eARC stands for Enhanced Audio Return Channel. It’s an improved version of ARC (regular Audio Return Channel).
What does an Audio Return Channel do?
Before the advent of ARC, you had to use an analogue or optical cable to carry the digital audio stream between your amplifier/ Sound Bar and your television. Before ARC, you needed a bit of cable management.
The Audio Return Channel allows digital audio data to be transferred solely via the HDMI cable. In that sense, the HDMI cable sends both visual and audio information back and forth between your TV and a Sound Bar or amplifier/ AV receiver.
What’s so enhanced about eARC?
The difference between ARC and eARC is its bandwidth. The enhanced version of the Audio Return Channel has a much higher bandwidth than its predecessor. Bandwidth represents the range of frequencies or amount of data that transfers at the same time. You can picture it as a water pipe that can only send through a limited amount of water depending on its size. Higher bandwidth translates into a higher amount of data that can be transferred (a larger pipe), meaning that the digital audio signal doesn’t have to be compressed and is much more detailed, rich and vibrant.
That means that with an eARC channel, you can enjoy the depth of movie theatre quality surround sound via formats such as DOLBY ATMOS and DTS:X. Due to the limitations of regular ARC, only eARC can currently process these formats.