Samsung soundbar earc

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The best soundbars for Samsung TVs are mostly the best soundbars for any other TV, but there are some specific features and specs that make a soundbar better suited to use with a Samsung set. Unsurprisingly, many of those are from Samsung itself, but certainly not all, so we're here to help you find one that makes the most of your TV. 

The best soundbars for Samsung TVs still do the same core job as any other soundbar, of course: adding much more depth and clarity to the sound. Thin TVs don't have space for really meaty speakers, but soundbars manage to give that extra oomph without taking over the room in the way that surround sound speaker systems do.

But the main extra features we're looking for on top of great sound quality are: Dolby Atmos support (which isn't built into Samsung's sets); or support for Samsung's Q Symphony feature, which makes your TV speakers and your soundbar work together to provide an even bigger sound. We explain exactly what we mean in both of those cases here.

Beyond those, we're also just looking at soundbars across all budget and size ranges that are perfect audio matches for the visual spectacle your TV offers. You'll find lots of entries from our overall list of the best soundbars here, but in a different order, because we're prioritising specifically for the design and features of Samsung's sets.

Samsung makes some of the world's best TVs, so we've got elite-level soundbars to match those models, but the company also makes a lot of the best TVs under £1000, best TVs under $1000 and best TVs under £500, so we've got affordable soundbars too.

There are soundbars here that can be paired with TVs as small as 32 inches, while others are built for big screens of 55 inches and up. We'll break down why we've chosen each model. 

What is the best soundbar for Samsung TVs?

The ultimate home cinema experience for Samsung TV owners right now is the HW-Q950A, which recreates an 11.1.4-channel Dolby Atmos surround experience, using a big soundbar, two wireless rear speakers, and a subwoofer. It creates a dome of powerful and detailed audio around you, and is a mind-blowing bit of kit. And if you have a Samsung TV with Q-Symphony support, it sounds even bigger and better. It's expensive, of course, and requires a TV of 55 inches or larger.

The Sony HT-G700 is the best buy if you want an affordable model that still includes Dolby Atmos support. This is great for TVs of 43 inches and up, and includes a soundbar and subwoofer in the box. It's powerful, detailed, and creates a real wall of sound in front of you, with lots of height and width for sound to be positioned in.

To split the difference, the Samsung HW-Q800A is best. It's a Dolby Atmos soundbar and subwoofer combo, like the Sony, but is good for TVs of 50 inches and up, and includes many more speakers, so provides an even more convincing and dynamic sound. Its mid-range price and excellent audio makes it a superb balance, and it supports Q-Symphony support.

The best soundbars for Samsung TVs, ranked

(Image credit: Samsung)

1. Samsung HW-Q950A

The best soundbar for Samsung TVs for sheer cinematic quality


Dimensions: 1232x69.5x138mm (soundbar); 210x403x403mm (subwoofer), 125x 203x141mm (rear unit)

Connections: 1x HDMI out, 2x HDMI in, optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

eARC support: Yes

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: Both

Speaker configuration: 11.1.4-channel, 22 drivers

Quoted power output (total): 616W

Reasons to buy

+Astounding Dolby Atmos 3D audio+Powerful and feature-rich+Samsung Q Symphony support

Reasons to avoid

-Premium price-Better for movies than music

This is it. The ultimate home cinema system for Samsung, if you want one that's compact and easy to setup. The Samsung HW-Q950A is a four-box system – that's the main soundbar that sits under the TV, plus a subwoofer, and then two small speakers that sit behind you to the left and right. 

Between them, these deliver 11.1.4-channels of sound – that's 11 that 'surround' you to provide directional sound, one for the subwoofer, and four height channels, adding sound above you. Angled speaker drivers in the soundbar and rear unit bounce the sound around the room, creating that 'dome' of sound that a great Dolby Atmos experience is known for, and the result is just fantastic.

Our full Samsung HW-Q950A review calls the setup "phenomenally powerful, detailed, dynamic and aggressive. Effects are well positioned vertically or horizontally. Impact sounds hit harder (without sounding unnatural) than they do with any rival soundbar."

