What is HDMI ARC (Audio Return Cable)? How To Use It?

What is HDMI ARC (Audio Return Cable)? How To Use It?
What is HDMI ARC (Audio Return Cable)? How To Use It?

One of the utmost features of HDMI is ARC (Audio Return Channel). This feature offers you to make simplifier your system companionable with different television devices and soundbars.

Moreover, this cable also lets you save money to buy other cables due to its additional features. Plus, it decreases your cable untidiness and simplifies your home theater arrangements.

So, let’s dive bottomless into the post to know more about this cable.

What is HDMI ARC Mean?

  • Abbreviation of HDMI: High-Definition Multimedia Interface
  • Abbreviation of ARC: Audio Return Cable

The HDMI is an exclusive technique of typically conveying compressed or uncompressed audio data from a source device, for instance, a computer monitor, television, or projector.

However, the Audio Return Cable enables a device to guide audio data to a sound bar or amplifier via the same cable that delivers the HDMI signals to that device.

HDMI was introduced by an association of computer electronics manufacturers in 2022 and has advanced over the years with newer versions. The HDMIARC procedure was added in 2009 as part of HDMI version 1.4.

Moreover, the latest version (HDMI 2.1) supports innovative technologies like 3D, 4K, 8K, and HDR.

Features of HDMI-Audio Return Cable

It is introduced to decrease the number of cables between the television, computer monitor, or other screening device and the sound bar system (amplifier). Below we have collected some incredible features of HDMI-Audio Return Cable.

Virtuous Sound Quality

These cables are a good option for conveying the Dolby, True HD, and DTS HD sound formats. Due to this cable’s larger data capacity, the newer sound format like Dolby Atmos or DTS:X can conduct these setups.

Accordingly, you can lead that signal to your sound bar system if you are using your TV to play a Dolby Atmos designation from Disney+, YouTube, or other streaming services.

NOTE: Some television devices play Dolby Atmos using built-in speakers but cannot transmit that same quality format through HDMI ARC. Therefore, keep an eye on product stipulations to identify what it can or can’t do.

Easy Swapping

Suppose you are using a cable connection from a television to a soundbar and want to listen to your tv sound. At this point, what will you do?

In this circumstance, you have to switch the optical input yourself, hover over the HDMI inputs on the sound bar, and hover to watch the content to the external source.

Also, you have to enable and disable your television device speaker whenever you want to switch. Meanwhile, the HDMI (audio return cable) can trench your soundbar remotes while watching content from your television device.

Compatible with Smart TV & Sound Bar

As mentioned above, you can connect the audio system with a single HDMI cable. And can connect the sound bar to the television device with the ARC port.

This table describes compatible devices (sound bar screening devices) that allow HDMI ARC formats.

Compatible screening &sound bar devices for HDMI Arc
ARC Sound BarScreening Devices
Devialet DioneSamsung QLED TV
Yamaha Yas-209TCL 5-Series Google TV
Creative Stage V2Sony Bravia XR A80J

Additional Features

  • HDMIARC cables are exclusively supportive when your television device is attached to the wall.
  • Also, helpful when you do not have access to all the HDMI ports.
  • When you just want a cleaner look with a smaller number of cables in succession and from TV.

How to Identify HDMI ARC Cable in Smart TV

Determine if your screening device support HDMIARC is not too tough. Below we have shared three ways to see if you have this port.

  1. To check the port on the go way is to see the back or side of your television device. However, if you have a wall-mounted TV, it can be complicated. But you can use the flashlight of your phone to capable to see the ports better. When you find the ports look for the word HDMI/ARC to determine.
  2. Another technique to determine whether your smart TV is capable of HDMIARC or not is to check the manual television settings. If you want to use this method above, we have shared how you can check it yourself.
  3. The last option is to identify if your television has HDMI/ARC. Contact the television constructor or navigate to their official website for confirmation.


How to Use HDMI ARC

HDMI/ARC cable can receive and send audio. Also, capable of linking your game consoles and Blu-ray players to television which will then link to the audio outputs to HDMIARC connected sound bar.

So, if you want to use these cables on your Smart television device, track the below steps.

  • Step 1

Initially, you have to determine whether your cable is compatible with high-speed HDMI. Nowadays, all HDMI cables are connected to Smart TVs. But the ARC soundbar feature will not work appropriately if you have an old cable.

  • Step 2

Put one end of the cable into your smart TV. Then put the other end of the cable into the device you want. Now switch on both devices.

  • Step 3

TV will robotically link with the ARC connection. But suppose your TV device has problems identifying connections. In this situation, you have to set it yourself. To do that, navigate to the setting option on your TV.

Here, hover over the HDMI control or Expert settings option. Now turn on the HDMIARC option. Your TV will display the output to the ARC-connected sound system when it connects.

NOTE: The settings may vary from the brand you are using; subsequently, you have to check it manually.

Advantages & Disadvantages of HDMI ARC Cable

Capable for Dolby, DTS HD, etc.Send the audio in limitations.  
Another audio cable is not needed to transfer the audio.Can’t support and transmit high bit-rate audio
Available in many devices like laptops, computer monitors, tablets, and projectors.Sometimes reduce the sound quality that depends on the TV models.  
Offers authentication of data transmitted by cables.Connecting extra audio cables may decrease the sound quality.

HDMI 2.1 Upgrade With eARC

The new version of HDMI-Audio Return Cable was reached in 2018 when HDMI 2.1 started to appear on TVs. HDMI 2.1 connectivity has a lot of benefits, such as higher bandwidth for higher resolutions and framerates, as well as the latest new features like automatic game modes.

Moreover, HDMI 2.1 also offers a new version of ARC, called the Enhanced Audio Return Channel, or eARC. It supports full-resolution audio signals, Dolby Atmos, and other uncompressed sound formats.

HDMI 2.1 Upgrade With eARC

However, only some TVs used HDMI 2.1 for all HDMI ports, and only a few offered partial 2.1 support for specific features. You can find eARC in models from LG, Samsung, Sony, TCL, Vizio, and Hisense.

In contrast with the original HDMI-Audio Return Cable, eARC will not need new cables with higher bandwidth than the 2.1 specs. 

Hence, if you aren’t ready to upgrade yet,  go with the cables and existing ARC-equipped soundbars that are still supported by the updated connection.

Summing Up

HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) ARC (Audio Return Cable) is a great option that helps a complicated AV setup and decreases the number of cables.

In this post, we have collected authentic information about this cable. So let us know if you have any queries or confusion related to this topic.