HDMI Vs HDMI Arc: Exhaustive Comparison and Detailed Facts and FAQs

In this article, we are drawing a comparison of the regular HDMI vs HDMI Arc. HDMI Arc is the improved version of the generic HDMI cables that comes with additional features.

The key difference that separates HDMI and HDMI Arc is the transmission mode. HDMI cable only caters to video transmission while the HDMI Arc provides high quality audio transmission, similar to the working of an additional soundbar. Arc technology doesn’t require any new cable, it can be implemented upon any compatible HDMI.

What is HDMI? Explain

HDMI is abbreviated as “High Definition Media Interface”. It is one of the most preferred HD signal interfaces for transmitting both HD audio and video over just a single cable in commercial and home entertainment market.

We are able to connect a lot of devices such as TV, DVD, Bluray, Xbox, playstation and many more into our television through HDMI. In short, more and more AV devices can be connected through a simple effective HDMI cable. Even the corporate world is also moving towards HDMI for presentations, education, digital signage etc.

What is HDMI Arc? Explain

Often in new generation smart TVs, we can see a HDMI port written as “Arc”. This ARC is the abbreviation of Audio Return Channel. It is a newly launched protocol for HDMI devices. 

ARC accomplishes dual-way transmission of audio data via a single HDMI cable. The most important function of HDMI ARC is, it can send signals both upstream and downstream. Suppose, you want to watch the HD content of the OTT platforms on your smart TV. You can set up the TV and the soundbar with a single arc cable.

Draw a comparison between HDMI and HDMI Arc

Following are the major differences between regular HDMI and HDMI Arc-

ParameterHDMIHDMI Arc
Mode of TransmissionIt is suitable for videos.It is best suited for audio and video
ConnectivityIt cannot feed the audio back to the origin.It can work like a two-way audio transmitter cable.
Cable requirementRegular HDMI set-up requires more than one cable for overall connection.HDMI Arc cable is a single multipurpose cable that can pair with soundbar also.
CostThe cost of HDMI is average.HDMI Arc is very costly due to its improved features.

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Is HDMI and HDMI ARC the same?

HDMI is the cable whereas Arc is a port or adapter. Both of the technologies require a HDMI cable in the first place. The Arc port is differently designed.

Nowadays, most of the HDMI cables are Arc-enabled. “High speed” printed HDMI cables generally support Arc function. If the HDMI port is labelled as “Arc” then we can identify it. If we connect a non-arc HDMI cable in Arc port, it acts as generic HDMI. 

Are all HDMI ports HDMI ARC?

Recently, all the HDMI ports come with Arc compatibility. But, we must read the user guide thoroughly to know if a particular device is Arc-enabled or not.

The use of HDMI Arc minimizes the need of using an extra optical cable for transmitting audio downstream. All HDMI ports are not Arc supported. We should also keep in mind that we cannot use any external device to convert regular HDMI to HDMI Arc. 

Do I need HDMI ARC for soundbar?

HDMI Arc is a very useful tool for making a home theatre like audio system using only one cable. The TV and the soundbar both must contain Arc compatible HDMI jack.

Through the HDMI arc soundbar, we can adjust the volume with our TV remote itself. For this set-up, we connect one end of the HDMI Arc cable to the TV port and the other end to the port of the soundbar. Thus we can establish the connection. While HDMI Arc is not a compulsory feature for the soundbar, it improves the sound quality.

Does HDMI ARC sound better?

HDMI Arc is regarded as the best option for high quality audio. Though optical cables provide satisfactory sound, HDMI Arc can be an even better choice for quality and minimized cable connection.

Still now most of the TVs use optical cables for sound transmission. But, if we want to hear top notch sound, we can use HDMI Arc. Also, some technologies like Dolby Digital Plus, DTS HD, True HD etc. don’t support optical cable. Only Arc can cater to the purpose. HDMI Arc supports every possible virtual audio format and sounds better than all.

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Credits: Reliance Trends

Can The HDMI ARC Output On My TV Be Used As Normal HDMI?

We can definitely use HDMI Arc output on the TV as a generic HDMI. By connecting a simple HDMI cable into the Arc jack, we can make it function like the regular HDMI.

Sometimes any of the TV or the soundbar isn’t HDMI Arc enabled. In that case, we cannot get an Arc connection. In that case, if we connect normal HDMI cable in the Arc port, though it cannot provide high quality arc-like audio, it can yield regular sound. But we can not get an Arc facility with normal HDMI.