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All about ARC, eARC and HDMI connections

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Old 22-06-2020, 12:08 PM   #1
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All about ARC, eARC and HDMI connections

I notice a lot of questions on this topic so I'm starting this to help the new guys.

BUT, please RTFM - DO YOUR HOMEWORK and Read the Manuals!

Do not expect to be spoon fed!

Some basic terminology that one should familiarise oneself with:

ARC: Audio Return Channel
eARC: is Enhanced ARC

What are the benefits:
This article explains it quite well:

https://www.cnet.com/news/hdmi-audio...for-beginners/

The differences between ARC and eARC:
https://www.techradar.com/sg/news/hdmi-arc-vs-earc





In its most basic form, ARC uses an HDMI cable to send audio from a TV back to a receiver or a sound bar. That means you can use a single cable for both audio and video, for example from the Netflix app built into your TV or from a connected game console, and use your TV for switching.

HDMI CEC:

HDMI CEC control
Another HDMI feature is called CEC, or Consumer Electronics Control. Nearly every company has their own name for it, including SimpLink, Anynet+, BRAVIA Sync, and others. In theory, CEC will let the remote from one piece of gear to control another, as long as they're connected with HDMI. For instance, in Setup 1 above, your TV's remote can adjust the volume on your sound bar.

However, there's no guarantee it will work, especially across different brands or ages of gear. If there's any aspect of ARC setup that's going to cause you agony, it's this. You might not be able to realize the dream of using one remote, unless you get a universal remote control. If it doesn't work, though, Google might help. It could be as simple has having to turn on your gear in a certain order. But in the end, this control aspect just might not function.

More on eARC:

eARC and HDMI 2.1
The latest version of the HDMI interface is 2.1, and it offers numerous important changes. Relevant to us here is eARC, or enhanced Audio Return Channel.

While Dolby Atmos can be passed over regular ARC today (via Dolby Digital Plus) eARC offers improved bandwidth for higher-quality Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams, including Atmos.

The new format also has lip-sync compensation built-in. This feature was optional in ARC, but is now required. This lets you more easily line up the sound with the visuals, something that has always been an issue in the modern TV era.
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Last edited by petetherock; 22-06-2020 at 12:22 PM..
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Old 22-06-2020, 12:09 PM   #2
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More on ARC and eARC:
https://www.whathifi.com/advice/hdmi...u-need-to-know

To take advantage of HDMI ARC, youíll need a television and audio processor (AV receiver or soundbar), with matching ARC-enabled HDMI sockets.

Peer around the back of your TV - if itís packing three or four HDMI sockets, you need to find the one thatís labelled ď(ARC)Ē. Labelling isnít compulsory, but as long as your TV is a late-2009 model or newer, there should be one at your disposal. Consult the TVís user manual if youíre unsure.

With some TVs, HDMI ARC might work automatically. If it doesnít, youíll need to grab a remote and tweak a few of your TV settings, including turning off your TVís built-in speakers and enabling your telly to send audio out to an external speaker or amp.

Using HDMI ARC does not require a new HDMI cable. Any HDMI cable should be able to cope with the requirements - itís only when we move on to eARC this could (potentially) become an issue. But more on that later.

As part of the process, you should consider enabling HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) so you can turn your TV on and control the volume on your soundbar or amp without the need for multiple remotes. A word of warning, though: turning HDMI CEC on can have some unwanted AV side-effects - so you might want to experiment first.


Enhanced Audio Return Channel (also known as eARC) is the next generation of ARC. Itís a feature implemented in the most recent HDMI 2.1 specification.

The main benefit of eARC is a big boost in bandwidth and speed. This allows you to send higher-quality audio from your TV to a soundbar or AV receiver.

Thereís scope for eARC to deliver up to 32 channels of audio, including eight-channel, 24bit/192kHz uncompressed data streams at speeds of up to 38Mbps.

This means all those high bitrate formats currently available on Blu-ray discs, 4K Blu-rays and some streaming services Ė Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and object-based formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X Ė will all be compatible.

But whether manufacturers choose to support them all remains to be seen.

On paper, HDMI eARC should also make the handshake between compatible devices much smoother and negate the need to activate HDMI CEC (which doesnít always work properly) - so operating multiple products shouldnít require any extra steps to get things up and running.

