly, but I hope at least gets you going in the right direction.

  • 5 connectors is tempting, but $259 is pretty high. The TV itself was $348. Oct 11, 2016 at 10:37
  • As far as expense goes. There are less expensive manufacturers/models on the market. My tv too was less expensive than my receiver by the way. The top of the line receivers however can get to, well, just look up the Anthem MRX 1120 From looking around the net, the lowest priced units I can find are around $170, but are not well reviewed by owners. I have a penchant to not recommend things that are below a certain ratio of positive to negative reviews, regardless of price. Oct 11, 2016 at 14:30
  • hmm. I guess I'll have to save up for it. I was hoping I just wasn't searching for the right things. Thanks for the help. Oct 11, 2016 at 14:33
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    There are also some speaker systems on the market that have optical in. I'll do some more looking around after I get the yard taken care of, and get some of my college coursework out of the way. Oct 11, 2016 at 15:11
  • Finally getting back to this. I've upped the price point a little, since network control would be convenient. Right now, it's between Onkyo and Yamaha. Dec 24, 2016 at 21:39

I know this is old. But I'd like to suggest folks look at Sound Bars.

While I personally have a (older) Yamaha AVENTAGE AV system (the cheapest of the line), 5 inputs and 1 output, hooked to some big speakers. Sound-bars have become popular in recent years. A friend of mine switched his AV system to a sound-bar.

They may be less expensive than going full AV system.

The big feature I learned about is ARC, or Audio Return Channel. This allows sound from the TV to go "backwards" into the AV system. Thereby using the HDMI inputs on the TV.

Rather than plugging everything into the AV system, you can plug into the TV and go the other way. I watch live TV from the antenna and the sound comes out the AV speakers. The two ends decide who is the audio source.

I recently bought an XBOX and didn't want to fiddle with the cluster of wires behind the AV system. So I did the lazy thing and plugged it directly into the TV. The audio is still Dolby-decoded and played on the AV system.

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