It doesn't just sound good, though – it's also full of useful features. It has two HDMI inputs, as well as one output that connects to the TV. Its full support for Dolby Atmos and the rival DTS:X mean that anything you plug into it will deliver those next-gen audio formats to it directly – bypassing the fact that Samsung TVs don't support Atmos.

You can stream music to it over Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, all the boxes talk to each other wirelessly with no setup required other than plugging them in, and it supports Samsung's Q Symphony feature, meaning that if you plug it into a compatible set from 2020 or newer (you'll need to check your TV's specs), the soundbar combines its own 22 speakers with the drivers around the edge of your TV, adding even more presence.

(Image credit: Sony)

2. Sony HT-G700

The best affordable soundbar with Dolby Atmos for Samsung TVs


Dimensions: 980x64x108mm (main body); 192x387x406mm (subwoofer)

Connections: 1x HDMI out, 1x HDMI in, 1x optical line in, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

eARC support: Yes

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: Yes

Speaker configuration: 3.1-channel

Quoted power output (total): 300W

Reasons to buy

+Impressive Dolby Atmos effect+Compact size+HDMI passthrough

Reasons to avoid

-Dynamic range a little limited

This soundbar is an excellent cinematic upgrade for more compact Samsung TVs – its size makes it suitable for TVs from just 43 inches and up. But the audio feels much bigger than that, thanks to Sony's audio processing trickery. Technically it offers 3.1 channels, and that produces really strong width, and can even do a remarkable job of occasionally tricking you into feeling like something is almost coming from behind with Dolby Atmos or 5.1 content.

And while it doesn't have true height channels to make audio seem like sound is coming from above you, there's still lots of verticality to audio – things can audibly rocket upwards or crash downwards. If what you want is plenty of extra dimension to your audio for a low price, this works like a dream, as our full Sony HT-G700 review explains.

Extra meat is added by the subwoofer, which is wireless and requires no setup time at all – it just goes as soon as it's all plugged in. It can connect to your TV over HDMI or optical, and it has an HDMI input, with 4K HDR passthrough, so again it can get around the Dolby Atmos limitation of Samsung TVs for a connected device. 

However, the HDMI passthrough doesn't support HDR10+, so anything connected will fall back to regular HDR10. This is a very minor concern overall, but it's something the AV nerds among you should be aware of.

(Image credit: Samsung)

3. Samsung HW-Q800A

The best soundbar for Samsung TVs balancing price and sound quality


Dimensions: 980x60x115mm (main body); 210x403x403mm (subwoofer)

Connections: 1x HDMI out, 1x HDMI in, optical, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

eARC support: Yes

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: Both

Speaker configuration: 3.1.2-channel, 8 drivers

Quoted power output (total): 330W

Reasons to buy

+Big, impressive sound+Dolby Atmos and DTS:X+4K HDMI passthrough

Reasons to avoid

-Only one HDMI input-No rear speakers

If you want something that's similar compact to the Sony above, but with bigger and more impressive dynamic range, the Samsung HW-Q800A is what you need. This is a 3.1.2-channel soundbar, meaning that it aims to add lots of width, Dolby Atmos height, and big impact from its wireless subwoofer. 

With Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, this soundbar has actual upward-firing tweeters, so you get a real wall of sound from it, with impressive positional audio – there's a strong sense of things coming from a particular point, and a kinetic feel to moving sounds. And it's capable of audio that's big and punchy, but is plenty refined too.

It works with Samsung Q Symphony, so if you have a compatible TV, its audio can get even bigger and more impressive. And Samsung sells separate wireless rear speakers, so you can turn it into a genuine surround system later, if you want.

It has an HDMI input, as well as an HDMI connection to your TV, so if you have an Atmos-enabled external box – such as a Blu-ray player or Apple TV box – you can plug that straight into the soundbar and you'll get real Dolby Atmos sound even though your TV doesn't support it.

It also has an optical connection you can use instead of HDMI for older TVs, and includes Wi-Fi and Bluetooth music streaming, plus it has Alexa built-in, so it acts as a smart speaker. It's just an excellent all-rounder, and does this without being ridiculously massive – it's the right size for TVs of 49 inches and up. Read our full Samsung Q800A review for more.

