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Earc feature on receivers

Discussion in 'AV Receivers' started by Jim517, Dec 18, 2019.

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  1. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    I'm looking to buy a 4k receiver, and I was wondering if I should buy one with Earc ? From what I've read it seems like an important feature to have for the future. Do you guys agree ?
     
  2. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Personally, I think it's one one of the least important features there is. ARC (including eARC) is really only for using internal apps in the TV, and you're much better off using a dedicated streaming device instead. Those can cost as little as $40 or as much as $180 for the ultra premium Apple TV 4K (which is worth every cent) and since they connect to the receiver, ARC doesn't come into play. ARC is mostly used in systems that aren't set up correctly. I know a lot of marketing goes into selling people on "Smart" TVs, but if you want to stream content, get a dedicated streaming device (Fire TV, Roku, Apple TV) instead and then there's no need for ARC to begin with.
     
  3. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    Thanks. What do you mean by ARC IS MOSTLY USED IN SYSTEMS THAT AREN'T SET UP CORRECTLY ?
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Most people who are concerned about ARC are connecting their sources to the TV instead of the receiver. In my experience, anyway.
     
  5. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    What if I stream through my Blu-ray player ? Would I need the ARC feature ?
     
  6. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer

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    Not if you are connecting the BD player to the receiver and then passing just the video on to your TV, which is how you should be connecting things.

    ARC stands for Audio Return Channel, which is used when you connect your source components directly to a display, and then use ARC to send the audio from that display across the connection from the display to the receiver. If you instead use the receiver as your hub for all source components, and simply connect the receiver to the display via the AVR's monitor out port, ARC would only come into play for the audio from sources originating on the display. That means just the antenna input and any streaming apps installed on the TV. As John recommended though, if you ignore the smart apps on the display and use a dedicated streaming device, ARC doesn't come into play for streaming at all.

    I tried to configure ARC on my setup when I originally bought my current Denon X3300 receiver, just to try out some of my Vizio 4K display's built in apps, and gave up quickly. I had issues getting audio from some of the apps. I ended up connecting a separate optical audio cable from the display to the receiver. I only used the apps when my Roku Ultra would flake out, but probably haven't used those apps at all now for a couple of years. One of these days I need to just remove that optical cable.
     
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  7. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    Thanks. If my receiver has Earc but my TV just has ARC, will they work properly together ?

    We will also use the TV's tuner with our antenna. How does that change how things should be hooked up ?
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    Adding to Josh's comments, and to answer your questions, yes you will get the lower of the features, which means you will get ARC using an ARC TV and eARC receiver.

    However, like Josh said, I wouldn't even bother with ARC. You need to get audio from your TV tuner to your receiver, and I would (as Josh suggested) attach an optical audio cable from the optical output on your TV to an optical input on your receiver, and use that to pass audio from your TV to the receiver, instead of hassling with ARC, which can be twitchy. They are two different ways to accomplish the same goal. I also use antennas and the TV's tuner, and it's just simpler to use an optical cable than ARC.

    If you pretend like ARC doesn't even exist, your life will be much simpler.
     
  9. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    Thanks again. If I use optical for audio, I won't be able to hear HD audio, correct ? Whether I'm streaming Netflix HD or playing a Blu-ray disc ?
     
  10. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    OK, let's clear some things up. When you play a Blu-Ray disc, the player is connected directly to the receiver with hdmi. Audio goes directly from the player to the receiver and audio is done. ARC is NOT used. The optical cable is NOT used. There is no such thing as streaming HD audio. At least not currently. The HD with NetFlix, Prime and so on, is video only, not audio, which is Dolby Digital quality, not HD like you get on Blu-Ray discs. Once again, not a factor, and if you use a streaming device, just as with a Blu-Ray player, the audio goes directly to the receiver and is done. Audio is not passed back to the receiver from the TV. When you play broadcast TV, then the Dolby Digital audio is passed back to the receiver through the optical audio cable.

    Once again, to clarify, ARC (Audio Return Channel) is not ever used for sources connected directly to your receiver with hdmi.

    This is exactly why ARC is so infuriating. Manufacturers pound it into people's head, when it just creates enormous amounts of confusion.
     
  11. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    Thanks. I got it now !
     
  12. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    I suggest you try it for yourself. Most receivers have ARC ports. Try it before just hooking up an optical cable. If it doesn't work or seems like a hassle getting it to work then use an optical cable. The caveat is that it should only be used for delivering audio from the TV's apps to a receiver. If you do not want to use streaming apps on the TV then a dedicated box like a Roku or A4KTV should be used.

    All other sources should go directly to the receiver and then pass the video through to the TV.
     
  13. Jim517

    Jim517 Second Unit

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    Thanks
     
  14. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    If that is the case, then it is odd that my receiver shows ATMOS when Netflix advertises a flick with an ATMOS track and DD+ for materials without any ATMOS designation.

    Disney+ shows as only DD.

    The above is all over the ARC connection.
     
  15. JohnRice

    JohnRice Executive Producer

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    It's DD quality Atmos, which is not the same as HD audio. The Atmos on Blu-Ray discs is HD quality, which is better than DD. Two different things.
     

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