HDMI CEC: Everything You Need to Know


CEC stands for Consumer Electronics Control. It is a function of the HDMI standard that allows connected devices to talk with each other. The aim of this feature is to allow you to control multiple (up to 15) devices connected to a display with one remote, increasing convenience.

HDMI CEC can greatly simplify your home theater system. Although it can be tedious to set up, it makes switching between devices a breeze.

What Can HDMI CEC Do?

The features of HDMI CEC depend on the devices you’re using. But in most cases, HDMI CEC provides for most of the core features you would find on any remote control. Here are just a few:

  • One Touch Play

One touch play allows your connected devices to switch the TV’s input. For example, you have the YouTube app open on your TV, then turn on your PlayStation 5. Once your PS5 boots up and starts sending a video signal to your TV, the TV will switch from the YouTube app to your PS5’s HDMI input automatically. This saves you from having to grab your TV remote and go through the menus to switch to the right HDMI input.

  • System Standby

System standby lets your standby or power button to put all of your devices in standby mode, which means that when you press the Power button to put your TV to sleep, it also puts all connected devices to sleep. So when you’re done playing your PS5, you don’t have to put it into Rest mode separately.

  • System Audio Control

Setting up a home theater can be annoying since you have to calibrate the volume of all your playback devices to be roughly equal across devices. By imposing an audio control on your entire system, HDMI CEC solves this issue. You read it right—your entire system has a single volume control.

  • Deck Control: Play, Stop, Rewind, etc.

Deck control enables you to operate your playback devices, including Blu-ray players, camcorders, etc., using the standard playback commands (play, pause, rewind, etc.).

How Do I Turn HDMI-CEC On or Off?

CEC is disabled by default on some devices, while it’s turned on automatically for others. Therefore, it’s a good idea to make sure the settings are set up how you want them.

Setting up HDMI CEC varies from device to device. On your TV, CEC might be under an Advanced or Expert menu, inside System or General, or elsewhere. If you can’t find it, try Googling your TV model with “HDMI-CEC” to locate it.

For each device you want to connect with HDMI CEC, you will need to configure them individually. If you upgrade your system to one with HDMI 2.1a ports, they will have HDMI eARC automatically enabled, and if any of your components aren’t compatible with HDMI eARC, they will revert to standard HDMI ARC.

Pros and Cons of HDMI CEC

Pros: To start with, HDMI CEC allows for several global controls, allowing you to more seamlessly integrate your home theater system. In addition, HDMI CEC works with and HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) to cut down on the amount of wires required to connect multiple devices.

Your devices must have HDMI ARC or eARC ports to benefit from HDMI ARC. HDMI ARC is often enabled when your devices are set up for HDMI CEC, but check your device documentation to be sure.

Cons: The main disadvantage of HDMI CEC is that HDMI ARC cannot produce surround sound in its original high-definition quality. Uncompressed stereo audio or compressed 5.1 surround sound audio can be sent using HDMI ARC.

You will need to either disable HDMI CEC and ARC on your devices or update to devices that enable HDMI eARC if you want uncompressed 5.1 channel or greater audio. HDMI eARC can accommodate superior high-definition codecs produced by Dolby and DTS in addition to 5.1 and 7.1 uncompressed audio.


HDMI CEC can be a confusing feature when you’re not aware of it, but it has a lot of convenience benefits. Since many people have a lot of devices connected to their TVs, it’s handy to have them work together more smoothly. Try the function out and see if it’s a fit for how you use your devices.

If you’re in the market for an HDMI extender for returning audio signals far away, for example from the first floor to the basement, AV Access 4KEX70-eARC HDMI extender can be your best choice. It allows you to transmit 4K@60Hz (4:4:4) HDMI signal up to 70m/230ft over Cat5e/6a/7 cable. Compatible with eARC and ARC, you can also return high-bitrate audio signals such as Dolby Atmos or DTS:X from a smart TV back to an eARC-enabled AVR or soundbar.

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