What is HDMI ARC? [2021]

What is HDMI ARC? How do I use it?

What is HDMI ARC?  The majority of newer  TVs support the HDMI Arc feature called Audio Return Channel. HDMI ARC is developed to decrease the number of cables required in between your TV and an external Home Theater System or Soundbar. The audio signal can be used in both connections to and from the speakers, which will improve the sound quality and latency of the signal.  It will also decrease the number of cables needed.

What is the Meaning of HDMI ARC?

What is the Meaning of HDMI ARC?

The HMDI ARC is called “Audio Return Channel.” This is a protocol that uses two-way interaction between gadgets over a single HDMI connection.

Basically, the HDMI ARC port lets you utilize HDMI as both an input and an audio output. Ever since the HDMI 1.4 standard was released,  it has gained more popularity in many more devices.   HDMI is now readily available on your sound system, along with Televisions, soundbars, and receivers.

Given that ARC was introduced in 2009, it has become an extremely common requirement, and you’ll find it on virtually all Televisions, soundbars, and receivers offered over the last few years. Anything that works with the HDMI 1.4 requirement should support ARC, but examine the documentation for your particular gadgets to be sure.

In other words, you do not need a 2nd optical digital audio cable connected to an HDMI (ARC) compatible external speaker. An Optical cable will require more wiring to setup. To link your TELEVISION with an ARC-enabled external speaker, ensure that you are using an HDMI specification cable 1.4 or higher.

The HDMI-ARC functionality is only readily available through the specific port on the TELEVISION or One Link Box, and the external speakers require to be compatible. You may also need to adjust the settings of the external speakers to turn on HDMI ARC controls.

Does Your Smart TV Have an HDMI ARC Connection?

The simplest method to check if your Smart TV has an ARC connection is to look for an HDMI port with an “ARC” label, it’s generally separate from the other ports. Generally, the only ARC HDMI port on your TELEVISION that will be identified e.g. “HDMI 1 (ARC)”.

Does Your Smart TV Have an HDMI ARC Connection?

The majority of modern-day TVs (from 2009 and more recent) will have at least one ARC port. On some Televisions, every port will be ARC compatible but those are uncommon. If you’re uncertain if your TV supports ARC, inspect the online handbook for your model.

HDMI ARC: How to use ARC HDMI?


The two-way flow of sound used by HDMI ARC indicates that you can easily do some things that used to require additional cables

Initially, you can connect your audio system with a single HDMI cable. Connect your soundbar to the TELEVISION using the designated ARC-capable port. You can use it for every device that links to the TELEVISION, including a Blu ray player, a game console, and other devices. And it does that through the TV itself, instead of requiring a separate audio receiver.

Second, you can run these connections through the soundbar itself, letting you move the several HDMI connections from the TELEVISION to the soundbar without requiring any extra setup.

This is particularly handy for instances in which your TELEVISION is wall-mounted and you either do not have access to all of the HDMI terminals or just want a cleaner look with fewer cables going to and from the TELEVISION. It also suggests fewer cables to install.

When your TV is linked to a soundbar or sound system, you can also use the ARC connection to deliver TV audio to your speakers. Audio going to the TV from an antenna, for example, can likewise be output over HDMI and piped through the soundbar instead of just the TV’s built-in speakers. This is specifically crucial for clever Televisions, for which streaming services deliver all material via Wi-Fi, with nothing to feed into a receiver. Instead, the ARC connection lets you output that sound to your soundbar without needing to get in touch with a dedicated audio cable or optical cable.

You can likewise use this in conjunction with another HDMI standard, called Customer Electronics Control (HDMI CEC), which lets you manage external devices – like a Blu ray player or satellite boxes – using your TELEVISION remotely. By using the ARC connection for audio and the HDMI CEC functionality (this should be allowed on your TELEVISION by default), you can minimize both the number of cables utilized and the number of push-button controls needed for your home theater system.



Examine the HDMI connections on the back of your TELEVISION, soundbar, or receiver. If the HDMI port has ARC, it should be marked as such. Both your TELEVISION and the soundbar/receiver must have ARC for it to work.

Setup: HDMI ARC Soundbar

A lot of HDMI cables must work with ARC. Plug one end of the HDMI cable into the ARC-capable HDMI input in your TV and the other into the ARC-capable output on your sound bar or receiver.

