HDMI is widely regarded as the best and most popular method of connecting audio and video smart devices. For many years, the HDMI standard has been employed all across the world.
If you own a 4K 75-80 inch TV (or any other high-end TV), an AV receiver, or a soundbar, you may have seen a small label next to at least one of the HDMI ports that says ARC or HDMI ARC. But what exactly is ARC stand for? And what is HDMI eARC? Read on to find out about ARC vs. eARC!
What is HDMI ARC?
Audio Return Channel (ARC) is a built-in feature of HDMI that can be utilized to output TV audio. However, it’s important to note that manufacturers have been obliged to include receivers in the video chain due to several constraints.
eARC (enhanced ARC) is an improved version that promises to repair everything. We explain the distinctions.
There was a time when analog phono ports on televisions could be used to output audio. The right and left stereo were connected using circular red and white connectors, respectively. Modern televisions, on the other hand, no longer have analog audio outputs. You can even set up a home theatre system using these modern TVs.
In 2009, the HDMI 1.4 standard was introduced, and ARC was born. It can send audio over an HDMI connection from the TV’s HDMI ARC connector, as the name implies.
It also has the ability to send sound to a soundbar or receiver. It’s useful when you wish to send TV audio to another device. When streaming apps made their way onto TVs, this became even more relevant.
Suppose you have a games console or a Blu-Ray player but you don’t want to use the TV’s speakers for sound. Previously, you had to connect an optical cable between your TV and the audio device’s visual input. With HDMI ARC, you don’t have to do that anymore.
Without the use of an optical connection, you can transport audio from a compatible HDMI output on your TV to a compatible HDMI ARC input on a soundbar or other external speaker.
What Devices Support HDMI ARC?
If you are unsure whether or not you can use HDMI ARC, look for matching ARC HDMI connections on the back of your TV and your audio equipment, whether it’s a soundbar or an AV receiver.
ARC is generally written on the ports. If they aren’t, you should be able to use at least one ARC port if the device is from late 2009 or later. If you’re unsure, look up your TV model on the internet or consult the user manual.
You won’t need to buy a new HDMI cable because HDMI ARC works with any HDMI cable. However, if you wish to use eARC, this could be a problem. So, once you’ve connected your cable to the TV and audio receiver, you’re ready to go.
However, certain TVs may not support HDMI ARC automatically; in this instance, you may need to adjust some of your TV settings, such as turning off your TV’s speaker and activating additional speakers or a soundbar.
What is HDMI eARC?
The next iteration of ARC is HDMI eARC or improved Audio Return Channel. It’s a new protocol that debuted with HDMI 2.1, the most recent version of the standard.
The critical advantage of eARC over ARC is that it is faster and has more bandwidth. Users will be able to transport higher-quality audio from TVs to soundbars and AV receivers due to this.
It means that eARC will be able to play all of the high-resolution formats that ARC couldn’t, including 4K Blu-rays on OLED TVs. And also the object-based formats like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos for best home theatre systems. However, it’s yet uncertain whether manufacturers will support all or just a few of these formats.
To take advantage of eARC, you’ll need two compatible HDMI eARC ports on both of your devices, just like with ARC. This means that HDMI 2.1 should be supported by your TV and your AV receiver. Unfortunately, because HDMI 2.1 is still a new standard, not many devices support it.
The New eARC
The new eARC allows you to make the following three significant changes.
- Increased bandwidth: It allows the TV to communicate with the receiver or soundbar in sophisticated and uncompressed surround sound codecs.
- HDMI handshakes are more dependable: These frequent handshakes between the loyal are a more reliable and controllable operation. You can also reduce the number of remote controls you use.
- Lip Sync Correction Protocol: It is necessary to ensure that the picture and sound are constantly in sync.
What Devices Support eARC?
It’s exciting to learn that manufacturers can pick and choose which parts of the upcoming HDMI standard they want to use. They don’t have to support 8K video resolution to incorporate eARC.
eARC, on the other hand, will work with older technology by reverting to the previous ARC standard.
Furthermore, it is critical to remember that eARC support is required on both ends of the connection. While there isn’t much audio equipment supporting eARC, it will help you get the most out of the new standard. Some gadgets, however, may be upgraded via firmware.
It’s critical to understand that two devices must implement the new HDMI 2.1 standard, including the eARC protocol. The average consumer will entail a TV and AV receiver that supports the latest HDMI 2.1 protocol.
Additionally, Ultra-High-Speed HDMI connections are required to use all of the new eARC protocol’s features. It’s intriguing to learn that HDMI cables will be beneficial if you plan to use the new HDMI 2.1 specification’s highest resolution video modes. As a result, all eARC functions will be supported by existing High-Speed HDMI cables.
It is critical to understand eARC vs. ARC. eARC is a significant technological advancement, and it may potentially solve the problem. The control center will no longer have to be a soundbar. It won’t have to deal with visual signals anymore.
Of course, it can still do so if you want it, but eARC shifts the dynamics and gives you a choice. However, in the future, HDMI will be able to send the same audio quality and formats upstream via HDMI eARC.