(Image credit: Samsung)

4. Samsung HW-Q950T

The best surround soundbar for Samsung TVs on a lower budget


Dimensions: 1232x69.5x138mm (bar); 210x403x403mm (sub); 120x210x141mm (rear speakers)

Connections: 2x HDMI, 2x HDMI out, 1x optical line in, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth

eARC support: Yes

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: Yes

Speaker configuration: 20 speakers, 9.1.4-channel

Quoted power output (total): 564W

Reasons to buy

+Full-on surround sound+Great vertical effect+Punchy soundscape

Reasons to avoid

-Inconsistent low-end-Room position matters

This is the 2020 version of the the HW-Q950A at the top of our list (note that this one ends in a 'T'), meaning that's a full-fat Atmos-friendly surround system, with rear speakers and all. It's not had its price cut massively, making it a truly tempting alternative for those who want the cinematic effect, but balked at such a high price. The HW-Q950T is still an audio feast, cramming in a 9.1.4 audio setup for a truly three-dimensional experience.

You get a huge seven-channel soundbar section, itself over 1.2m in length (so really only suitable for 55-inch TVs and beyond) and covered in acoustically-transparent Kvadrat fabric, which is wall-mountable if your wall is sturdy enough to safely dangle its 7kg weight. You also get a subwoofer, and a pair of rear speakers, each with one surround channels, and an upfiring speaker. These rear speakers are the biggest difference from the new Q950A – in the newer model, they have an extra surround channel, which really helps to improve the positioning of sounds.

The whole kaboodle works together to produce an immersive and very impressive surround sound effect, with strong overheads (two of which come from that main soundbar, which also has edge firing speakers for a large amount of width) and a very dynamic sound overall.

There's Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, HDMI inputs for Atmos-enabled playback devices, eARC connectivity to and from the TV and a classic digital optical input, too. Oh, and it's Q Symphony compatible, as if its own sound weren't expansive enough.

Perhaps this will be a bit much for some living rooms, and it can be a little finicky about your position in the room, but if you have the money and the space the HW-Q950T is a very solid audio upgrade. Find out more in our full Samsung HW-Q950T review. 

(Image credit: Yamaha)

5. Yamaha SR-C20A

The best budget soundbar for Samsung TVs


Dimensions: 600x64x94mm

Connections: 1x HDMI out, 2x optical line in, 3.5mm, Bluetooth 5.0

eARC support: No – just ARC

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: No

Speaker configuration: 2.1-channel

Quoted power output (total): 100W

Reasons to buy

+Big sound from any source+Very compact+Fine controls via Yamaha's app

Reasons to avoid

-Poor remote

The Yamaha SR-C20A sits near the bottom of Yamaha's rather expansive soundbar lineup, but that doesn't mean it's not capable of great things. Given its rather affordable price, it's a hugely impressive performer, even if it is more limited on specs, out of necessity.

There's only 100W of power available to the three drivers (two front-facing, one upward-pointing), for example. There's no spare HDMI ports whatsoever, with TV connectivity handled either by its single HDMI eARC socket or one of two digital optical inputs.

But if there's one thing Yamaha knows, it's getting superb sound out of very little. This is small but it has definite width (and even a little height). It's compact, but you get maximum detail at each end of the frequency range. It looks understated, but packs a punch when it needs to.

In our full Yamaha SR-C20A review, we say 'it looks like a scale model of a soundbar', and indeed this is ideal with small Samsung TVs, including down to 32 inches. It does what a soundbar is supposed to do: add more oomph to soundtracks while making dialogue and detail clearer, and nothing does it better for this price.

(Image credit: Sonos)

6. Sonos Beam

The best-sounding compact one-box soundbar for Samsung TVs


Dimensions: 68.5x651x100mm

Connections: 1x HDMI, 1x optical line in, 1x Ethernet, Wi-Fi

eARC support: No – ARC only

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: No

Speaker configuration: 5 speakers, 3-channel

Quoted power output (total): Not given

Reasons to buy

+Compact, attractive design+Great sound for movies or music+Support for wireless multi-room

Reasons to avoid

-No Dolby Atmos-No HDMI passthrough

If you’re looking for a versatile, easy-to-setup soundbar that includes Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, the Sonos Beam is a great choice – it’s also not prohibitively expensive, sitting in the lower mid-range of the soundbar price scale. 

