HDMI Audio Return Channel

The Audio Return Channel makes the transmission of audio signals easier and better. Introduced with the HDMI 1.4, The Audio Return Channel allows an enabled TV to send or receive audio signals downstream or upstream via HDMI without the need for an extra cable. What does this really mean and how does this feature improve sound?
In the past, TVs were generally positioned downstream in relation to audio equipment and content sources. While this is still the predominant standard, it posed a little problem for TVs that had inbuilt DVD players and tuners and need to send data from the TV to the audio setup. To do this, you’d have to set up another connection like the S/PDIF cable. However, with the Audio Return Channel, it’s now possible to send audio signals upstream from the TV to the audio system set up—with a single HDMI cable.

How the Audio Return Channel Works
The Audio Return Channel offers flexibility and ease during the transmission and delivery of audio signals. ARC cables—which are featured on 1.4 and earlier versions—reduce the cables necessary for sending signals upstream from your TV to the A/V receiver with the audio channel which allows the processing of the signals before playback. This ensures the delivery of high quality sound in the following ways:

  • Depending on your personal preferences, you can set up your TV to receive or send audio signals downstream or upstream, through HDMI without having to buy another cable.
  • It also ensures that the audio is accurately matched with the video without any distortion. This feature, referred to as LipSync and introduced in the 1.3 version, automatically tracks and corrects errors and processor delays or lags during downstream or upstream transmission of audio signals. These are then adjusted with the video signals to ensure that they are in sync.

The Audio Return Channel provides support for DTS, PCM audio, Dolby Digital and other audio signal formats that are transmitted through the traditional S/PDIF connection.  Additionally, you don’t need a new cable in order to enjoy the Audio Return Channel Function since all the existing HDMI cables support this function.

Enjoying Audio Return Channel Functionality in the Home
In order to ensure that you can access the Audio Return Channel function in your home, you need to take note of the following points:

  • Ensure that your device supports Audio Return Channel. Not all devices are ARC-enabled and you can only enjoy ARC with devices that are designed to support this function.
  • Use the right cable. Actually, in this case you can use any of the existing HDMI cables since they all support ARC. Thus, if you have an earlier version, you don’t need to get a newer one just to enjoy ARC; your older cable will work just fine. However, if you need a new cable, you can choose from 4 available types: High Speed HDMI cable, High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet, Standard HDMI cable and Standard HDMI cable with Ethernet.
  • Ensure that your devices are connected via the ARC-enabled ports.
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