HDMI ARC vs HDMI eARC. What’s The Difference?

close up of hdmi arc cable


Technology has advanced so much that it can be confusing when deciding what to buy. It’s good to know what you need and what’s nice to have, so with that in mind here’s a simple overview of HDMI ARC vs HDMI eARC.

Firstly, What is HDMI?

HDMI stands for ‘High Definition Multimedia Interface’. A HDMI cable enables both video and audio to be transmitted together in one cable, which keeps things simple for the user and reduces the amount of messy cables.

HDMI cables also enable much better video and sound quality when compared to the older separated video and audio cables.

What is HDMI ARC?

ARC is an acronym for ‘Audio Return Channel’ and it’s the technology designed to send audio signals back and forth between two devices connected by an HDMI cable.

Since HDMI version 1.4, HDMI ARC technology is now included in all HDMI cables.

The real benefit is the ability to control the volume of your TV, soundbar or home theatre speakers, all together as one using your remote control. That is very handy.

As long as your TV, soundbar and external speakers have an HDMI ARC port, then this is possible. Most TVs produced after 2010 will have one or more ARC ports.

For example, if your TV is connected to a soundbar with a HDMI cable via the HDMI ARC ports, then the audio of the TV, streaming dongles, dvd players, gaming boxes etc will all be sent to the soundbar where it can be controlled as one with your remote.

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What is HDMI eARC?

eARC or ‘Enhanced Audio Return Channel’ is basically the same as ARC, but faster and better. That said, only home theatre enthusiasts with good equipment will fully appreciate the difference in features and sound quality. This includes uncompressed audio on channels 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos.

The audio quality is fuller with more depth and clarity all round, much like what you experience when going to the cinema.

HDMI 2.1 cables include eARC technology as standard. Your TV, soundbar or home theatre would need to support HDMI eARC otherwise they will default to the regular ARC version. More about eARC.

In Summary

ARC and eARC technology in HDMI cables remove the need for extra audio cables in your setup, make it easier to control and provide a much better audio experience.

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