There are essentially 2 main ways to link a system utilizing ARC. For our purposes, we’ll presume you have: a TELEVISION, a receiver or sound bar, a Blu-ray gamer and a video game console (Xbox/PS4).

Setup 1:

Connect the Blu ray Player, video game console, or sound system to the TELEVISION, then connect a single HDMI cable from the TV to the soundbar. The TELEVISION becomes the main center of your home entertainment system.

This setup lets you use your TV’s remote to switch in between the Blu-ray player and video game console sources, and in many cases, you can utilize your TV’s remote to manage the volume.

The potential downside of this setup is you may not have the ability to get 5.1 surround sound. This is more of a concern if you are utilizing a receiver instead of a soundbar. We’ll discuss this more in the next section.

Setup 2:

Connect the Blu-ray Player and game console to the Sound system/soundbar, then a single cable from the sound system/sound bar to the TELEVISION. Some budged soundbars might not have enough HDMI control for all your sources, in which case you’ll need to use Setup 1.

In this setup, your soundbar is the main center of the home entertainment system. You will switch in between your sources and change the volume utilizing your receiver/sound bar‘s remote. You’ll just use your TELEVISION’s remote to turn the TELEVISION on, and gain access to any apps built into the TELEVISION.

HDMI (ARC): Setting up for sound

It might take a number of additional actions to get whatever triggered and set up for HDMI (ARC), depending on your TELEVISION’s maker and the specific model.

Initially, identify which port( s) have ARC support. A lot of TV producers use ARC output over only one HDMI port instead of all 3 or 4 ports on the set. This is generally indicated by a label on the set itself. If the HDMI ports aren’t clearly identified, you can examine the TELEVISION handbook, which needs to suggest which HDMI terminals to utilize.

Second, you may require to activate ARC output on the TV. You will usually find this function in the Settings menu, under Audio. While lots of Televisions auto-detect gadgets with ARC ability, others require you to turn on the function manually.

Just plug in your things. This is dead simple; any HDMI input cable will work. The only thing to bear in mind is that the ARC-enabled port needs to be linked to your external audio device.

HDMI ARC: Possible disadvantages


HDMI ARC: Possible disadvantages

While the simplicity of ARC and audio-over-HDMI is fantastic, it’s not totally the best. The ARC standard was developed specifically to replace S/PDIF digital audio outputs (likewise called TOSLINK), and thus supports every audio format that would generally pass through S/PDIF: Dolby Digital, DTS, and PCM audio. It can handle both the TELEVISION’s routine two-channel audio and 5.1 surround sound with no problem.

It likewise has the same restrictions as the S/PDIF standard it changes. Specifically, it can’t send HD or high-bit-rate audio used by requirements like Dolby Atmos and DTS: X. This is especially annoying because it can not bring downstream audio over HDMI signal; it’s purely a restriction of the ARC HDMI specification.

Much more irritating, some Televisions in fact downgrade the quality of audio output over ARC,. It transforms everything to two-channel sound even if it is limited to 5.1 audio. It’s not typical, but depends upon the make, model, and design of the TV. You may really end up with lower sound quality over ARC. In these instances, connecting an additional audio cable or more may fix the trouble.

What is the Difference Between HDMI and HDMI ARC.

The major difference between HDMI and HDMI ARC is;

Hd Multimedia User Interface or HDMI is a cable that is created to send premium video and audio. Why does ARC or Audio Return Channel use just one HDMI connection to transmit audio formats from a TV to the AV receiver or soundbar?

This will lower the required number of cables that are generally needed to connect devices. ARC permits you to have just one connection between your TV and other gadgets you utilize to produce noise: a receiver or a soundbar. With HDMI ARC you can send out a video to your TV with an HDMI cable, while HDMI cable will send out audio from the TV pull back the exact same cable.

HDMI ARC benefits smart TV that can produce audio through an app like Amazon Prime Video, Pandora, Netflix, and others. Since the audio will travel through the TV speaker if you utilize it with DVD Player, Blu-ray Player, and other associated gadgets, this process will weaken the audio because of the TV speaker.

