There are many options to connect your entertainment system. One way that drives me crazy is that many people are still using are RCA Cables or Toslink Optic cables. So why does it drive me crazy? While this works and gets the audio from the TV to the receiver. The problem starts when you need to change the input or adjust the volume level and input. To solve this people usually use multiple remotes or using a universal remote. But doing this means keeping track of many remotes, dealing with sync issues. Besides that, good luck trying to explain how to use it to anyone. The audio system would be unutilized since it would be too inconvenient for most people.
Say Hello To HDMI ARC And HDMI-CEC
The first one we talk about is HDMI Audio Return Channel(ARC), which allows audio to return through the HDMI cable back from a receiving source. An example of this would be the output of a receiver going to the TV, but the TV can send audio back to the receiver through the same connection. Both device’s HDMI ports will be label with ARC. The great thing about this is it gets rid of an unnecessary cable between the receiver and the tv. but it has other befits, it’s higher audio quality Too! An Optic cable can only support 96kHz and can’t use lossless audio formats, where HDMI can support lossless audio formats and has 196kHz support! The cool thing is Unless your TV is older than 2009 chances are your TV Has ARC!
Make Controlling Easy
The other reason to ditch the Audio cables for an HDMI is for CEC “Customer Electronic Control”. This HDMI feature is my selling point for using HDMI cables. With this, the TV can control the power, volume, playback of a player, and more. Example with a receiver. it will turn the speakers off automatically on the TV, and turn on the receiver, Then all volume adjustments on the TV will adjust the volume on the receiver instead. No need to switch input or setup the TV output to the receiver, it’s all automatic. Which is great if you’re setting it up for a family member as they don’t even need to think about it, it just works.
Upgrading Your Cables
I’m sure you see the value of using HDMI Cable using ARC over a normal Audio cable. But before you go out to buy a cable, Try not to buy overpriced cables from physical stores. A 6ft cable shouldn’t cost more than $10. Online is the best place to get them if you can wait. I recommend Cable Maters Brand but most cables online will do great. The only exception expensive ones is for long cables, in that case, get a good cable. Also, you’re more than likely already have an HDMI cable that works fine. You don’t need a cable that’s rated for ARC or CEC for it to work.