Making TV-Band Radios Work With Digital TVs

A workaround for listening to TV on a radio

TV-band radios are AM/FM systems that also receive the audio portion of an analog TV signal. This ability makes it possible to hear TV programs over a stereo system. The problem with this is that the tuner inside them doesn't work with a digital signal, which is a major drawback.

The transition to digital-only television in 2009 killed the TV-band radio; it's an unfortunate casualty of the transition. However, you can use a workaround to listen to television on your radio.

Information in this article applies to televisions from various manufacturers, including, but not limited to, those made by LG, Samsung, Panasonic, and Sony.

How to Use a TV-Band Radio With a Digital Signal

This workaround uses an antenna and DTV converter box to capture the TV audio. Then, you connect the audio output of the converter box to either self-powered speakers or headphones with an RCA-type connector.

Run the channel scan function on the converter box before implementing this solution, or you won't get any audio.

Mohu Leaf Metro TV Antenna


After everything is configured correctly, you'll be able to hear your favorite TV shows without seeing the picture. Change the channel using the converter box remote or the box itself.

If you think this sounds strangely similar to the way you watch broadcast TV, then you're right. It's an unconventional solution, but it fixes an otherwise broken situation. The fix doesn't work where digital TV reception isn't possible, though.

Until companies produce TV-band radios with digital TV tuners, this might be all you can do. It's been hard to develop a digital-TV radio because digital TV channels use virtual numbers different from the broadcast frequency. It's ultimately hard to say if a digital TV-band radio will ever exist, especially considering how many alternate ways exist to consume the same content, including podcasts and streaming TV.

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