Its sleek, compact design (in white or black) lends itself to smaller spaces, while its support for HDMI-ARC makes it super simple to get started with (as long as your Samsung TV supports this connection type). There's no passthrough of HDMI, though, so you'll lose that port for connecting to other devices.

As a member of the Sonos ecosystem, the Beam can form part of a wireless multi-room setup (either through the Sonos app, or Apple AirPlay 2), so it’s a good option if you already have other Sonos speakers and want to fill your entire home with sound – or to start building a multi-room setup.

The Sonos Beam doesn’t support Dolby Atmos or other 3D audio options, and it's not trying to emulate surround sound – it's a fantastic sounding soundbar that massively improves what almost an TV is capable of, for a great price. And it's so small that you could use it with 32-inch TVs and up – and there's no subwoofer, so it really is the most compact option with this kind of audio quality.

(Image credit: Bang & Olufsen)

7. B&O Beosound Stage

The classiest soundbar upgrade for Samsung TVs


Dimensions: 1100x170x77mm

Connections: 1x HDMI out, 1x HDMI in, 1x 3.5mm line in, 2x Ethernet, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2

eARC support: Yes

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: Dolby Atmos only

Speaker configuration: 3-channel, 11 drivers

Quoted power output (total): 550W

Reasons to buy

+Beautiful sound+Impeccable design+Supports Dolby Atmos

Reasons to avoid

-Not as immersive as some-Expensive-Only one HDMI input

The Stage, like the Sonos Beam above, is an all-in-one soundbar, and one with a look all of its own: it's Bang & Olufsen's first dedicated soundbar, and one that it has clearly spent a long time perfecting. There's no subwoofer (it's loud enough without) and no all-around surround, with B&O preferring instead to produce the widest, tallest soundstage possible from a single eleven-speaker module.

That means you get four bass drivers in stereo, two mid-rangers, a central tweeter, and a squawker and tweeter on either edge, each working from their own 50W amp module, and while B&O says this is a 3.0 system that's a technicality more than anything. It sounds huge, with Dolby Atmos support (though not necessarily the full 3D effect of it) and plenty of EQ options and DSP extras.

You can wall-mount it, with the speakers facing forward, or lay it flat, with the grille facing up, and it sounds great either way, with a very active and musical sound to it, and plenty of poise when things are a little quieter. 

There's only one HDMI input, and we'd like two at least for this money, but it still means it can take Dolby Atmos from an external source. It also supports Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast Built-in, along with Wi-fi and Bluetooth 4.2, making this an excellent choice for general music playback. Check out our full review of the B&O Beosound Stage to find out more.

(Image credit: Sony)

8. Sony HT-X8500 Soundbar

Remarkable virtual surround sound for the price


Dimensions: 890x64x96mm

Connections: 1x HDMI out, 1x HDMI in, 1x optical line in, USB, Bluetooth 5.0

eARC support: Yes

Dolby Atmos/DTS:X support: Yes

Speaker configuration: 3 speakers, 2.1 channels

Quoted power output (total): 320W

Reasons to buy

+Dolby Atmos and DTS:X support+Great price+Subwoofer built-in

Reasons to avoid

-No upfiring drivers

The Sony HT-X8500 is perhaps the best super-cheap Dolby Atmos soundbar you can buy right now, and it could make a great addition to your Samsung TV.

Now, because this soundbar doesn’t include upfiring drivers, it doesn’t deliver ‘true’ Dolby Atmos, which bounces sound off of your ceiling and down to your ears. However, Sony’s Vertical Sound Engine means that the HT-X8500 works with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X content to create an illusion of immersive sound – and it does this really convincingly.

Despite its relatively low price, this Sony soundbar feels like a premium product, with a solid build and sleek look; and it has plenty of connectivity options with an HDMI input, an HDMI-ARC output, analogue audio in/output, Ethernet, optical audio input, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi support.

