Optimal connectivity for watching TV and 2 channel audio

Hoping to get some help on how to the best set-up for both watching TV and listening to 2 channel audio. I did a quick search but wasn't able to find a discussion that addressed this.

Currently I have an optical cable connected directly into a soundbar but on either side of the TV and soundbar I have 2 speakers connected to an integrated amp. I was thinking of getting a center channel and using an extra older AV receiver I have laying around and connecting it to the center channel and using the L & R pre-outs to connect to the int. amp. Not sure if this is the ideal connection considering it seems like I would need to power up the int. amp every time someone in the house wants to watch TV. Is there a better way to make these connections? Are int amps with HT bypass any different than connecting to variable line inputs on an int. amp?

Just confused on how to go about this. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide
You have kind of two choices. First, run the audio into a DAC, and then into the integrated.

Second, get an AVR like an Anthem, and run the L&R out to your integrated, but the C and Surround channels directly.
Erik gave you the EZ-PZ  pathway forward,

(1) FROM TV PANEL TO EXTERNAL DAC: high-quality glass toslink optical cable



quality 3.5 mm- mini to twin-RCA interconnects 

= good to go ....highly recommended 

FWIW .... investing in a high-end glass fibre toslink cable ( WIREWORLD recommended ) instead of the usual throw-in cheap plastic toslink cable , did make an appreciable difference for me
Thanks all for the information. Just to clarify, running TV directly to dac to Integrated means no center channel unless I also use an AVR? Will it sound better, different, just as good using just left and right speakers with no center channel?

It also means the integrated would need to be on all the time while watching TV even if its for 10 hrs straight? 

Sorry, lots of questions but I like to hear about others experience and perspective.
Correct .... no multi-channel options with a CC speaker unless you step down to a multi-channel  AVR. 
With the 2-channel system setup suggested , AND you have good quality-build & performance speakers and similar quality build integrated amp , the soundstage created will kill any further need for a CC.

PS . Expand the 2-channel option it to a 2.1 system by adding a quality subwoofer.... a BIG BIG improvement !
- FROM INTEGRATED AMP PRE-AMP OUTS: quality build RCA interconnects to the ACTIVE SUBWOOFER RCA amp inputs.

Okay .... assuming you have a quality build integrated amp with a robust power supply, having it powered for 10+ hours is no problem. Mass market AVRs by comparison have small and cheaply built power supplies, a known contributing factor in addition to their dodgy HDMI boards that leads to their predictable early failure and being relegated to boat anchors.

i have my tv connected to the 'tv' inputs on my mcintosh mx132 pre-amp tuner with 'rca' cables. i only listen to 2 chanell . 
My opinion is to use your AVR and get a center channel speaker.  AVR's were specifically made for TV and BlueRay viewing.  If your 
AVR can't adequately power the L&R speakers then use the integrated.  You definitely need a sub woofer.  A better solution would be to have two systems if you have the room for it or sell the old AVR and the integrated and buy a better AVR.  I listen to 2 channel music on Qobuz high-rez, setting my AVR to Stereo for that input and the sound is great.
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In my opinion, for general TV use a 2.1 setup is better than a 3.0 setup (meaning a pair of L/R speakers and a sub, rather than L/C/R speakers and no sub). If you aren't running a full surround setup, keep your integrated and use the stereo speakers. I run an optical from my TV to my integrated amp. Yes, it has to be on whenever the TV is on. I could see that being an issue if your amp is tube, or Class A and putting out lots of heat. I use a Lyngdorf so it's not really an issue for me, and we don't watch that much TV anyway. But I can tell you it sounds LIGHT YEARS better than the old sound bar we had on the TV. If your integrated doesn't have a DAC, I'd go with tom6897's suggestion and get the $11 DAC converter. We're just talking about TV audio here, after all...

To make things easy for my family, I got a Harmony remote so it's a simple one-button process to turn on the TV and amp.
Problem with 2-channel and TV is you have to sit in the sweet spot for the lips moving on the screen to match the soundstage that you hear IME.  It is harder for your brain to fool itself that the sound is coming from the screen and not the speakers.  That's why AVR's  have DSP.  It helps to smooth everything out. I agree with jnehma1, get rid of the soundbar, and go to 3.1 if not 5.1.