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Audio, Video Connectors

What is the Difference Between HDMI ARC and eARC?


Last updated on January 23rd, 2024 at 02:31 am

HDMI ARC stands for HDMI Audio Return Channel.

eARC stands for Enhanced Audio Return Channel or the next-gen ARC.

Before we explain the difference between HDMI ARC and eARC, let’s first look at the basics of ARC.

How does HDMI ARC Work?

HDMI ARC works by sending audio signals from a playback device such as an HDTV to an AV receiver or a soundbar through a SINGLE cable.

What HDMI versions support HDMI ARC?

HDMI ARC was introduced in 2009 and first saw support in HDMI 1.4. So, HDMI ARC is supported in HDMI 1.4 and later versions.

What’s are the Advantages of an HDMI ARC?

With HDMI ARC you don’t have to connect analog audio cables or digital optical cables from your HDTV to your home theater AV receiver.

Also, if you’re connecting many devices to your soundbar, and your soundbar has only one HDMI input. You can connect all your devices to your TV and sound will be transmitted to the soundbar via the TV. There’s no need for extra cables.

Before HDMI ARC you would need a separate optical cable for the purpose.

Also, you need only one remote control to operate your devices. When you turn on your TV, your soundbar is automatically turned on.

Is HDMI and HDMI ARC the same?

There’s no difference between an HDMI and HDMI ARC connection.
Most importantly, devices must be HDMI ARC compatible. You’ve to make sure your AV receiver or soundbar is HDMI ARC compatible.

Compatibility will not be an issue in most cases. HDTVs and AV receivers bought after 2009 will likely support HDMI ARC.

Just look out for the HDMI port that’s labeled ARC. Not many TV manufacturers label ARC ports. You can always consult your equipment manual to see if HDMI ARC is supported.

Also, consult your manual if HDMI ARC doesn’t automatically work with your equipment. You may need to disable the sound on your TV for sound to be transmitted via HDMI ARC to your soundbar or AV receiver.

Watch the video for additional information.

This video shows you how to make an HDMI ARC connection from your HDTV to your audio receiver like a soundbar.

What is HDMI eARC?

eARC stands for Enhanced Audio Return Channel. It is also popularly referred to as the next-gen ARC.

While ARC saw the light of the day with HDMI 1.4, eARC was introduced with HDMI 2.1.

So, what’s the Difference Between HDMI ARC and eARC

Let’s look at the difference between HDMI ARC and eARC.

First, eARC proves support for a larger bandwidth. Second, it supports faster speeds.

So, what does this mean when it comes to transmitting audio?

You are able to deliver higher-quality audio from your HDTV to your soundbar or audio receiver.

For example, you can output up to 32 audio channels with eARC.

eARC also supports 8-channel 24bit/192kHz uncompressed audio data delivered at a whopping maximum speed of 38Mbps. Certainly an audiophile’s delight.

More Audio Formats Covered

You get high-quality sound with a playback of Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray content. You also get support for Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and even Dolby Atmos and DTS:X are covered.

Drawback : Limited Equipment Support

This means that your equipment must be HDMI 2.1 compatible. Currently, there are a limited number of products in the market that supports HDMI 2.1.

Check out this video to learn more about eARC.

You’ve seen the difference between HDMI ARC and eARC. It’s now up to you to decide whether you need eARC or you should just stick with ARC.

If you have the budget, go for newer equipment with eARC support. Otherwise, just wait until eARC becomes a standard feature of HD AV equipment and enjoy lower prices.

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