ARC stands for Audio Return Channel and is designed for connecting sound systems, such as a soundbar, to your TV without using a separate AUX cable or Optical cable. It also helps eliminate audio issues, such as lag between the audio you hear and that video you see. With that said, you may be wondering whether your Sony TV has HDMI ARC compatibility.
If your Sony TV has an HDMI ARC connection, the HDMI input on the back—or the side—of your TV will have (ARC) labeled somewhere near the input. If you connect a soundbar from the HDMI output to an HDMI input without ARC, there will be no sound.
Read on to learn how you can tell whether your Sony TV has HDMI ARC and how you can use this connection type.
Do Sony TVs Have HDMI ARC?
One of the number one problems facing external, alternative audio connections—home theater surround sound systems, soundbars, or external subwoofers, etc.—is audio delay or lag. It’s immediately noticeable, even if the audio is only a microsecond behind the video.
Most modern Sony TVs are going to come with ARC-supported HDMI input connections to overcome lag issues. It’s usually only one input amongst three or sometimes four HDMI connections found on the back or the side of your Sony TV.
ARC eliminates the need for an optical output on top of audio input. This also helps to eliminate audio lag because there are fewer cables through which converted signals have to be sent between the TV and the audio device.
Regardless of whether or not your Sony TV has ARC, the speakers you are using also have to be ARC compatible. Without both devices being ARC compatible, you can’t take advantage of it.
If your Sony TV has ARC labeled over the HDMI input—and the external speakers do as well—connect an HDMI cable from the HDMI port on the speakers to the HDMI port on your Sony TV.
- On the remote, press Home or Menu.
- Scroll to and select Settings.
- Select HDMI or CTR.HDMI.
- Select On and press Enter.
You’ll do this on both the sound system and the Sony TV to ensure both are using the correct protocol for HDMI ARC. It’s easy to forget that setting the Sony TV input to HDMI for sound while forgetting the external device needs to be adjusted as well.
Once you have them both set up, then you can go about the process of tweaking the individual audio settings—treble, bass, EQ, surround, Subwoofer, etc.—to your liking.
If you happen to have an ancient HDMI cable, it may not work well, or at all, with ARC. Most HDMI cables should, but you would be better off purchasing a high-end HDMI cable. Most of your surround sound systems released within the last five years should come with the appropriate HDMI cable for ARC.
Do Sony TVs Have eARC?
The next generation of Audio Return Channel HDMI is eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel). The HDMI 2.1 standard is part of the eARC ecosphere, and there are several Sony TVs—as well as other smart TV brands—that support it:
- Sony Z9J Series
- Sony X91J (85) Series
- Sony X80J, X81J, X82J Series
- Sony XBR and Z8H
- Sony X900H
- Sony XBR A8H
- Sony XBR 90CH
The differences between eARC and ARC are bandwidth and speed. Since you’re dealing with cables, bandwidth isn’t referring to wireless signals here, but the amount of data transfer between the TV and external speakers.
HDMI (ARC) HDMI (eARC) Compressed 5.1 Yes Yes Uncompressed 5.1 No Yes Uncompressed 7.1 No Yes Dolby Atmos/DTS: X No Yes Audio Bandwidth (Max) 1Mbs 37Mbs
There’s a pretty vast difference between the capabilities of ARC and those of eARC. However, if you have a Sony TV that supports eARC and a surround sound system that supports ARC, then ARC is supported. Just because the TV is eARC capable doesn’t mean it won’t support ARC; the two devices should still work together.
If you’re Sony TV supports eARC, you should consider an Ultra-High Speed HDMI Cable.
- Maxonar: Up to 48Gbps/supports 8K/10 feet
- Monster: Up to 48Gbps/up to 10k resolution with “fixed-rate link” technology
- Monster M Series: High-speed 48Gbps/7.1 Dolby DTS-HD surround sound
- Feizlink: High-speed 48Gbps up to 10k resolution
Of course, there’s a lot more to choose from, and it’s a good idea to pick one up if you’re looking to utilize eARC on a Sony TV with an eARC compatible, external surround sound system.
You can always be assured that an HDMI input on a Sony TV—like any TV—will be labeled with the ARC acronym if Audio Return Channel is supported. If you have eARC, that’s even better, so long as you have an external sound system that supports it.
It’s unlikely that any modern Sony TV’s aren’t going to support ARC at the very least. It’s a great technological improvement, especially since most TV speakers are just terrible. Now you have a simplified process for adding a superior sound system to your Sony TV experience.