How can I connect speakers to a receiver with coaxial & hdmi outputs?
December 31, 2014 9:16 PM   Subscribe

Is it possible to pull audio to a external speaker set in a affordable hack or method?

I recently received a new "box" from my cable provider that has an HDMI output in addition to the standard coaxial output for cable TV. They upgraded our service to include a bunch of HD channels, but I still have an old CRT TV that barely works. I connected my huge 1080p LED computer monitor with success and it looks great. My monitor doesn't have speakers, so the only way I've been able to get sound is to have both the TV (connected via coaxial) and the monitor (connected via HDMI) hooked up and turned on at the same time. I can't afford a entertainment system or fancy new receiver, so it possible to do this in any other way?
posted by isopropyl to Technology (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Does your monitor have a microphone output as well? If so, hook up to speakers or stereo input.

Cheapo solution might be run the coax to an old VCR instead of your tv and hook the VCR up to external speakers.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:08 PM on December 31, 2014

Response by poster: The monitor has a VGA, DVI, and a HDMI input, but that's all. I'm trying to spend little to no money if possible.
posted by isopropyl at 10:17 PM on December 31, 2014

Do you already have some kind of speaker system that can produce sound? What kind of inputs does it have?
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:21 PM on December 31, 2014

This should work.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 10:22 PM on December 31, 2014

Response by poster: I have a few sets of speakers to help...

5.1 surround system has connections for RCA hook-ups and an adapter that connects the RCA to a 3.5 mm standard headphone jack


Stereo with RCA inputs


Computer speakers with the standard 3.5 mm jack

I'm handy with a soldering iron and have an intermediate level knowledge of electronics. I'm willing to hack this apart if I need to, hope this helps.. thanks everyone!
posted by isopropyl at 10:31 PM on December 31, 2014

2nding bottlebrushtree's coax to VCR solution - get the cheapest one from Goodwill that has stereo RCA outputs (shouldnt't be hard to find) and attach your 5.1 system. Or if your TV has some kind of audio output attach your sound system to that and throw a blanket over the screen for a $0 solution.

Are you certain there are no audio outputs of any kind on your monitor?
posted by STFUDonnie at 10:49 PM on December 31, 2014

Response by poster: Yes, I'm positive they're only three ports: DVI, HDMI, & VGA.

I have the TV covered with a towel behind the monitor. This works, but it's a huge eye sore and a lot of trouble when it's time to adjust the volume. I think a VCR may be my only solution...
posted by isopropyl at 11:00 PM on December 31, 2014

FYI on the VCR. Some boxes (cable, sat, etc.) output audio in RF cables in mono audio, so even though the VCR may be stereo or HiFi, the left and right channels may be the same. Non stereo and non surround.

Check and see if your new cable box outputs audio on the RF cable in mono or stereo or surround if you go the "VCR" route.

~~ OR ~~

Does the cable box have a digital optical audio output? Many do...

I run optical cables from my DirecTv, PlayStation and Apple TV boxes to my receiver. Coax digital from the DVD player.

You may be able to connect your new cable box directly to your receiver. If your receiver does not have the port, you can get something like this and an optical cable (and RCA cables if needed) and you are set. Probably less than $16 total.
posted by Leenie at 3:08 AM on January 1, 2015

Best answer: if your cable box doesn't have any kind of separate audio output at all, digital or analog or otherwise -
try searching for "hdmi audio extractor" - I have no personal experience, but there seem to be plenty of ~$10-20 adaptors that sit inline with the hdmi cable, and break audio out into analog stereo 3.5mm and/or RCA outputs.
posted by dorian at 4:03 AM on January 1, 2015

HDMI audio extractor is what you want.

Depending on the cable box/provider hooking something up to a non-hdmi (non-hdcp) connection (like rca) might disable the video on most of the cable channels due to "copy protection".
posted by TheAdamist at 6:10 AM on January 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

TheAdamist has a good point about copy protection / hdcp vs your modem. if an hdmi source suspects it doesn't like the hdmi cable/outgoing signal path/etc., it may refuse to send video. so definitely check for mention of that in product reviews, esp for the cheapie $10 sticks!

another (slim) possibility - about 7 years ago, the US gubbint was giving away free digital converter boxes (2 per household) - this is kinda-sorta the same type of RF demodulator like what's in the TV you're using, or in a VCR. maybe some friends or family have a spare one around, collecting dust?

and speaking of "tv tuners", what if you could have a demodulator... like this guy? audio output is mono-only, but damn that's gorgeous.
posted by dorian at 9:25 AM on January 2, 2015

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