HDMI ARC vs Regular HDMI: Differences (What’s Better?)

Author: Anirban Saha

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HDMI ARC and HDMI both use the same HDMI cable, but the port is connected to is the HDMI ARC port for HDMI ARC.

You might even think about which one is applicable for which use case and may like to know more about this.

This blog will look at the two and explain the comparison of HDMI ARC vs Regular HDMI.

Let’s get started!

HDMI ARC vs Regular HDMI

Mode of TransmissionBuilt to transfer AudioMainly made for Video
Two Way cableYes, allows Upstream and Downstream of Audio from TV to ARC compatible Soundbar or other audio output devices.No, it transmits in a single direction.
Cable Used to ConfigureHDMI(starting from HDMI 1.4), only the port is HDMI ARCHDMI

What’s the difference between an HDMI and an HDMI ARC? 

There are some significant differences. HDMI cables are used to connect devices like set-top boxes, computers, Blu-Ray players, etc.

They’re both used to sending audio and video data over a single connection, but they’re not the same thing. 

The “ARC” in HDMI ARC stands for “Audio Return Channel”, and it’s a feature that allows you to connect your HDMI-connected TV to your A/V receiver with only one cable.

If your TV doesn’t have ARC, you can still connect it to your receiver using an HDMI cable, but you’ll need another cable to send the audio to the receiver.

What is HDMI ARC?

HDMI ARC is also known as Audio Return Channel. If you are not aware of this technology, you are probably wondering what it is.

The Audio Return Channel allows you to transmit audio to your TV from an external audio device.

This means that you can reduce the number of cables that are plugged into your TV. But it also means that you will have to buy another HDMI cable to connect your sound system to your TV.

Benefits of HDMI ARC

There are a lot of benefits to HDMI ARC. For example, you no longer need a separate audio cable to connect your TV and your sound system.

You don’t have to try to connect a separate component for your screen to work. 

It allows you to have a single cable going from your TV to your sound system, which can save you a lot of time and energy.

However, HDMI ARC also allows you to have a response time between your TV and your sound system. 

While this can make things a lot easier if you’re streaming from a device to your TV, it can also make things more difficult.

The main problem is that there is potentially a lot of latency in the sound, making using your devices in conjunction with your screen much harder.

There is another technology for connecting audio, which is Digital Optical Audio Cable.

You can also check the comparison of HDMI ARC vs Optical to know more about them.

What is HDMI?

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface.

This digital audio/video connection can transmit 1080p or 4K video/audio from a source device to a television or monitor, such as a Blu-ray player.

HDMI cables can carry a lot of data, enough to send a high-resolution video image to a high-definition TV, along with a full surround sound signal.

HDMI cables are also small enough to be used with in-wall installation.

Most HDMI connections are of high quality. However, there are differences between various devices.

This is why there are HDMI cables of different grades.

A high-quality HDMI cable is essential to the quality of the image, for example.

If you are looking to buy an HDMI cable or are trying to figure out which connection to use, there are some things you should know about HDMI cables.

Benefits of Regular HDMI

HDMI is a type of cable for connecting devices together. There are many benefits to using it. For instance, you’ll see a difference in image quality. Also, it’s much easier to set up an HDMI connection as opposed to a component cable connection. 

If you’re a gamer, you’ll enjoy the way an HDMI cable minimizes screen tearing. The technology is high-speed, and the video quality is better overall. You can also use an HDMI cable to connect your phone to a television for entertainment. 

There are many uses for these cables, including using them for work presentations. Overall, this technology is beneficial, and you should look into trying it out for yourself!

HDMI ARC vs Regular HDMI: Which is better?

HDMI is a good option, while HDMI ARC is the more modern option while HDMI is declining.

Both can send Video and audio to your television, but both have different features that set them apart. HDMI ARC is backward compatible with older HDMI connections while HDMI is not.

HDMI ARC allows for more modern features while HDMI is outdated. It’s important to know what you’re buying before making a choice.

Can I use the HDMI ARC as a Regular HDMI?

Yes, you can. I like to think of HDMI ARC as an advanced version of the regular HDMI cable.

You can connect an HDMI cable to the HDMI ARC port, and it will work like a Regular HDMI cable. To know more about if you can use the HDMI ARC as a Regular HDMI, you can check the article here.

Does HDMI ARC affect picture quality?

The connection that allows the sound to be passed through your TV to your receiver is called HDMI ARC or audio return channel. This allows you to stream Video to your receiver and has the sound come from your receiver’s speakers instead of the TV’s.

HDMI ARC does not affect in terms of picture quality and majorly deals with the audio.

Can HDMI ARC be used as an Input?

You can use HDMI ARC to go from one device to another, but that’s not what it’s designed to do. HDMI ARC was made for TVs to connect to other devices so it could be considered an output. Therefore, you can use it as an input, but it’s not its purpose. 

But you can use this if you’d like to connect your TV to other devices. Just remember that your TV will not be able to use the ARC to connect to other devices unless your TV also has an HDMI ARC port.

Can HDMI ARC be used for Video?

When it comes to HDMI ARC, it’s not used for transferring Video but relatively sound. The HDMI ARC allows the HDMI cable also to carry digital audio between connected devices. The idea of using HDMI ARC for Video is to use it for sending audio along the same cable your video signal is using.


Q. Can HDMI 2.1 do 4K 144Hz?

Ans: Yes, HDMI 2.1 can do 4k at 144 Hz without any compression.

Q. What HDMI port is best for 4K?

Ans: HDMI 2.0 is great for 4k and has a bandwidth of 14.4 Gbps, and enables 4k at 60 FPS.

Q. Does HDMI ARC have lag?

Ans: HDMI ARC audio output is excellent and does not have any lags.

Q. Does Dolby Atmos work through Arc?

Ans: Yes, the Dolby Atmos works through HDMI Arc.


Let’s conclude the post on HDMI ARC vs Regular HDMI.

Though both sound similar, both have different use cases. HDMI ARC and HDMI are entirely different technologies in terms of connecting ports.

HDMI ARC is a technology designed for audio return channels which also carries soundbar audio with Video, while HDMI is a video/audio technology. 

If you’re looking for an audio return channel on your television, you want to use HDMI ARC.

However, if you’re looking for video/audio technology, you want to use HDMI. We hope this article has been helpful, and we look forward to any questions you may have.

To know the internal structure and working of Coaxial Speaker Cables, you can check this post written by me.

I hope you enjoyed reading the post.

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