Science and Tech

Not all the HDMI on your Smart TV are the same, one of them is different and you are surely using it wrong

Philips OLED 807, analysis and opinion

It is important to know each of the HDMI ports on your television, their characteristics and the functions they offer. Although physically they all look the same, they are not, and it is possible that you are wasting them.

The introduction of HDMI revolutionized the entertainment industry by providing a high-quality digital connection for transmitting audio and video. With a single connection, this port offers an unmatched experience in terms of clarity, resolution and surround sound.

For more than 20 years, the digital connector has been the reference for the connection of televisions, projectors and other audiovisual equipment. Throughout that period, it has established itself as the preferred option, offering a complete and versatile solution in terms of connectivity to Smart TVs.

However, this standard has evolved significantly over the years to keep up with the latest technologies. It is for this reason that there are versions that fulfill different functions in terms of configuration and resolution.

The most recent version is HDMI 2.1, which offers a series of improvements and advanced features, such as increased signal bandwidth, which allows transmission of higher resolutions such as 4K and 8K, as well as refresh rates of up to 120 Hz. .

But other alternatives have also been launched, such as HDMI ARC, as well as HDMI eARC, new solutions that were created to support higher resolutions and meet the latest technological requirements.

Not all HDMI is the same

Today’s smart TVs come with multiple HDMI ports, which in some cases can be confusing for consumers as they look the same, but the reality is that each of them fulfill different functions.

If you take a look at the back of your Smart TV you will find a variety of ports, but depending on the model, which are usually the high-end ones, there will be up to three or more HDMI ports, which although they all look the same, they are notso you are probably using them wrong.

It is for this reason that we are going to explain the differences between HDMI, HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC, they seem the same; however, they are not, their uses are specifically exclusive for certain multimedia content.

HDMI 2.1

HDMI 2.1: features, compatibility and everything you need to know about the essential video connection for your new TV

HDMI 2.1 is the latest version of the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) standard that was released in 2017.. It offers a number of significant improvements compared to previous versions, providing a more advanced and high-quality audio and video experience.

Some of the key features include increased bandwidth of up to 48 Gbps, support for VRR technology, which synchronizes the TV’s refresh rate with the frame rate of the video source. In addition, it supports Dynamic HDR, for dynamic HDR adjustments on each frame of video for more precise and detailed images with improved dynamic range.

HDMI 2.1 cable

This version is especially recommended for those who want to take full advantage of the latest audio and video technologies. If you have a TV with 4K or 8K resolutions, HDMI 2.1 offers the necessary bandwidth to transmit this content.

It allows you to enjoy higher refresh rates, such as 120Hz in 4K, offers support for Dynamic HDR for more realistic images with a greater range of colors. If you’re a gamer, this port offers Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Quick Media Switching (QMS), which improve image quality and reduce waiting times when switching between different content sources.

So it’s perfect for when you want to enjoy a movie at full resolution or a video game with the most demanding graphics for a superior experience on next-generation consoles like PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.


HDMI connection

Among the options that may be on your television is the HDMI ARC, is a feature of HDMI that allows audio to be transmitted bi-directionally over a single cable. That is, you can connect your TV to a compatible audio receiver or sound bar without the need for additional audio cables.

Enables high-quality audio transmission, including surround sound formats such as Dolby Digital and DTSwhich ensures a high-fidelity and immersive sound experience when watching movies, TV shows and playing video games.

It is worth mentioning that both the television and the sound system must be compatible with HDMI ARC to take advantage of this function, so it is useless for your TV to have this port if you do not have a sound source that can take advantage of it. This simplifies the audio connection and improves sound quality when viewing multimedia content.




The HDMI eARC or Enhanced Audio Return Channel, is a feature that allows you to stream high-quality audio from your Smart TV to an external audio device. The main difference between this standard and HDMI ARC lies in the audio transmission capacity and its quality.

While standard ARC is suitable for stereo audio and compressed formats, eARC provides superior audio quality by allowing uncompressed multi-channel audio to be returned and is compatible with advanced surround audio formats.

It also offers more advanced control of connected audio devices. It supports state-of-the-art audio technologies and features, such as 3D audio and high frame rate audio. This ensures that you can fully enjoy the capabilities of your compatible audio devices.

Remote control

HDMI eARC is capable of transmitting high-resolution audio without loss of quality, providing a more immersive and detailed sound experience.

In short, HDMI 2.1 focuses on video enhancements at resolutions up to 10K and high refresh rate gaming, while HDMI HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC focus on audio transmission from the TV to an external audio device.

HDMI ARC is suitable for stereo audio and compressed formats, while eARC is for high-quality lossless audio.. From now on, when you take a look at the back of your Smart TV and look at the HDMI ports, you will know in advance the function of each of them.

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