What is HDMI ARC? - TV technology explained

What is HDMI ARC? - An image of the HDMI ARC port in a TV

What is HDMI ARC? - An image of the HDMI ARC port in a TV

If you are in the market for the best gaming TVs or normal TVs, you may have come across the term HDMI ARC or eRAC. This can leave you wondering: What is HDMI ARC?

In the world of HDMI, it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the constant introduction of new standards, devices, and features. From HDMI 2.1 to HDMI splitters to HDMI ARC, there is a myriad of elements to navigate.

In this guide, we will explain what is HDMI ARC and provide you with a clear understanding of its purpose, functionality, and how it can enhance your audio experience.

What is HDMI ARC?

HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) is a feature that simplifies the audio setup between different devices by allowing audio transmission between your TV and the external audio system over a single HDMI cable.

In a traditional setup, an additional optical or analogue audio cable is typically required to send the audio from the TV to an external audio system, such as a soundbar. HDMI ARC eliminates the need for a separate audio cable, streamlining the connection process.

What is HDMI ARC - An image depicting the HDMI ARC setup.
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With HDMI ARC, audio signals can be sent from a TV back to an external audio device over the same HDMI cable used for video transmission, reducing cable clutter and making the setup process more streamlined.

Do you need HDMI ARC?

No, HDMI ARC is not necessary for basic audio and video connectivity between devices. You can still achieve audio and video transmission without ARC using standard HDMI connections and separate audio cables.

However, ARC can help you simplify your audio setup and reduce cable clutter. It allows you to send audio from a TV back to an external audio device, such as a soundbar or home theatre system, using the same HDMI cable that is used for video transmission.

It's important to note that both the TV and the audio device need to support HDMI ARC for it to work. In 2023, the best TV brands offer gaming TVs and normal TVs with either ARC or eARC support, so you can find options that cater to your needs.

What is eARC?

eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) is an enhanced version of HDMI ARC that offers greater audio bandwidth and additional features.

Compared to HDMI ARC, eARC provides higher data transfer rates, support for advanced audio formats like Dolby Atmos, and additional features for improved synchronization and control between devices.

To utilize eARC, both the TV and the audio system need to support this feature. Additionally, you will need an HDMI cable that supports eARC, as standard HDMI cables may not have the necessary bandwidth for enhanced audio capabilities.

And that concludes our guide on what is HDMI ARC. If you're interested in TVs with HDMI eARC compatibility, consider the Samsung S95C and LG G3 OLED as potential choices.

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