The most common fix for sound issues when you connect your Windows-running Steam Deck to your TV is opening Device Manager, locating the High Definition Audio Controller, and either enabling it or scanning for hardware changes. If that doesn’t work, reboot your Deck, check your connections and output settings, and update your drivers and Windows version.
If you run Windows on your Steam Deck and experience audio issues when hooking it to a TV, you’ve come to the right place. Our troubleshooting guide features nine potential solutions, one of which should solve your audio issues when connecting Steam Deck with Windows to a TV.
Try the High Definition Audio Controller Fix
Many users suffering from the no audio on TV issue, including us, have found that tweaking the “High Definition Audio Controller” settings in Windows Device Manager fixed the problem.
Begin by right-clicking the “Start” button — this works the same in Windows 10 and Windows 11 — then click on the “Device Manager” button on the list.
Once in there look for the “System Devices” tab and double-click on it. The tab should expand with one of the devices listed being the aforementioned “High Definition Audio Controller.”
Right-click on the “High Definition Audio Controller” button and then click on either “Enable Device” if it’s disabled or “Scan For Hardware Changes” if the device is enabled. One of the two actions should make Windows recognize your TV and solve your issue. Scanning for hardware changes fixed the issue in our case.
In Windows 11, you can confirm whether Windows now recognizes your TV by right-clicking the quick settings button (the one with Wi-Fi, battery, and audio icons) in the taskbar and then clicking on the speaker icon.
You should see your TV among the “Sound Output” devices.
Check Whether Everything’s Working on the TV Side
If enabling the “High Definition Audio Controller” or scanning for hardware changes didn’t work, ensure everything works on the TV side. Check your TV settings, and make sure the sound system — if you use any — your TV is connected to works as it should, or that your TV isn’t muted.
For instance, the soundbar our TV is connected to works great most of the time. On certain occasions, though, it will fail to automatically turn on once audio starts playing on the TV. Sometimes it’s not even as complicated as that, though. One time, the battery inside the soundbar remote died, so we thought there was something wrong with our PC until about half an hour later when we turned on the soundbar by pressing the power button on it instead of trying to use the remote.
Reboot Your Steam Deck
If everything’s okay with your TV and sound system, reboot your Steam Deck. You can restart Windows 11 and reboot Windows 10 by going to clicking the Start button, then the power icon, followed by “Restart.” A reboot can solve a surprisingly large number of issues, including audio-related ones.
Another example from our experience is that SteamOS in desktop mode can sometimes randomly drop audio or bug out the touchpads, so you cannot use them for moving around the desktop. And if that happens on SteamOS, similar issues can arise on Windows.
Test Your Steam Deck’s 3.5mm Audio Jack
If rebooting didn’t help, it’s time to check whether the audio output feature works on your Steam Deck. To do this, plug a 3.5mm audio output device — speakers, headphones, or earbuds — into your Steam Deck and see if there’s audio coming out.
If you hear audio, it’s likely a problem with your connection and not the Steam Deck or Windows itself. In that case, test your dock or cables for problems as we’ve explained below. If you still hear nothing, it’s time to check whether you have the Steam Deck Windows audio drivers installed.
Confirm Steam Deck Windows Drivers Are Installed
If you don’t have the Steam Deck Windows audio drivers installed, the audio icon in the taskbar should show a small X next to the audio icon in Windows 11 taskbar. On Windows 10, you should see a small red X next to the audio icon.
If that’s the case, you didn’t install the audio drivers. To install them, go to Valve’s Steam Deck Windows Resources website and download both audio drivers. Unzip the two archives using 7-zip or any other unzipping tool you have on hand, and then install the two drivers by following Valve’s guidelines.
For the first driver, find the “cs35I41” file that has “Setup Information” listed as its type, right-click it, and select “Install.”
To install the second driver, locate the “NAU88L21” file that has “Setup Information” listed as its type, right-click it, and select the “Install” option.
If you already have the two Steam Deck Windows audio drivers installed, try reinstalling them to see whether that will do the trick regarding the missing audio issue when connected to a TV.
Check Windows Sound Settings and Troubleshoot if Needed
If installing drivers didn’t solve the issue, open Sound Settings on Windows 11 by right-clicking the quick settings button on the taskbar and then clicking on the “Sound Settings” button.
On Windows 10, simply right-click the speaker icon in the taskbar and click “Open Sound Settings.”
Once there, check whether you can find your TV among the list of output devices by clicking the “Output Device” button.
You can also try scrolling to the “All Sound Devices” tab, clicking on it (or on Windows 10, click “Sound Control Panel” under Related Settings), and checking if your TV is listed there.
If it is, but you don’t have any audio, it might be disabled. Right-click on your TV icon and then click on “Enable.” If you can’t find your TV on the list, right-click on any device shown there and click the “Show Disabled Devices” and “Show Disconnected Devices” buttons.
If that didn’t work, in Sound Settings find the “Troubleshoot Common Sound Problems” tab and click the “Output Devices” button in Windows 11, or the “Troubleshoot” button under Output in Windows 10. Follow the troubleshooting procedure and see if troubleshooting made your TV appear in the “Output Devices” list.
If your TV still isn’t showing, it’s time to test the device you’re using to connect your Steam Deck to the TV.
Test Your USB Dock/HDMI Adapter and HDMI Cable
We reckon you’re either using a USB-C dock or a USB-C-to-HDMI adapter to connect your Deck to your TV. If none of the advice we’ve provided up until now worked, it may be that you’re using a faulty USB dock or HDMI adapter.
Test the dock or adapter with another device, such as a laptop, if you have one, or find a device with which you can test the dock or adapter.
If the dock or adapter doesn’t work, replace it. If it works, test the HDMI cable you’re using. If the cable doesn’t work, replace it. If you still face audio issues it’s time to move to the next potential solution.
Install Windows Updates
If nothing so far has worked for you, go try installing the latest updates just in case there’s a fix that’s come down the pipe. To do this, just type “Windows Updates” into the “Search” tab on the Windows taskbar and once there, download and install every available update. After you install every update, either let Windows automatically restart your Steam Deck or restart the Deck manually.
Once Windows reboots, look for your TV in the “Sound Output” list.
Connect to the TV With SteamOS Instead
If your TV still doesn’t show up in your output list, find out if SteamOS is able to output audio when connecting your Deck to your TV even if Windows can’t. So, either boot into SteamOS (if you run Windows from a microSD card) or reinstall SteamOS using the recovery image Valve provides. Once it boots, connect your Deck to your TV and see if the audio’s playing on your TV.
If it doesn’t, the only option you have left is reinstalling Windows 11 (or, if you prefer, reinstalling Windows 10). If audio issues persist, even after reinstalling Windows along with Steam Deck audio drivers, there’s a big chance something’s wrong with the USB-C port on your Steam Deck. If that’s the case, we recommend contacting Valve regarding your Steam Deck warranty.