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ARC vs eARC: A Brief Overview

Trevon Martin • March 28, 2023

If you're setting up a home theater system or soundbar, you may have come across the terms ARC and eARC. These technologies are used to transmit audio signals from your TV to your audio device, but what's the difference between the two?

What is ARC? ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and was introduced as part of the HDMI 1.4 standard. ARC allows you to transmit up to 5.1 channels of uncompressed audio and some compressed audio formats like Dolby Digital and DTS. However, ARC has limited bandwidth, so it may not be able to transmit all of the audio formats that modern home theater systems support.

What is eARC? eARC, on the other hand, is part of the HDMI 2.1 standard and is a significant upgrade over ARC. eARC has a much higher bandwidth than ARC, which means it can transmit high-quality audio formats like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and uncompressed 7.1 and 5.1 audio. In addition, eARC supports two-way communication between your TV and audio device, which allows for features like audio lip-syncs correction and volume control through the TV remote.

So, why is eARC such a big deal? For one, it allows you to take advantage of higher-quality audio formats like Dolby Atmos, which provides a more immersive audio experience with sound coming from all directions. eARC also makes it easier to control your audio settings through your TV remote, which can simplify your home theater setup.

However, it's important to note that both your TV and audio device must support eARC to take advantage of its benefits. If you have an older TV or audio device that only supports ARC, you may be unable to take advantage of the higher-quality audio formats that eARC provides.

Overall, while ARC is a valuable technology for transmitting basic audio signals from your TV to your audio device, eARC is a significant upgrade that provides higher-quality audio transmission and additional features. If you're setting up a home theater system or soundbar and want the best possible audio experience, it's worth considering a TV and audio device that support eARC.

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