HDMI eARC-Enabled Soundbars Unlock The Greatest TV Enjoyment

A television with soundbar sitting on a white entertainment center with a white background and a large potted plant to the left.
(Image credit: Jens Kreuter)

With a seemingly endless array of improvements to televisions, it’s easy to overlook an equally powerful trend in audio when it comes to enhancing the home entertainment experience.

Sure, 8K and 4K UHD, High Dynamic Range (HDR), High Frame Rate (HFR) and Wide Color Gamut (WCG) have captured the headlines and the hearts of TV, movie viewers and gamers alike. But increasingly, consumers are finding it is the audio that pulls them into what they’re watching, creating an immersive experience that makes them feel a part of the story.

Fueling this recognition is growing consumer uptake of soundbars equipped with HDMI® Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC). With HDMI eARC, these soundbars immerse viewers and gamers who own eARC-enabled TVs in a field of sound, bringing an audio experience punctuated by clear dialog and a field of sound that envelops people in a way reminiscent of movie theater sound. 

eARC Comparison

(Image credit: HDMI Licensing Administrator)

Key to the level of audio performance is eARC’s support for high bitrate, object-based audio formats up to 192kHz at 24-bit. For viewers, this level of audio performance means detailed reproduction of sound that enhances the sports they watch, the movies and TV shows they view and the games they play. 

While some consumers are buying advanced audio-video receivers capable of enhanced sound, many now rely on HDMI eARC-enabled soundbars to open the door to immersive audio. 

Soundbars with HDMI eARC bring advanced audio technologies, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, into the home. Both immersive formats place viewers in the audio field, giving people the sense that sound is coming at them from all directions—a remarkable feat given that a soundbar is typically in the front of the room under the TV set. For consumers wanting a three-dimensional audio experience without multiple speakers scattered about, there simply is no better solution.

The secret to creating this spatial audio effect is in how HDMI eARC-enabled soundbars with Dolby Atmos or DTS:X bounce audio off the ceiling and walls to create an audio field that immerses viewers in the sound—all without disrupting decor and the traffic patterns people use to walk around their rooms.

HDMI eARC, part of the HDMI 2.1a specification, supports 48Gbps data transfer, a data rate that’s more than capable of handling transmission of uncompressed audio formats to deliver high-quality audio signals from a TV to a soundbar, thereby bringing crisp, intelligible dialog and immersive sound to viewers. 

Designed specifically to support the bandwidth needed to transport uncompressed audio formats, Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cables can be counted on to move this volume of data reliably and to ensure compatibility with HDMI eARC-enabled soundbars. 

To be sure, advanced video display technologies and formats are leaving their mark on television viewing. But it is the equally advanced audio performance made possible by HDMI eARC-enabled soundbars and immersive audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X that ensure TV and movie watchers as well as gamers experience entertainment in a way that delights the ears just as much as 4K and 8K delight the eyes. Together, these advanced audio and video technologies are elevating the level of enjoyment viewers are experiencing to unprecedented heights.

More information is available on the HDMI LA website.

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