How to choose the best soundbar for your Samsung TV

There are a few things that are worth considering when it comes to picking a soundbar to go with your Samsung TV. 

First and foremost, you should think about how much money you’d ideally like to spend on your new soundbar. These days, soundbars can be bought for under £100, but the really high-end models can cost well over £1,000 – we’ve included a range of prices in this guide, but if you’ve got your eye on a pricier soundbar than your budget allows for, don’t forget that cheap soundbar deals pop up all the time, particularly between November and January.

Something else to consider is the design of your new soundbar. Samsung TVs are known for their sleek builds, so it’s worth looking for a soundbar that compliments your TV. Samsung's own bars are made for this, of course, and more soundbars are designed to disappear anyway. Most can be wall-mounted, if that's where your TV will go.

If you choose to place your soundbar in front of your TV, make sure it isn’t so tall that it obscures the infrared light from your remote control, or even that it edges into the picture – some TVs stand higher from the surface than others!

Consider the size of your set and the size of the soundbar – you don't want a bar that's sticking out beyond the edges of your TV (or your TV table). And think about whether you're happy with a soundbar alone (the most compact option), or whether you want one with a subwoofer for extra impact (but that takes up more space).

Be sure to look into the type of wired connections your soundbar offers, too. HDMI is the easiest way to hook your soundbar up to your Samsung TV, and can handle Hi-Res Audio formats; for this, your TV needs to support HDMI-ARC, which means the audio can travel in both directions along the cable. Pretty much all modern TVs have had this for several years – though they usually only have one HDMI port that supports it.

On some older TVs it's a pain to lose an HDMI port, because it might be one of your only 4K-capable ports. However, many soundbars will have HDMI passthrough inputs themselves, meaning you can plug something into your soundbar, connect the soundbar to your TV, and the video will still make it to your TV, so you don't lose any connectivity.

This is also where Dolby Atmos support comes in. Samsung TVs don't include support for this next-generation, 3D audio format. If you're watching something Atmos-capable on your TV's built-in streaming apps, the TV will send the audio out over HDMI to a soundbar, but this isn't the case for anything else connected over HDMI, such as a Blu-ray player. However, if your soundbar has one or more HDMI inputs and is Atmos-capable, then you can plug things into the soundbar instead of the TV, and you'll get the full benefit of the Atmos audio still.

Another benefit of HDMI-ARC connections is that you can use your regular Samsung TV remote to control the soundbar, instead of adding yet another control to your collection, because all control is passed over the HDMI cable.

If you can't or don't want to use HDMI-ARC, you can connect it to your Samsung TV using an optical digital cable or coaxial cable – again, check the back of your TV to see which is supported. Optical is the most common.

Another connectivity feature to consider is whether your new soundbar supports Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for wireless music streaming from your phone or tablet, and whether you’re interested in having that anyway.

Finally, there's Q Symphony support. When you connect certain Samsung TVs (Samsung Q80T and up from the 2020 range, Samsung Q60A and up from the 2021 range) to compatible Samsung soundbars, the two devices will work together to create on big seamless speaker system, using the TV's higher and central speakers to add useful positional sound, and allowing the soundbar to add the extra meat it's designed for.


HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: everything you need to know

The trusty High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) has been the go-to digital connector for flatscreen TVs, projectors and other AV equipment for over 15 years now. Over that time it's evolved into a do-it-all connection, acting as a medium for various video and audio formats.

HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) is a clever protocol that sits within the HDMI standard and, in theory, it can help simplify a complicated AV set-up and reduce the number of cables you need.

But what's the point of it? And where does the new eARC protocol fit in this picture? Read on for all the info you need (and more)...

What's HDMI and HDMI ARC?

HDMI launched way back in 2002, and the first consumer kit to feature this high-tech connector hit the shops in 2004.

It was billed as a convenient way to send high-quality digital picture and sound data ‘upstream’ from a source to a TV, amplifier or soundbar. As HDMI has become the de facto AV connection, traditional analogue sockets such as SCART and component video have found themselves consigned to the spare parts bin.

The HDMI interface has evolved over the years, with new versions (HDMI 2.1 is the latest) bringing support for new audio and video technologies such as 3D, 4K, 8K, HDR and high frame rates, to name but a few.

