Read on and we'll outline everything you need to know about HDMI ARC. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. eARC can work with hdmi 2.0 ports and normal highspeed hdmi cables. And it does that through the TV itself, instead of requiring a separate audio receiver. You will generally find this feature in the Settings menu, under Audio. Second, you can run these connections through the soundbar itself, letting you shift the multiple HDMI connections from the TV to the soundbar without requiring any additional setup. Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. There was a problem. It also means fewer cables to install. You'll find eARC on models from LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL, Vizio and Hisense and pretty much every model on our list of the best TVs we've reviewed.
This protocol offers two-way communication between devices over a single HDMI connection. Since ARC was introduced in 2009, it has become a very common standard, and you'll find it on all of the best TVs we've reviewed, as well as the best soundbars, from the Yamaha YAS-209 to the Sonos Arc. The often-overlooked ARC stands for "Audio Return Channel," and ever since the HDMI 1.4 standard was introduced, ARC has been available on TVs, soundbars and receivers.
The biggest improvement eARC offers is support for full-resolution audio signal, meaning that it supports Dolby Atmos and other uncompressed sound formats. Most TV manufacturers offer ARC output over only one HDMI port instead of all three or four ports on the set. (Even better, we have a separate list of the best TVs with HDMI 2.1, letting you narrow your shopping to models that offer the new standard.). Depending on how far away your streaming player is to your TV, you might need an active HDMI cables that require power from a USB-C connector. We check over 250 million products every day for the best prices. But HDMI 2.1 also offers a new and improved version of ARC, called Enhanced Audio Return Channel, or eARC. It can handle both the TV's regular two-channel audio and 5.1 surround sound without any trouble. You can also use this in conjunction with another HDMI standard, called Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI-CEC), which lets you control external devices like Blu-ray players or satellite boxes using you TV remote. Future US, Inc. Full 7th Floor, 130 West 42nd Street,
Get instant access to breaking news, the hottest reviews, great deals and helpful tips. First, you can connect your audio system with a single HDMI cable. If you've set up a new TV or plugged in a Blu-ray player recently, you may have seen the ARC or eARC label on one of your HDMI inputs and wondered what it was. So what is it, why should you care and how can it improve your TV-watching (or listening) experience? This is usually indicated by a label on the set itself. By Audio going to the TV from an antenna, for example, can also be output over HDMI and piped through the soundbar instead of just the TV's built-in speakers. Namely, it can't send HD or high-bit-rate audio used by standards like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Tom's Guide is part of Future US Inc, an international media group and leading digital publisher. New York, While many TVs auto-detect devices with ARC capability, others require you to turn on the feature manually. If you're buying a new HDMI cable, look for the HDMI Cable Power logo that can draw power from the source device instead of requiring a separate USB cable. NY 10036. TV Buying Guide: 11 Things You Need to Know, Tom's Guide Awards 2022: The best home appliances and smart home tech this year, Back to school sales 2022 best deals right now, Samsung's iPad rival just hit $279 and it comes with a stylus included, 3 reasons you should buy MacBook Pro 2022 over the new MacBook Air, The new Vizio M-Series Quantum X 4K TV is the perfect back-to-school purchase, Alienware just debuted first-ever gaming laptops with 480Hz displays, The best tech tutorials and in-depth reviews, Try a single issue or save on a subscription, Issues delivered straight to your door or device. Finally, just plug in your stuff. This is dead simple; any HDMI cable will work. The ARC standard was designed specifically to replace S/PDIF digital audio outputs (also called TOSLINK), and thus supports every audio format that would normally pass through S/PDIF: Dolby Digital, DTS and PCM audio. Unlike the original HDMI ARC, which works with all HDMI cables, eARC does require new cables that have the higher bandwidth of the 2.1 spec. Heres why you can trust us. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. The next version of HDMI ARC actually arrived in 2018 when HDMI 2.1 started to arrive on TVs. Anything that works with the HDMI 1.4 standard should support ARC, but check the documentation for your specific devices to be sure. eARC is a feature introduced along with 2.1 spec. Essentially, the HDMI ARC port lets you use HDMI as both an input and an audio output. published 16 February 22. Connect your soundbar to the TV using the designated ARC-capable port, and you can use it for every device that connects to the TV, including Blu-ray players, game consoles and other devices. Not all TVs currently use HDMI 2.1 for all HDMI ports, but a significant number offer partial 2.1 support for specific features, with eARC being the most widely offered. eARC would not require new cables. Instead, the ARC connection lets you output that sound to your soundbar without having to connect with a dedicated audio cable. HDMI ARC (and the newer eARC) makes it easy to set up a TV and soundbar with a single cable. What is HDMI ARC? This is especially irritating because downstream audio over HDMI can carry the signal with no problem; it's purely a limitation of the ARC spec. While the labelling may not tell you much, it's actually one of the best home-theater features to emerge in recent years one that can save you money, reduce your cable clutter and simplify your home-theater setup. By using the ARC connection for audio and the HDMI-CEC functionality (this should be enabled on your TV by default), you can reduce both the number of cables used and the number of remote controls needed for your home theater. It's not common, but depending on your make and model of TV, you might actually wind up with lower sound quality over ARC. When your TV is connected to a soundbar or speaker system, you can also use the ARC connection to deliver TV audio to your speakers. If the HDMI ports aren't clearly labeled, you can check the TV manual, which should indicate which HDMI port to use. First, determine which port(s) have ARC support. That two-way flow of sound offered by HDMI ARC means that you can easily do some things that used to require extra cables. Thank you for signing up to Tom's Guide. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag. Second, you may need to activate ARC output on the TV. Please refresh the page and try again. The only thing to keep in mind is that the ARC-enabled port needs to be connected to your external audio device. Even more irritating, some TVs actually downgrade the audio output over ARC, converting everything to two-channel sound even if it originated as 5.1 audio. This is especially important for smart TVs, for which streaming services deliver all content via Wi-Fi, with nothing to feed into a receiver. Brian Westover Tom's Guide is supported by its audience. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. In these instances, connecting an extra audio cable or two may be worth the trouble. But it also has the same limitations as the S/PDIF standard it replaces. Visit our corporate site (opens in new tab). But don't worry if you're not ready to upgrade yet both the cables and existing ARC-equipped soundbars are still supported by the updated connection. This is especially helpful for instances in which your TV is wall mounted and you either don't have access to all of the HDMI ports or simply want a cleaner look with fewer cables running to and from the TV. While the simplicity of ARC and audio-over-HDMI is great, it's not entirely perfect. HDMI 2.1 connectivity has plenty of benefits, like higher bandwidth for higher resolutions and framerates, as well as cool new features like automatic game modes. It may take a couple of extra steps to get everything activated and set up for ARC, depending on your TV's manufacturer and the specific model. You will receive a verification email shortly.
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