How to Decide if ARC vs eARC: A Comprehensive Guide

Deciding between ARC (Audio Return Channel) and eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) can be confusing. But worry not, this article will guide you through the process of choosing the right option for your home entertainment system. Simply put, eARC is the newer version of ARC, offering more bandwidth for higher-quality audio. However, not all devices are compatible with eARC, so you’ll have to check your equipment before making a decision.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Decide Between ARC vs eARC

Before we dive into the steps, let’s understand what ARC and eARC are meant to do. Both ARC and eARC allow you to use a single HDMI connection between your TV and sound system to send audio both ways. This means you can hear the sound from your TV’s apps through your sound system without the need for additional audio cables.

Step 1: Check your equipment’s compatibility

First things first, check if your TV and sound system support eARC.

Most newer models come with this feature, but if you have older equipment, you might only have ARC. This is important because eARC is not backward compatible with ARC. Therefore, both your TV and sound system must support eARC to use it.

Step 2: Determine your audio quality needs

Think about what audio quality you want from your home entertainment system.

eARC supports higher-quality audio formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS:X, which are common in Blu-ray discs and some streaming services. If you’re an audiophile or want the best sound for your home cinema, eARC might be worth considering.

Step 3: Consider your budget

Keep in mind that eARC-compatible equipment might be more expensive.

If you’re on a tight budget, sticking with ARC may be the more economical choice. However, if you’re willing to invest in superior audio quality, eARC could be a worthwhile upgrade.

Step 4: Make your decision based on your needs and equipment

After considering compatibility, audio needs, and budget, make your final decision.

If your equipment supports it and you want the best audio possible, go for eARC. If not, ARC will still offer a good audio experience, especially if you’re not using high-end audio formats.

Once you’ve made your decision and set everything up, you’ll be able to enjoy your favorite movies and shows with sound that’s just right for you.

Tips: Making the Most of ARC vs eARC

  • If you’re not sure about your equipment’s compatibility, check the user manuals or the manufacturers’ websites.
  • Remember that all HDMI cables are not created equal. To get the most out of eARC, you’ll need an HDMI cable that supports HDMI 2.1.
  • Even if you don’t need eARC now, consider future-proofing your system if you plan to upgrade your equipment later.
  • Keep in mind that the content you’re watching also needs to support the high-quality audio formats that eARC offers.
  • Don’t forget that the setting might need to be activated in your TV or sound system menu, so check the settings if it’s not working.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the main difference between ARC and eARC?

The main difference is that eARC offers significantly more bandwidth than ARC, allowing it to support higher-quality audio formats.

Can I use an ARC-equipped soundbar with an eARC TV?

Yes, but you’ll only get ARC-quality sound. To get the benefits of eARC, both the TV and sound system must support it.

Will I need a new HDMI cable for eARC?

If you want to make the most of eARC’s capabilities, you’ll need an HDMI cable that can handle the increased bandwidth, typically an HDMI 2.1 cable.

Can I upgrade my ARC equipment to eARC?

Unfortunately, no. eARC requires specific hardware that’s not present in ARC-only equipment.

Is eARC important for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu?

eARC can improve the audio quality from streaming services, but only if the service offers content in high-quality audio formats that eARC supports.


  1. Check equipment compatibility.
  2. Determine your audio quality needs.
  3. Consider your budget.
  4. Make a decision based on your needs and equipment.


Choosing between ARC and eARC ultimately comes down to your personal needs, your equipment’s capabilities, and your budget. If you’re after the crispest, most immersive audio experience and your gear supports it, eARC is the way to go. However, not everyone needs the absolute best audio available. ARC might be “just enough” for the average user, and it’s been doing a fine job for years.

Remember, no matter which option you choose, it’s about enhancing your viewing and listening experience. The world of home entertainment is always evolving, and keeping up-to-date with technologies like ARC and eARC is essential for any tech enthusiast. So take a look at your current setup, consider what you might upgrade in the future, and make the choice that’s right for you. Happy viewing!

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