HDMI ARC  vs Digital Optical

HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel)

HDMI ARC allows you to transmit audio from your TV to your sound system using a single HDMI cable. It simplifies your setup and supports high-quality audio formats.

Digital Optical

Digital Optical, also known as TOSLINK, uses light to transmit audio signals. It's a reliable option for audio transmission, but it may not support the latest audio formats.

Audio Quality

HDMI ARC generally supports better audio quality with formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, while Digital Optical is limited to older formats like Dolby Digital and DTS.


HDMI ARC is common on modern TVs and soundbars, making it easy to connect devices. Digital Optical is still widely used but may require additional adapters for some setups.


HDMI ARC simplifies your setup by allowing you to control your sound system with a single remote, often your TV remote. Digital Optical may require separate remotes for your TV and audio system.

Cable Length

HDMI ARC cables have limitations on length due to signal degradation, while Digital Optical cables can be longer without affecting audio quality. Consider your setup's distance requirements.

Soundbar Integration

Many soundbars come with HDMI ARC support, enhancing compatibility and convenience. However, Digital Optical can still be an option for soundbar connections.


If you want to future-proof your audio setup, HDMI ARC is the better choice due to its support for the latest audio technologies and potential for future upgrades.

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