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ARC stands for Audio Return Channel, and it’s a newer HDMI input that allows you to use it as both an input and output device. HDMI ARC is supported on most Samsung TVs, and if it is giving you a problem, there are a few troubleshooting features that Samsung owners may not be aware of.
If your Samsung HDMI ARC is not working, it’s most likely due to your Samsung TV’s settings. More uncommon issues include third-party hardware, such as a soundbar, the cable, and the HDMI ARC port itself.
HDMI ARC is relatively new, and, at the same time, it’s not. The input began showing up on smart TVs in 2009, so sure, its 13 years old,but its newness is largely reflected in consumer consciousness. It’s not one of those difficult or complex technologies, however, so the troubleshooting options are relatively small. Read on to learn more.
To take advantage of what is called the Samsung Anynet+ feature—on many Samsung devices, it’s known as HDMI-CEC—you have to have something plugged into the HDMI ARC port. It’s a feature that supports third-party devices, like soundbars, gaming consoles, and other external devices.
If your HDMI ARC doesn’t seem to be working, its probably because the Anynet+/HDMI CEC feature is turned off. For some odd reason, Samsung requires you to turn on the feature in the settings menu if you want to connect anything to the HDMI ARC port and use it.
- Press the Home button on your Samsung TV remote control.
- Select the Settings menu.
- Select General.
- Select External Device Manager.
- Select and then enable Anynet+ or HDMI CEC.
Once the feature is enabled, your Samsung TV will recognize and accept new devices plugged into the HDMI ARC port. It’s not a setting that most people, outside of long-time Samsung TV aficionados, are probably aware of.
If you’re simply hooking up a gaming console, such as a Playstation 5, the Samsung TV will recognize it and create a menu for that device that you will find in the Samsung’s home screen menu. Instead of flipping through various HDMI connections by pressing the “input” button, you now have a quicker access route.
Turning on the Samsung Anynet+ feature should be something you do whether you have anything connected to the HDMI ARC port or not. It stands to reason that eventually you will, so its easier to just keep the feature on since it doesn’t affect anything when the port is not being used.
However, there is an additional setting that you want to be aware of outside of Anynet+. Sometimes audio settings can get quite convoluted, and this is true regardless of who manufactured your TV.
Depending on what Samsung TV you have, you may need to go back into the settings menu and turn on some additional features, especially where output is concerned and, even more importantly, when you are using third-party audio devices.
Since there are a ton of Samsung smart TVs out there, going over every settings access menu would be something that you could fill a book with, but we’ll give you the overview from the more recent Samsung smart TVs:
- Go to the Home Screen.
- Select Settings.
- Select Sound Output.
- Select your Third-Party Device from the generated list.
Let’s say that you have a Samsung Soundbar set up and you’re running it to the HDMI ARC port with a premium HDMI cable (you should definitely ensure that your HDMI cables are premium cables).
When you get to the Sound Output section of the settings menu, your Samsung Soundbar should be a part of the generated list, depending on what you have hooked up to your HDMI ports.
In other words, you can’t fix the HDMI ARC port by turning the sound output settings on for that device unless you have that device currently connected to the HDMI ARC so that the Samsung TV knows what to look for.
We mentioned above that you should always purchase a premium HDMI cable. Low-cost HDMI cables simply aren’t manufactured to the standards and with the quality necessary to transfer data on these higher-end smart TVs.
If you haul some ancient HDMI cable out of a box to plug into your HDMI port or grab the cheapest HDMI cable from Amazon, you are bound to have problems. No one wants to spend $35 on an HDMI cable; however, it will save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
But, how do you know when it’s time to get a new HDMI cable? Here’s how you can use your device to diagnose its status:
- Press the Home button on your Samsung remote.
- Select Support.
- Select Device Care.
- Select Self Diagnosis > Signal Information.
- Select Signal History.
- Highlight and select HDMI Delay Level.
Now you can properly diagnose your HDMI cable and determine whether or not an upgrade is in the cards.
Samsung TVs are some of the best on the market, and HDMI ARC is a solid technology with few known problems. Troubleshooting is almost always going to revolve around adjusting your settings and/or upgrading your HDMI cable to meet the standards of the tech.