In the past, many devices, such as DVD players and video game consoles used audio-visual cables to transmit information regarding sounds and images to the TV. These cords typically had two or three outputs that were plugged into the back of the TV. HDMI replaced A/V cables that previously ran from a device to the TV. With the HDMI cable in most top-rated TVs, all of the information goes through the same cord to a single port on the TV. In addition, newer HDMI cables transmit higher-resolution information across this digital link. One of these new HDMI cables is an HDMI ARC cable. So, what is ARC for TV?

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Audio return channel (ARC) HDMI cords provide a way for the audio coming from the TV to be sent to a stereo or home entertainment system.
  • Enhanced audio return channel (eARC) offers better audio formats and an easier installation.
  • ARC and eARC cords eliminate the use of an additional cable to connect the TV and sound system.

What Is HDMI ARC?

Ever wondered what is a tv made out of and why you enjoy great pictures and sounds? Manufacturers introduced the audio return channel (ARC) feature with HDMI 1.4 standard. This feature allows the audio coming from the TV to be sent to an audio-visual receiver or speaker system. ARC is used when the video stream is generated or received by the TV, such as watching or using an application on a smart TV. Additionally, a different device must reproduce the audio.

The introduction of ARC-compatible sound systems and TVs means that the extra optical or audio cable is no longer necessary to connect the two. Because the extra cable is no longer required, consumers may have an easier time setting up their sound system and TV. In most cases, the TV or sound system set-up includes a step for setting up the feature.

What is HDMI eARC?

Enhanced audio return channel (eARC) came into existence with HDMI 2.1. Users enjoy advancements over standard ARC. eARC seems easier to use and provides higher-bitrate audio formats. Higher bitrates mean that the TV can send additional information to the sound system, which generally means better audio quality. Additionally, eARC enables movie theater-quality sound in the consumer’s living room through speaker systems.

What are the Benefits?

Both ARC and eARC connect a TV and audio system using a high-speed HDMI cable. These features make additional composite audio or optical wires obsolete. With an ARC-compatible audio system and TV, the user can view and listen to content sent from the TV and listened to through the audio system.

The ability to send audio to a home entertainment system or outside speaker becomes important when you consider the type of sound that comes out of the TV, especially lower-end TVs. If you know what is an LCD TV or have an older TV model then you may have experienced this. Since many TVs focus on image quality, the audio is not always appealing for many cheaper TVs. Some of these TVs sound “tinny” regardless of the volume of the TV. With a dedicated home entertainment sound system, the sound quality typically increases, reducing the tinniness of the sound. Several sound systems also allow the user to change different aspects of the sound, such as the bass or treble levels.

Many consumers may notice a considerable difference in sound quality while using a dedicated sound system with their TVs. However, these sound systems often required an additional cable to connect the TV and sound system in the past. Thanks to HDMI ARC and eARC technology, this extra cable is no longer necessary. Additionally, HDMI ARC and eARC cables enable sound systems to receive higher-bitrate sounds. The higher-bitrate output allows for better audio quality. With these cables, consumers may be able to listen to movie theater-quality sound from the comfort of their living rooms.

F.A.Q.

Do You Need a Specific HDMI Cable for HDMI ARC?

Most High-Speed HDMI cables should work with HDMI ARC. To use HDMI eARC, you will need an HDMI High-Speed Cable with Ethernet or an Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable.


How do I enable HDMI ARC on my TV?

If, after setting up your system with HDMI ARC, it seems like your system isn’t working. You may need to go into the TV settings and set it up. If you are unsure where to look, you can check your owner’s manual.


Does your TV have an ARC connection?

If one of your HDMI ports says ARC near it, it is most likely able to support ARC.



STAT: HDMI has become the de facto standard for HDTVs, and according to In-Stat, around 90% of digital televisions in 2007 included HDMI. (source)

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."

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