HDMI cables and eARC: What’s the difference?

HDMI, a cable, transmits both video and audio from one device to another. And
not that the video and audio are not converted or compressed to fit the resolutions
of the other device.
One wire for audio and video! How?
At first, HDMI carried videos but as time went on, it was developed into a more
flexible version like a codec where it had the capability of carrying both video and
audio signals. This was after incorporating ARC (Audio Return Channel) which
allows amplifiers to transmit back audio signals back to the sender device, and
hence producing sound.
Wait! So, what is arc in HDMI?
ARC is an Audio Return Channel. In simpler terms, it's something that is built in
the HDMI that sends audio signals to the volume section of the secondary device
in which you are trying to connect. It lets you have a single connection from the
device that is transmitting and the device that is receiving, in which in this case
your TV.
The Top Types of HDMI Connectors
1. Standard speed
2. Standard speed with Ethernet
3. High speed
4. High speed with Ethernet
Let’s take a look at each of them.
1. Standard speed
This is the type of HDMI cable capable of carrying resolutions up to 720p and
1080i making suitable for transmitting video files. It’s also capable of transmitting
high-quality sounds and has a speed of 742.5 Megabytes per second per channel in
transmitting data.

2. Standard speed with Ethernet
This is the type of HDMI cable that is similar to the standard speed in everything
except the Ethernet feature which was added.
3. High speed
The HDMI cable offers high resolutions due to their high transmission speed.
Usually, their resolution is capable of more than 1080i stretching to 4k. The speed
measures up to 1.65 Gigabyte per second per channel without equalization and 3.4
Gigabyte per second per channel with equalization.
4. High speed with Ethernet
This the type of HDMI cable that is similar to the High-speed HDMI cable with an
Ethernet added as an extra feature to it.
Its connectors include:
1. Type A
This is standard HDMI connector type which is common on HD Televisions. Its
features include
Features of Type-A connector
- Its dimensions are 13.90 X 4.45mm.
- It has 19 pins on its bus connector
- They are compatible with DVI-D older versions
- They can support a resolution up to 4k
2. Type B
This is a standard HDMI connector type that was created with high data speed but
has never been implemented. Its main feature was having a dual-link version that
was to increase the data speed but eventually, the single link HDMI surpassed its
expectations - the primary reason why it wasn't implemented.
3. Type C
It’s a standard HDMI connector considered to be the one among the smallest in
Features of Type C connector

- Its small, with dimensions of 10.42 X 2.42mm – exactly why it is referred to
as ‘mini’
- You have 19 pins on its bus connector
4. Type D
This is a standard HDMI connector which is the smallest among all the connectors.
Features of Type D connector
- Its dimensions are 5.83 X 2.20mm, referred to as micro.
- It has 19 pins on its bus connector
- Its configurations are completely different from A and C.
Differences between HDMI and ARC
HDMI can be defined as a high-definition multimedia interface whose primary
function is to deliver a high quality of audio and video upstream to your television
set or any other AV-device from the source. Now you can conveniently stream
high-quality audio and video from the source device, be it your gaming console or
your set-top box, and receive the high-definition output on the screen of your
choice or an amplifier or a soundbar.
While the HDMI functions as one of the most coveted interfaces for all your audio-
video requirements, the presence of ARC has been simplifying the procedure in the
recent versions. ARC or Audio Return Channel is a built-in modification residing
inside your HDMI cable that simplifies audio-reception in your device.
For example, if you are connecting your HDMI input to a gaming console and the
output to a television set, the built-in Audio Return Channel will boost the audio
reception in your television and will enhance your gaming experience. You can
avoid the fuss over connecting more cables and wires to your gaming console and
your television set in order to derive better audio output. The ARC simplifies all
your needs.
How does eARC differ?
eARC is nothing but a superior form of ARC. The Enhanced Audio Return
Channel is an evolved form of the original ARC and delivers a huge boost to the
bandwidth and speed of your output. You cannot use these features if your HDMI
cable is of an older version.

The eARC variant is supported by HDMI 2.1 only. The eARC supports heightened
resolution sound formats like Dolby Atmos. HDMI 2.1 is equipped with eARC and
supports both upstream and downstream functions. You can use it for streaming
apps, or even game consoles like the Xbox and PS4. Just connect to your eARC
enabled TV and you are good to go.
Go for eARC when you can!
With ARC, the older HDMI enabled TVs would compress high audio outputs like
4K Surround Sound while passing it to your sound bar or amplifier or other output
devices. You would need to plug in your source device to a compatible audio/video
receiver, soundbar or powered speakers if your requirement is high-bitrate audio
like Dolby Atmos.
With eARC, you don’t need another device. You can plug it directly to your eARC
enabled TV through the HDMI 2.1 cable and get uncompressed, uncompromising
quality of audio from your output devices like amplifiers or soundbars which
possess the eARC port.


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