What Is HDMI ARC? eARC? Differences and How They Work

HDMI ARC Meaning, eARC vs ARC: Audio from TV to Soundbar

In the previous article, we discussed the nature of ARC, its differences from Audio Extractors, and the advantages each offers in different scenarios. In this article, we will explore the technology of HDMI ARC and the differences between ARC and eARC. We also include some useful tips for using ARC audio and an introduction to other common home audio interfaces.

Read the last article: How to Connect External Speakers to TV: HDMI® ARC vs. HDMI® Audio Extractor

What is HDMI ARC?

HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) was introduced with HDMI 1.4. This feature allows audio to be sent back from a TV to an audio receiver or soundbar through a single HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an additional audio cable. For instance, if you are using a TV app like Netflix, ARC allows the TV's audio to be output directly to the audio system via the HDMI cable, providing better sound quality.

What is HDMI eARC?

HDMI eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) is an advanced version of ARC, introduced with HDMI 2.1. eARC offers higher bandwidth and speed, supporting higher-quality audio formats, including Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio, and higher-resolution audio. Additionally, eARC supports automatic detection of audio sources and improved audio synchronization management. This means eARC not only provides better sound quality but also ensures more precise audio-video synchronization.

ARC vs. eARC: Supported Features

ARC and eARC differ in many features. You can find answers to questions like "Do all HDMI cables support ARC?" in the below table.

Feature ARC eARC
HDMI Version HDMI 1.4 HDMI 2.1
Audio Formats Supports basic compressed audio formats
(PCM, Dolby Digital, DTS 5.1)
Supports higher-resolution, uncompressed audio formats
(Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio)
Audio Bandwidth 1.441 Mbps 37.1 Mbps
Audio Delay (Lip Sync) May have a significant delay Significantly reduced delay,
improved audio-video synchronization
Device Compatibility Manual setup required, possible compatibility issues Automatic detection and configuration
CEC Supported Supports a wider range of devices and control functions
Cable Standard HDMI cable High-quality HDMI cable
(e.g., HDMI High Speed with Ethernet)

Tips for Using ARC/eARC

  • Do all TVs have HDMI ARC? Not all HDMI ports support ARC. Look for labels such as "ARC" or "eARC" on HDMI ports that can be used to connect external audio equipment.
  • To use ARC, you may need to enable the ARC function in the settings of both your TV and receiver.
  • The method to enable ARC may vary by device. Refer to the device manual or specifications.
  • If you encounter audio issues, try using a higher-quality HDMI cable or re-enable the ARC function.

Other Common Home Audio Interfaces

Besides ARC/eARC, there are more audio transmission technologies commonly used in home audio systems.


SPDIF (Sony/Philips Digital Interface Format) is a digital audio interface developed by Sony and Philips. It can transmit two channels of uncompressed PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound. SPDIF can use either optical fiber or coaxial cables as transmission media.

Like eARC, SPDIF can preserve the original audio quality. If your TV has an SPDIF output, it can be connected to an amplifier.


TOSLINK (Toshiba Link) is an optical transmission technology based on the SPDIF standard, developed by Toshiba. It can also transmit two channels of uncompressed PCM audio or compressed 5.1/7.1 surround sound.

Unlike SPDIF, TOSLINK uses optical fiber cables exclusively, providing better interference resistance and longer transmission distances.

Wireless Transmission

Wireless transmission is a better option when you only need to play audio through an amplifier without a TV display.

Many Bluetooth audio receivers are available in the AV market. You simply connect the receiver to the amplifier, which can then receive audio via Bluetooth and output it to the speakers. Besides, Apple's AirPlay technology is increasingly used in various smart TVs and amplifiers, offering superior uncompressed audio quality compared to Bluetooth.

Image from: Logitech Bluetooth Audio Receiver - USB Powered
2024-06-21 3:30 pm

Cable Used

Product Name


Power Source



1080p Distance

4K Distance

Optical Fiber Cable

HDMI Fiber Cable


(Reflection of Light)

Power From Source

Video/ Audio




HDMI Fiber Dongle Extender

Mini USB


300M/ 1KM

300M/ 1KM

Network Cable

HDMI CAT5e Dongle Extender


Power From Source

Video/ Audio




HDMI CAT5e Extender

External Power Supply

Video/ Audio




HDMI over IP Extender

Internet Protocol

External Power Supply

Video/ Audio




HDMI KVM over IP Extender*

Video/ Audio/ Keyboard/ Mouse



HDMI Cable

HDMI Repeater


External Power Supply

Video/ Audio




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