HDMI Vs. HDMI ARC Cable: Which Should You Choose?

Shopping for an HDMI cable can be tricky because you may come across many types. We will help you tell the difference between HDMI vs. HDMI ARC cable

The ARC technology is a new feature that enhances your sound setup. Let’s follow this guide; you will know whether the ARC or the regular HDMI is what you really need! 

What Is HDMI?

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It’s a popular tool to transmit audio and video signals between electronic devices via a cable. 

We use the HDMI cable on many devices, such as projectors, DVD players, Blu-ray players, and HDTVs. It comes in multiple types to support gadgets of different sizes and new technologies.  



ARC means Audio Return Channel. As you can guess from the name, this HDMI cable primarily handles audio transfer. The ARC technology is an add-on feature of the HDMI 1.4 version. You can find it in many modern home cinema systems.  

There is also an upgraded version of the ARC technology: eARC. This video will explain deeper about the two versions:

What Is The Difference Between HDMI Vs. HDMI ARC Cable?

The primary difference between HDMI and HDMI ARC is their transmission mode. While the regular HDMI cable mostly works with video transmission, the Arc version can provide higher-quality audio delivery.  

Besides, you will also discover other differences between these cables. Let’s see what they are and how they affect your experience. 


Transmission Mode

If you want to use the standard HDMI to send both sound and video signals from one device to another, you should have an extra audio cable. 

For example, your connection involves a TV and a laptop. The TV may receive and show the images from the laptop if you connect them with an HDMI cable. However, the sound from the laptop can’t travel to your TV. 

As a result, you must plug in an audio cable, aside from the HDMI cable, to have a full movie-watching experience. Consider using the ARC technology if you find the whole connection process annoying. It allows you to transmit both video and audio signals. In your case, your TV only needs an HDMI ARC cable to receive video and sound from the laptop.  

You need a cable to handle both audio and video signals
You need a cable to handle both audio and video signals


HDMI ARC cables have more uses than HDMI. You can connect them to several devices with just one connection. 

Moreover, an HDMI ARC can be a regular HDMI cable and the ARC version. Meanwhile, the regular cable can’t handle tasks other rather than just transmitting video signals. 

Sound Quality

By using the ARC cable, you can get the benefit of high-quality audio signals. Since it aims to handle that data, it delivers an impressive sound effect regardless of your device. 

The regular HDMI cable can still carry some of the sound signals. However, the ARC version outperforms due to its sharp and precise transmission. 

Hence, you can easily find this kind of HDMI cable in external speakers, like those in home theaters and soundbars. 

 The HDMI ARC can improve sound quality significantly
The HDMI ARC can improve sound quality significantly.

Remote Control

If you use an HDMI ARC cable, you only use the TV remote to control the whole setup. It will save you time and eliminate the clutter of using different controls simultaneously. 

Meanwhile, if you use the regular HDMI cable, it will split your setup into different sections. Hence, you may need multiple remotes to adjust the devices. 


Although it has superior features, the HDMI ARC technology hasn’t been as common as its predecessor. Moreover, with the advanced technology and a more complex production process, you may expect this product to have a high price. 

Meanwhile, most regular HDMI cables are cheap and popular. You can easily find them because they have been the standard for connectors for a long time.  

Comparison Table




Transmission Mode

Good for video signals

Good for both video and audio signals 




Sound Quality 



Remote Control 

Multiple remotes

One remote 


Cheaper and widely available 

More expensive 

Which Is Better, HDMI Or HDMI ARC?

In terms of sound quality, the HDMI ARC technology is superior. You won’t need an extra cable to set up your home theater system anymore. However, it doesn’t mean that HDMI is not helpful. 

For audio systems that require external speakers, HDMI ARC is beneficial. However, you won’t need it if you only use the built-in speakers of your TV. 

Those built-in speakers will be good enough for your experience if you are not an audiophile. Many people aren’t even aware that they can transfer TV sound to another device.

We strongly advise investing in a quality soundbar. TV speakers don’t have much bass, yet adding more to the audio makes a significant difference.

Invest in a high-quality system to maximize your experience
Invest in a high-quality system to maximize your experience


HDMI is so popular now. It keeps improving to adapt to the higher demand of users. Hence, we have HDMI ARC technology with many impressive features compared to the older versions. 

Regular HDMI cables can still help. Choosing the more suitable tool for your setup depends on your requirements. Thank you for reading!

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