It wasn’t until 2009 that the HDMI ARC protocol was added to the spec-sheet. It was introduced as part of HDMI version 1.4 and has been part of the specification ever since.

When would you use HDMI ARC?

Picture the scene. You have a set-top box, games console and Blu-ray player all plugged into your TV via HDMI.

Or perhaps your smart TV is using a built-in video app such as Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Either way, you don’t want to use your TV’s speakers for audio – you’d rather hear everything played through a soundbar or home cinema amplifier instead.

Previously, you would have to connect an optical cable from the back of your TV to an optical input on your audio device.

But that’s a messy solution. Theoretically, HDMI ARC solves this problem.

HDMI ARC removes the need for an optical cable and allows you to send audio ‘downstream’ from a compatible HDMI socket on your TV to a compatible HDMI ARC socket on a soundbar or AV receiver.

What do you need to use HDMI ARC?

To take advantage of HDMI ARC, you’ll need a television and audio processor (AV receiver or soundbar) with matching ARC-enabled HDMI sockets.

Peer around the back of your TV - if it’s packing three or four HDMI sockets, you need to find the one that’s labelled “(ARC)”. Labelling isn’t compulsory, but as long as your TV is a late-2009 model or newer, there should be one at your disposal. Consult the TV’s user manual if you’re unsure.

With some TVs, HDMI ARC might work automatically. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to grab a remote and tweak a few of your TV settings, including turning off your TV’s built-in speakers and enabling your telly to send audio out to an external speaker or amp.

Using HDMI ARC does not require a new HDMI cable. Any HDMI cable should be able to cope with the requirements - it’s only when we move on to eARC this could (potentially) become an issue. But more on that later.

As part of the process, you should consider enabling HDMI CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), so you can turn your TV on and control the volume on your soundbar or amp without the need for multiple remotes. A word of warning, though: turning HDMI CEC on can have some unwanted AV side-effects - so you might want to experiment first.

MORE: How to improve your TV's sound

Are there any issues with HDMI ARC?

Worried about potential lip-sync problems? HDMI v1.3, launched in 2006, added automatic audio syncing, although it was only optional. This means some ARC-enabled products will play together nicely, others might not.

The biggest problem for ARC in its current guise is manufacturers have been left to pick and choose which elements of the protocol they want to include.

Support for all relevant audio codecs isn’t compulsory, so you can’t simply assume that a TV will be able to send a 5.1 Dolby Digital or DTS soundtrack from a movie over ARC. Some TV manufacturers only support Dolby Digital, while others only support two-channel stereo, defeating the point.

It’s worth noting ARC doesn’t allow you to bitstream the full-fat high-quality codecs such as Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos, DTS-HD Master Audio or DTS:X soundtracks that you find on Blu-rays and 4K Blu-rays. It simply strips out the core 5.1 data stream. If you want this level of functionality, you’ll need HDMI eARC.

ARC can, however, allow you to receive Dolby Atmos audio from streaming services that use the format, including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. These services embed Dolby Atmos in a Dolby Digital Plus stream, which ARC can handle.

What is HDMI eARC? What are the benefits?

Enhanced Audio Return Channel (also known as eARC) is the next generation of ARC. It’s a feature implemented in the most recent HDMI 2.1 specification.

The main benefit of eARC is a big boost in bandwidth and speed. This allows you to send higher-quality audio from your TV to a soundbar or AV receiver.

There’s scope for eARC to deliver up to 32 channels of audio, including eight-channel, 24bit/192kHz uncompressed data streams at speeds of up to 38Mbps.

This means all those high bitrate formats currently available on Blu-ray discs, 4K Blu-rays and some streaming services – Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio and object-based formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X – will all be compatible.

But whether manufacturers choose to support them all remains to be seen.

On paper, HDMI eARC should also make the handshake between compatible devices much smoother and negate the need to activate HDMI CEC (which doesn’t always work properly) - so operating multiple products shouldn’t require any extra steps to get things up and running.

