I have a Dell E521 tower, but it's probably similar on other machines with integrated sound capabilities. The new display (TV) I connected has poor sound quality through it's integrated speakers, so wanted an alternative, but am unsure as to if I will need powered speakers or not.
Here is what the computer's output looks like (source):
Currently, I have my old TV getting sound from output "6" (line-out). That works fine since that TV has good speakers. But line-out to the new TV sounds bad due to it's crummy speakers.
So my question is can I just buy a surround sound speaker kit and have it work? The room is fairly small, so I don't need a lot of watts, but I just can't tell if the output from the computer is intended to drive the speakers directly without being powered (having an integrated amplifier function).
I connected green, black, and yellow with 1/8" jumpers provided with the amplifier. But as explained in the accepted answer, much of the time I'm just getting stereo, which is expected, as the underlying audio generation does not provide the extra channels.