As is the case with ARC, youíll need two devices with compatible HDMI eARC sockets for the protocol to work. This means they need to meet the HDMI 2.1 standard but, at the time of writing, there is only a handful of products carrying HDMI 2.1 currently on the market.

The first 4K TVs to sport HDMI 2.1 inputs emerged from LG in 2019. All of LG's 2020 OLED TVs are HDMI 2.1 certified too, but it's a very mixed bag where other TV manufacturers and their TV ranges are concerned.

Some 2019 and 2020 TVs from Panasonic, Samsung or Sony are only HDMI 2.0 certified yet they claim to be able to support some HDMI 2.1 features such as VRR and eARC. The odd model range, such as the Sony 8K Z8H and 4K X900H (XH90) is HDMI 2.1 certified.

Other products with eARC, however, are starting to emerge slowly. Onkyo and Pioneer were the first to offer eARC updates on select AV products, mainly: Onkyo TX-RZ830, Integra DRX-5.2, Pioneer SC-LX502 and Pioneer VSX-LX503 AV receivers.

Sony followed quickly after with updates to its soundbars (HT-ST5000, HT-ZF9, HT-XF9000) and AV receivers (STR-DH790, STR-DN1080) making them compatible with eARC-supported Sony AF9 and ZF9 TV models. All firmware updates are available now.

More recently, the brilliant Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar also sports an eARC-compatible HDMI 2.1 output.

Do I need new HDMI cables to use eARC?
HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: everything you need to know
According to HDMI.org, if you currently use a standard HDMI cable with Ethernet, or a High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet, you should be fine. Ultra High Speed HDMI cables with Ethernet will definitely work.

Because of the extra bandwidth needed for some audio formats over eARC, itís possible that very old cables could struggle. In January 2020 HDMI.org annnounced a mandatory certification programme which will ensure any cable labelled Ultra High Speed supports all HDMI 2.1 features including eARC.

Is eARC backwards compatible with ARC?
If your TV is HDMI eARC enabled, but your AV amp or soundbar is only compatible with HDMI ARC, itís likely youíll get a sound - but the bandwidth restrictions of ARC will mean you wonít be able to experience the high bitrate audio that eARC can provide. So no, it's not backwards-compatible.

Some AV receivers and soundbars (like those mentioned previously) that donít have HDMI 2.1 chipsets can be upgraded to support eARC, but it varies between manufacturers and products. It depends if they are using compatible hardware that can accept the necessary firmware update.

Time will tell how well integrated eARC will be, but we're hoping adoption becomes as ubiquitous as HDMI ARC seems to be now.
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Old 22-06-2020, 12:14 PM   #3
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Now some important things to check:

- Are you using the ARC port of your devices eg your TV?

Most commonly, there's only one ARC port, or aARC port on your TV for example and you can't simply connect to any port.

- although it's not necessary, I find that if the two devices are on the same version of HDMI, eg HDMI 2.0, this allows them to work best and smoothly

Use the most up to date cable and of the shortest length you can.

There is a whole world of HDMI voodoo, and many have posted asking why it didn't work on their TVs, and it's hard to trouble shoot.

Common issues are loose cables, or older versions of cables and one device being of an older HDMI version.
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Old 22-06-2020, 12:20 PM   #4
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So what about Atmos and ARC?

First thing to do

CHECK

Is your app on your TV or device compatible with Atmos?

Some people are asking why there's no Atmos when they have not checked if the TV supports it.

For example, a 2016 Sony Z9D has the Netflix app on it, but it will not output Atmos.

Other devices don't allow Dolby Vision.

Second - understand you need eARC for lossless transmission. Otherwise you can get lossly Atmos throughput but not DTS-MA or DTS-X, or Tru-HD etc.

Some HDMI 2.0 devices have eARC feature, so it's neccesary to use a HDMI 2.1 TV, but check with each manufacturer.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:50 AM   #5
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hi, okay ...
i just got a philips 55 inch tv . 804/98 midel with dolby atmos and vison and hrd10
but it does not have earc?
so mean i cannot buy atmos speakers?
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Old 08-07-2020, 12:21 PM   #6
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hi, okay ...
i just got a philips 55 inch tv . 804/98 midel with dolby atmos and vison and hrd10
but it does not have earc?
so mean i cannot buy atmos speakers?
Hi. I will presume you have an AVR to be able to get Dolby Atmos correct? If you are using just your TV speakers, then this will not matter at all.

