If you have tried plugging an HDMI cable in your new TV, soundbar, or AV receiver (AVR) recently, you may have come across a relatively new acronym called eARC. Here’s what it means and why it’s important.
What’s HDMI eARC?
eARC or Enhanced Audio Return Channel is an upgraded version of ARC (Audio Return Channel). It was introduced in 2017 as a part of the HDMI 2.1 specification. Similar to ARC, eARC lets your TV send audio generated by built-in streaming apps, cable, satellite, and other source devices (for example, a gaming console or a Blu-Ray player) to your soundbar or AVR using a single HDMI cable. However, eARC supports far greater bandwidth and speed than ARC, thus allowing the transfer of high-quality, uncompressed audio, which isn’t possible with ARC.
How does HDMI eARC Work?
To put it briefly, HDMI eARC allows a TV to send audio back through the HDMI cable to its source device. Then why would anyone want to do that?
Does your TV have good speakers? No? If so, eARC is the best solution. You will naturally want to hear great audio to enable a better immersive experience, whether you’re playing games with your pals or watching shows on Netflix, Disney+, or other streaming services. Additionally, clear audio creates a cozy atmosphere for movie night.
Before technologies like HDMI eARC were available, you had to run a second cable from your TV back to your receiver. Having more than one cable already looks messy, but you also have to take a few extra steps every time you switch between your speaker and TV as the sound source.
With less setup time, HDMI eARC gives you the same or even better quality.
What are the Benefits of Using HDMI eARC?
HDMI eARC offers much more than just crystal-clear audio. There are other significant benefits of using an HDMI eARC cord. So check these out:
You will be able to transmit uncompressed digital audio signals and images because of the high bandwidth of HDMI eARC. Higher definition videos and other content are produced thanks to this technology. HDMI eARC will be your perfect match if your TV supports 4K, 8K, or higher.
Automated lip-sync feature
Are you sick of manually adjusting your TV or AV’s delay settings to make the sound and picture sync? What works best is HDMI eARC. HDMI eARC has an automatic lip-sync feature, which means you don’t need to make any adjustments yourself. Simply connect everything, select the proper HDMI settings, and enjoy the show.
No HDMI CEC required
The requirement for HDMI CEC is among the biggest distinctions between HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC. Unlike ARC, eARC does not require HDMI-CEC to function. The device detection system for HDMI eARC is already built in. Once everything is connected and the HDMI settings are correct, you can kick back and watch whatever program you choose.
Is HDMI eARC Backwards Compatible with HDMI ARC?
This depends on what you mean by backwards compatible. HDMI eARC has ARC fallback, meaning that if you hook up one device with HDMI eARC with another device that doesn’t support it, the devices will fallback to broadcasting an HDMI ARC signal instead. That means you will still be able to get some audio, but you won’t experience the high bitrate audio that eARC intends to provide.
How to fix that? You can try to upgrade your soundbar or AV receiver to support HDMI eARC. But this will heavily depend on their manufacturer and the hardware used to make them.
The advantages of HDMI eARC far exceed the inconvenience of having to look for TVs, audiovisual devices, or soundbars that support it as it is a relatively new technology.
Moreover, HDMI cords aren’t regarded “ancient” or “outdated” for roughly ten years (or more). That’s a long time using devices that are incompatible with eARC.
Businesses have begun to make efforts to satisfy the needs of the HDMI eARC community. Before you know it, eARC-compatible devices will be available in all local and online electronics stores.
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