It is a commonly asked question, but the answer is it depends on your situation. Some users will have an easier time setting up one or the other, while some people won’t care either way. As many of you may know, HDMI ARC means “Audio Return Channel”. An optical audio uses sound waves that travel through glass fibers of cable to connect devices.
What are the main differences between HDMI ARC or optical?
First of all, it is sound quality. HDMI ARC usually produces better sound quality than optical connection. Besides, HDMI ARC has the advantage of working automatically on some devices, whereas you have to set it up manually on others.
One more difference between these two connection types is that the optical transmission requires a one more separate cable. Here we speak about the cable apart from the one used to connect your TV and soundbar – whereas, with an HDMI ARC, you only need one cable. HDMI-ARC is equipped with both an input and an output. It means you have a chance to connect the TV to some external devices such as a Blu-ray Disc player, game console, or soundbar directly via HDMI cable.
An optical connection is an older audio connection in which sound waves are transmitted through light pulses. Optical cannot transmit any data aside from the actual audio signal.
Of course, there was a time when optical connections were the best way to connect audio components, but that’s no longer the case. These days, HDMI ARC is a more common way to connect your devices.
HDMI ARC: What is it?
You can think of HDMI ARC as a two-way street for audio. With ARC, an input will send sound to your speakers or receiver from devices like a TV or Blu-ray player. Your speakers will also send audio back to the TV through cable. It improves over other technologies that only support one-way communication, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
What are the advantages of HDMI-ARC?
HDMI-ARC gives better sound quality than Optical or Coaxial because these cables transfer analog signals, while HDMI-ARC transfers digital information. Since you only need one cable to connect your TV and sound system, HDMI-ARC is convenient for installation.
With HDMI-ARC, your TV can have an optical digital sound output without the need for extra cables. It means that you don’t have to purchase a separate audio cable to obtain better quality sound from your TV. As well as this, HDMI-ARC also enables you to listen to your satellite or cable box’s audio through your TV’s speakers. It eliminates the need for an external music system, so your living room is free of wires and clutter.
How to set up HDMI ARC technology?
HDMI-ARC has become increasingly popular in recent years for its convenience when connecting devices. However, pay attention that ARC isn’t suitable for all situations. For example, some models of TV don’t support ARC at all.
However, HDMI ARC technology is nowadays built into many TVs and home theater receivers. In any case, it’s essential to set it up in the right way.
The first step is to enable the feature in your TV menus. This option is usually listed as “Audio Return Channel” or “Enable HDMI ARC” in the settings menu. Your TV should show an on-screen message that has successfully enabled ARC once you change this setting. If not, then try switching to a different HDMI input.
The next step is to ensure that ARC is enabled in your receiver or soundbar. In most cases, you can do it in a menu labeled as “Audio,” “HDMI Settings,” or “Audio Return.” Older home theater receivers might not have the feature, but most modern receivers will list it clearly in their menus.
So, after these steps, you can use HDMI ARC.