ARC is Audio Return Channel (1mbps) and eARC is Enhanced Audio Return Channel (37mbps).

ARC has a lossy version of Dolby Atmos. If you use the TV streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Apple TV, you are perfectly fine. Most audio sources are way below 1mbps for streaming (ie. 768kbps for Netflix).
They use Dolby Digital Plus (DD+) container to deliver a lossy Dolby Atmos.

So if bought a cheap AVR like the Denon X1600H which only has ARC, it won't affect you.

Both your TV and AVR are likely to be HDMI 2.0 devices. In this case, you should be plugging in your Blu-Ray player, Game Console and PC through your AVR and just have that 1 AVR HDMI cable go up to your TV. This is how you get more than 2 PCM channels along with getting Lossless Dolby Atmos and DTS-X from your Blu-Ray Player, game console and especially PC.

ARC and eARC is only used when you are plugging your video output devices like a game console or PC to your TV instead of your AVR. Then the TV will take the audio signal that the TV receives from those output devices and use the Ethernet part of the HDMI cable to send the audio signal down to your AVR/soundbar.

This is where you will have a problem where you can't get Lossless Dolby Atmos and DTS-X and PCM above stereo 2.0 since they are all lossless formats and has a high bandwidth exceeding 1mbps.
Both your TV and AVR/soundbar must support eARC in order to get those lossless audio formats.

But since your TV and AVR are both HDMI 2.0 devices, you should really be plugging in your video output devices to your AVR instead so as to avoid having to use that ARC limitation that your TV has and be done with it.

If you ever want to take advantage of HDMI 2.1 (PS5, Xbox Series X, RTX 3000 series), firstly, your TV needs to have a HDMI 2.1 port in order to get 4K 120Hz, Auto Low Latency Mode, G-Sync/FreeSync/VRR.
Else, you'll just get 4K 60Hz like with your current HDMI 2.0 TV. Not an issue.

Only when you want to take advantage of the PS5 and you have a HDMI 2.1 TV like the LG 2019 and 2020 series of TVs that have all 4 ports with HDMI 2.1, then you'd need to connect your PS5 and XSX to your TV instead of the AVR. And only because of that, you will definitely need an eARC capable AVR to get the full sound from your TV that the PS5/XSX is sending.
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:45 PM   #7
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thank you so much!! I dont even know what is a avr!
I only hafe the tv!
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Old 08-07-2020, 08:46 PM   #8
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and I dont use my pc or any gaming consoles.
jut watching Netflix .. ans I thjbk I wan to download those dolby atmos movies to my laptop??
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Old 08-07-2020, 11:16 PM   #9
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thank you so much!! I dont even know what is a avr!
I only hafe the tv!
If you are just using your TV and not external soundbar or Home Theatre receiver (AVR), then there is no need to worry about ARC. It is meant for sending audio signal away from your TV and into an external audio device like a AVR receiver, Sonos or Soundbar.
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Old 09-07-2020, 09:27 AM   #10
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Nice!! Thanks for the post!!
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Old 09-07-2020, 11:32 AM   #11
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could u recommend me good. start for a soundbar?
i only watch Netflix for now, so would like to fully use the atmos for sound and dolby vision
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Old 09-07-2020, 01:07 PM   #12
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could u recommend me good. start for a soundbar?
i only watch Netflix for now, so would like to fully use the atmos for sound and dolby vision
https://www.whathifi.com/best-buys/b...os-tv-speakers

Some reviews to you can check out.

However, users needs to be aware that its a soundbar after all. So, its not going to have the same performance as multiple speakers placed all over the room.
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Old 09-07-2020, 06:48 PM   #13
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could u recommend me good. start for a soundbar?
i only watch Netflix for now, so would like to fully use the atmos for sound and dolby vision
You can start here, and when you ask for help, more info more help, eg budget, room size etc
https://forums.hardwarezone.com.sg/h...D-6175294.html
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:47 PM   #14
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One very important thing about apps and the TVs you own:

I can't say more about checking the specs and reading the manual.
Not all TVs can output Dolby Vision or Atmos, just because you paid for the 4k Netflix app, you don't get either if your TV can't do it.
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