As is the case with ARC, you’ll need two devices with compatible HDMI eARC sockets for the protocol to work. While a device doesn't specifically have to be HDMI 2.1-certified, HDMI 2.1 certification does just about guarantee eARC support.

LG was the first manufacturer to go all-in with the new standard producing the first 4K TVs to sport HDMI 2.1 ports in 2019.  All LG's 2021 OLED TVs have up to four HDMI 2.1 ports, with Samsung offering one on most models and four on its flagship sets.  

Meanwhile, Pansonic's  2021range, except the JX850 and JX800, sport four HDMI ports, two of which are HDMI 2.1. Sony also offers a mixture of ports, with its top 2021 models getting two HDMI 2.1 and two HDMI 2.0.

Other products with eARC are also starting to emerge. Onkyo and Pioneer were the first to offer eARC updates on select AV products such as the Onkyo TX-RZ830, Integra DRX-5.2, Pioneer SC-LX502 and Pioneer VSX-LX503 AV receivers. 

In 2018 Denon launched its first eARC-compatible AV receivers and then in 2020 also started future-proofing its AV receivers with models such as the AVC-X3700H offering full HDMI 2.1 on one of its seven inputs and two of its three outputs, while the AVC-X6700H’s eight inputs and two of its three outputs are HDMI 2.1 certified.

Sony followed quickly with updates to its soundbars (HT-ST5000, HT-ZF9, HT-XF9000) and AV receivers (STR-DH790, STR-DN1080), making them compatible with eARC-supported Sony AF9 and ZF9 TV models. All firmware updates are available now.

More recently, both the brilliant Sennheiser Ambeo Soundbar and the award-winning Sonos Arc also sport eARC-compatible HDMI 2.1 outputs, as do LG's 2021 SP-A range of Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbars.

Do I need new HDMI cables to use eARC?

According to, if you currently use a standard HDMI cable with Ethernet, or a High-Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet, you should be fine. Ultra High-Speed HDMI cables with Ethernet will definitely work.

Because of the extra bandwidth needed for some audio formats over eARC, it’s possible that very old cables could struggle. In January 2020 announced a mandatory certification programme that will ensure any cable labelled Ultra High Speed supports all HDMI 2.1 features including eARC.

Is eARC backwards compatible with ARC?

If your TV is HDMI eARC enabled, but your AV amp or soundbar is only compatible with HDMI ARC, you’ll likely get a sound – but the bandwidth restrictions of ARC will mean you won’t be able to experience the high bitrate audio that eARC can provide. So no, it's not backwards-compatible.

Some AV receivers and soundbars (like those mentioned previously) that don’t have HDMI 2.1 chipsets can be upgraded to support eARC, but it varies between manufacturers and products. It depends if they are using compatible hardware that can accept the necessary firmware update.

Time will tell how well-integrated eARC will be, but we're hoping adoption becomes as ubiquitous as HDMI ARC seems to be now.


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After multiple delays, Samsung has released the promised firmware update to enable HDMI eARC on select soundbars from 2019.

eARC soundbar update

Firmware update version 1010.5 enables HDMI eARC on select Samsung 2019 soundbars, specifically the Dolby Atmos-capable HW-Q90R, HW-Q80R and HW-Q70R soundbars. To take advantage of HDMI eARC's support for lossloss audio (unlike standard ARC) your TV must also support eARC. The system allows you to connect a Blu-ray player with Dolby Atmos (in Dolby TrueHD) or another lossless audio format directly to the TV and then pass-through full-quality audio to the soundbar via eARC. Also read: HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) and eARC explained The update had been promised since last year but was been delayed multiple times.

Samsung HW-Q90R soundbar

To install the update you must open the SmartThings mobile app and select your soundbar from there. Owners report that the eARC is working as intended after the update. Samsung has also promised to update its 2019 Q90R 4K TV with eARC. This update is still pending. Samsung 2020 TVs come with eARC baked-in. - Source: Samsung community

Samsung Q90T Dolby Atmos Setup, eARC/ARC How to - Q70T, Q60T, Q80T, Q800T, Q900TS 4K \u0026 8K TV 2020

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Soundbar earc samsung

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How to connect your Soundbar to a TV Using ARC - Samsung US

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