Sky+ HD BoxOne of the most common questions we get asked here at Home Cinema Buyer is how to connect your Sky box to your home cinema system so you can enjoy surround sound from all your favourite television programmes, movies and sports as well as from DVD’s.

The process is actually quite simple when you know how, but like a lot of things with technology it’s never quite as easy as it should be. To start with, you’ll have to do a little bit of research:

  1. Find the connection option from your Sky box
    Modern Sky boxes come with a single HDMI socket which you will have used to connect it to your television, and earlier ones with a scart socket instead. So to get the audio to your system you will need to use either the red and white phono sockets (shown far right to the image below) or preferably with an optical cable (circled below) if it is available on your box. Use your manual or simply look around the back to see what you have.

    Rear of a Sky Plus box with the optical output highlighted

  2. See what spare inputs you have on your home cinema system
    If you have not connected anything to the system before, you will more than likely have an optical and/or red and white phono input spare. You may even have an HDMI input spare which would be great if Sky boxes came with more than one output – but they don’t so it’s of little use here. Either carefully look around the back of the system or use the instruction manual or quick start guide if you have it.
  3. Then it’s a case of deciding how to connect the devices:
    • If you have an optical audio (Toslink) connection on both devices
      1. Using an optical cable is the best quality option and will transfer Dolby Digital sound. Optical cables are cheap but they rarely come supplied with home cinema systems or other devices, so unless you have one lying around you’ll need to order one (this one from Amazon is good).
      2. Remove the protective cap from each end of the cable, and the plug from the optical socket on each device and keep them safe. Then simply plug each end of the cable in.
      3. Then you’ll need to tell your Sky box to actually output a surround sound signal. To do this go to ‘Settings’ and then ‘Sound’ and change the ‘Stereo’ setting to ‘Dolby Digital':

        Changing the audio setting on the Sky box

      4. To test, put on a programme or film you know is in surround sound (any programme marked with DD or DS next to it on the electronic programme guide).
      5. Finally, switch on your home cinema system on, and it may automatically detect the signal and switch to this input, or you may have to select the appropriate input using the remote – this is different on every model so check your manual if it is not obvious.
    • Connecting with stereo (RCA) phono connectors
      1. This is not the best option but it is the most accessible and easiest. You are very likely to have red and white phono cable knocking around and it is highly likely the your home cinema system will have these sockets. The only downside is that you won’t be able to transfer Dolby Digital digital sound.
      2. The process is the same as with the optical connection above but you will not need to change any settings on the Sky box – you can leave them set to stereo.
      3. Again, select the appropriate input on your home cinema system and you should hear the correct programme.
      4. Your home cinema system will normally play the audio in stereo. However, if your system has Dolby Pro Logic II support, it will convert the stereo signal to surround sound. This won’t be as good as the full on Dolby Digital surround sound but it’s certainly an improvement over stereo in most cases.


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15 Comments to “How To Connect Your Sky Box To Your Home Cinema System”

Barry Crowhurst on April 18, 2011 said:

Hello thak you for this info I have been looking for something simple to read. Just one thing I am getting the samsung HT-D5200 2.1 3D CINEMA SYSTEM later this month and that’s why I am checking out what I need to do in order to get sky hd working with it… In the spec with the HT-D5200 it says this….
With conventional Home Entertainment Systems, you need to connect a separate optical cable to your receiver to listen to the audio from your TV. The HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) allows you to easily connect your compatible devices to process the TV’s audio signal without an optical cable. And with two HDMI inputs, you can keep your AV devices connected all the time for a convenient way to experience a new level in.
Not quite sure if that means I don’t need a cable to get sky hd sound…. It may be a silly question but I want to get it all right when I order what I need. Thanks for your help Barry Crowhurst

andy cox on June 13, 2011 said:

cheers very simple to understand

Robyn on September 4, 2012 said:

Thanks for this. My TV (Panasonic ST50) has 1 optical output and my Reciever (Yamaha S400) Has only the 1 optical which is above the HDMI out labled “TV” so will i still get DD if i connect my sky box to my amp just via HDMI? or does it have to be the digital optical?

John on December 7, 2012 said:

Fantastic. So simply explained. Many thanks…

John McManus

Conre Wagner on December 19, 2012 said:

Hi John

I have my sky+HD box connected to a Yamaha AV Receiver RX-V567 by HdMi connection, would I be able to control the volume on the Av receiver via my sky remote? As it only changes the volume on the Toshiba telly which is muted as running through the HDMI 1channel
Any advise whether this is possible?
Kind regards

Marvin Mendelson on June 1, 2013 said:

Many thanks – so easy when you know how !

David Balaam on July 3, 2013 said:

Hi, I have connected the optical cable from the Sky box to the home cinema system and changed the audio setting to dolby D, but I am still only getting sound and no pictue for the cinema system, when I check on the TV setting.
Please help

Home Cinema Buyer on July 3, 2013 said:

Hi David – Optical will only carry sound so you’ll need to watch Sky on your TV in the normal way – just with the volume muted. If the TV auto selects the AV channel when the home cinema system is turned on, you’ll just have to switch it back to normal TV.

James on August 23, 2013 said:

Thanks for the instructions! I had some troubles yesterday trying to set up my sky box but this seems to make it pretty straight forward and clear!

Sky customer service advisor on September 6, 2013 said:

Great advice! Very accurate and straightforward! Nice work :)

wazza on November 16, 2013 said:

i have samsung ht q25 and have tried the rca cables and scart lead and hdmi but get nothing from sky via way of sound or signal.i had this connected to +hd box and want to work this via my sky hd box(multi room type)and its just not happenning,any ideas please

Tina on February 9, 2014 said:

Many thanks with advice I have mine working.

Brian on May 26, 2014 said:

Hi, I have a panasonic sa-pt170 home theatre system, a sky HD box & a panasonic TX-50AS520B tv. I would like to know how to connect these 3 items so that the surround sound works. I have an optical cable plus HDMI cables & various other cables. If you could help me sort this out I would very much appreciate it please.

russ on December 6, 2014 said:

I have connected sky hd to Panasonic sa-xh150 home cinema system via optical audio cable but when i select guide on hd box the cinema system goes from d-in to aux. Its ok if i use arrows to change channels not guide. Any ideas?

Daniel on January 3, 2015 said:

Hi I recently got a Panasonic surround sound home cinema kit 5.1.
I followed the instructions to run sound for my sky hd box but still get no sound do I have to do any settings on my my tv to allow the sound

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