However, if you use a Smart TV, the audio will get to the soundbar with a huge enhancement in sound quality. With ARC, you have the capability to link whatever to the TV. The TV will send audio down a high speed HDMI cable into the soundbar. You don’t need any cable to carry out this operation (i.e. an optical audio cable). The Audio Return Channel will enable you to use one remote control to switch on everything on a system. You can change channels on your TV, at the same time control your soundbar.

What comes next: HDMI 2.1 with HDMI eARC

The next variation of HDMI ARC in fact showed up in 2018 when HDMI 2.1 started to arrive on Televisions. While HDMI 2.1 connection has plenty of benefits – higher bandwidth allows for greater resolutions and framerates, along with cool new features like automatic video game modes.

It’s still relatively rare, with just LG offering Televisions with full HDMI 2.1 assistance on every port. Other producers might offer one 2.1 Arc HDMI port out of the 3 or four discovered on the TV, or they may not define what HDMI standard they use, however selectively support some features.

HDMI 2.1 also provides a brand-new and enhanced version of ARC, called Enhanced Audio Return Channel, or eARC. The greatest improvement eARC uses is assistance for the full-resolution audio signal, suggesting that it will support Dolby Atmos and other uncompressed noise formats.

Unlike the initial HDMI ARC, which works with all HDMI cables, eARC does need brand-new cable televisions that satisfy the 2.1 specifications. Do not stress if you’re not prepared to update yet – both the cables and existing ARC-equipped soundbars are still supported by the upgraded connection.

Conclusion for HMDI ARC

On paper, ARC is a fantastic way to simplify your home theater system. The reality is … it is more complex. Check out any user manual about any product with ARC and there will be problems getting it to work. Depending upon the age of your device and the intricacy of your setup, getting ARC running and staying running can be aggravating.

Our recommendation for most people is to connect your sources to your receiver or sound bar, if they’re capable, and just utilize ARC to get audio from your TV’s internal apps. Not every system will work like this if your soundbar does not have sufficient HDMI inputs. Nevertheless, with unlimited setup possibilities, we can’t provide perfect ideal situations. Connecting straight to your audio device will, in theory, provide the very best opportunity for the highest quality audio.

Likewise, despite the fact that optical cable and traditional cables are vanishing, they offer a more conventional method to link audio that might offer some options, at the cost of some sound quality and in theory less simple usability.

Frequently Asked Question

What Can I Do if HDMI ARC is Not Working?

The HDMI ARC port will work without any issues. If it does not, then you will have to get in the TELEVISION’s settings and look for the choice to enable HDMI ARC audio. It might not have the standard name, try to find CEC or other labels.

The power on both devices needs to be on too. The steps vary depending upon your TV’s design, so ensure to examine your TELEVISION’s manual.

Do You Require a Particular HDMI Cable for HDMI ARC?

No, you do not require a separate HDMI cable. Any old cable will work. While the technology was presented in the HDMI version 1.4, many HDMI cables meet the standard. As a matter of fact, you might already be using ARC without even knowing it.

On the other hand, if you wish to stream especially high definition media with 5.1 surround sound or much better, it’s advised to get a high bandwidth HDMI cable. But those cable televisions are only necessary for innovative audio systems.

Is HDMI and HDMI ARC the Very Same?

HDMI and HDMI ARC are, for the most part, the exact same. The difference happens on the receiver side. The connected device has to be ARC suitable, otherwise, it will not work.

Ensure to examine the labels on both your TV and your audio device. A lot of soundbars have actually a port labelled HDMI ARC, comparable to the one on your TV.

When to Utilize HDMI ARC vs Routine HDMI

HDMI ARC is useful for setups that have external speakers for audio, such as soundbars or home theatres. However, if you don’t have any other speakers, and you primarily use your TV’s speakers, HDMI ARC is not truly needed.

How to connect an HDMI cable?

Follow the actions below to link your Smart TV to your speaker:

Step 1. Prepare an HDMI cable.

Step 2. Connect the cable to the TELEVISION’s HDMI (ARC).

Step 3. Connect to the HDMI OUTPUT (TV-ARC) port of the speaker that you wish to link.

Step 4. Turn the speakers on that are linked to the TV.

Step 5. The TV noise will be played through your external speakers.

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