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Raiders of the Lost eARC

What would you do with more bandwidth?

How would your commute be affected if there were more lanes on the freeway? Not only would you get to work faster, but there would probably be fewer accidents and less road rage.

HDMI® can’t do anything about the freeway, but updates to the standard continually increase overall format bandwidth and add many features that take advantage of the increased capacity. This is great news for home theater enthusiasts!

Stylized text that reads "eARC"

One recent HDMI improvement is eARC (short for “enhanced Audio Return Channel”). You may already be familiar with ARC, which allows audio to be sent from your TV to your AV receiver through the same HDMI cable that carries the video signal in the other direction, from your AV receiver to the TV. The “enhanced” part of eARC increases bandwidth and adds several exciting new features, including:

Dolby® TrueHD or DTS-HD Master Audio™. An eARC-compatible TV can send full high-res multichannel audio without downmixing the signal to two channels as a means to conserve bandwidth. At last, you can enjoy an audio experience on par with the stunning display from your 4K TV!

Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X™. With eARC, 3D surround sound signal can be sent uncompressed to your receiver, so you can experience the same thrilling technologies you enjoy at the movie theater in the comfort of your own home. This means full 3D immersive sound from movies already offered by Netflix®, Amazon Prime® Video and many other streaming services — exactly as they were meant to be seen and heard.

Less wires. Because you don’t need extra wiring to get sound from TV-based apps to play through your receiver, you can use your smart TV as your main streaming video source and enjoy full surround sound through a single HDMI cable.

The fact that HD content is already available from streaming services means that some manufacturers already offer eARC-capable devices … and many more will soon. Here’s what you need to enjoy the benefits of eARC:

– An eARC-capable TV

– An eARC-capable AV receiver

– Ultra High Speed HDMI cables or HDMI High Speed Cables with Ethernet

If you’re wondering whether eARC is backwards compatible with ARC, the answer is maybe. The standard does not define eARC to be compatible with ARC, but manufacturers may build their products to be compatible with both. Check back here for updates about eARC compatibility with Yamaha AV receivers.

HDMI has widened the high-res audio freeway so that HD content is moving smoothly. Sit back and enjoy the ride!

(Note that not all HDMI features are supported by all manufacturers, so you should always check your device’s owner’s manual to make sure the feature you want is supported.)

Check out our blog article What’s So Good about Dolby Atmos® and DTS:X™?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Joy Frye has spent her entire career learning and sharing knowledge with others. As a writer in the high tech industry, she specialized in demystifying technology and showing customers how to use products to make their lives easier and better. Now, in the consumer audio industry, where products are more interesting than routers and switches, she enjoys taking readers on a journey of discovery - exploring Yamaha products and amplifying passion for music.

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