TV audio into DAC via eARC or better

My HiFi system is also in my main living room which has my largest TV for movies.  Currently running optical audio out of my Sony TV into my Schiit Yggy.  It's ok but something is missing for sure.  Xfinity 4K box is HDMI only.  Apple TV is HDMI only.  I would think the highest possibly resolution would involve eARC.  

I noticed the Lumin P1 has an eARC HDMI port.  Looks like it can also switch video sources but my preference is to keep video quality going straight to the TV.  

I know my compressed version of Batman on Netflix from my Xfinity box isn't going to be great but I need something better!

Thoughts?  Thank you!


oh Bluesound supports eARC....maybe I should just add one of there NODE devices?

I have a great success, running optical out of my Samsung TV into my Tambaqui DAC.  Even though it is two channel, it sounds great, with well focused center dialogue.  No helicopters or gun shots behind us, but that is ok.

I use eARC.  It's the best audio you'll get from your TV.  It's audio only and should have no effect on video.  Both ends of the connection need to be eARC.

Maybe eARC is better now.  I have had issues with ARC over HDMI in several applications.  That is why I  use the optical output from the TV.  

I think when ARC first came out it was tough to get everyone to play nice together.  eARC seems to be more widely adopted.  Also the volume control built into eARC for use with SONOS Arc or SONOS Amp has forced the TV guys to get it together!  I think the quality of audio in eARC is much better than optical but the DAC guys just don't support eARC.  Maybe it's best to just use optical for todays high-end DACs.  

+1, @dbphd 

eARC + Sonos Arc for best sound out of your TV.  I was quite content with optical out from my old Sony TV to my old Sonos soundbar. But Sonos Arc + Sonos Sub has elevated my movie watching experience to another level. 

I came across this in an email from Schiit the other day. Might be just what you are needing or missing.

Several year back I had both DirecTV and Xfinity. One day out of curiosity, I compared the same program from both providers switching back and forth. Sound quality and picture quality was way better by DirecTV compared to Xfinity. Picture and sound were compressed by Xfinity. Now I have only DirecTV. So your problem may be solved by changing the provider. Just a thought.



Absolutely DirecTV has better standard video and audio.  Not sure how much longer they will be around with Starlink providing internet to everyone who doesn't have a cable provider.  I'm worried more compression is in our future not less.  I assume that means the chip uncompressing all the audio and video is going to be important.   

My system is setup like yours.  I run ARC from the TV into my HifiRose streaming DAC or Classe preamp and it works well but there are many times where it doesn’t get the “handshake “ and I need to switch sources and then it works.  Optical is more reliable than ARC, but in some rare instances ARC is capable of better resolution.  I would be willing to bet though that the resolution between the two is identical most of the time.  You may run into audio sync issues and again, that’s a power on/off and/or switch sources remedy to fix it.  

I have two systems, predicated on room layout.  My best system has my TV centered between my two channel audio.  So I run optical into my Tambaqui DAC with quality electronics and speakers .  It sounds amazing.

Upstairs my TV is not between my speakers.  So I use a small Marantz AV receiver into a nice unpowered sound bar with Left, Center and Right speakers.  This is connected by ARC over HDMI.  While the convenience of the usual handshake (works about 75% of the time) is nice, in no way does this sound anywhere as good as TV audio over optical into a high end system, regardless of center channel or not.

I would always choose the best equipment first, and not go with (Sonos) just to use eARC.

yeah not using SONOS just know it's very popular.  Probably going into a new DAC in the $10k-$15k range.  Maybe MSB Discrete 

Post removed 

The Toslink cable makes a big difference. Buy a glass one, they sound much better than plastic ones.

Bluesound Node N130 or X has eARC and USB out. If you are buying such an expensive DAC, the cost is trivial. Plus, they are streamers, with a well proven app.
This was mentioned earlier, but needs to be repeated. Get a Node!  Another point…they have an auto switch that engages when the eARC detects a signal, and a 12V trigger output, so if your other gear is equipped with trigger inputs, you can automate the whole turn-on sequence.

Post removed 

“Probably going into a new DAC in the $10k-$15k range.  Maybe MSB Discrete ”@chauncey 

Your original post suggests, you would like to improve TV sound which includes movies plus other content. How is connecting a MSB DAC or Node with eARC would let you enjoy Dolby Atmos soundtracks? What I am missing here? Even optical cable/connection won’t transmit Dolby Atmos???

”The eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) enables you to transmit the original full-resolution audio signal through an HDMI cable and reproduce the best sound without compromise.” 

My HDMI extends from my Apple TV 4K to a Nad m17 processor, and then I have RCA interconnects from the processor to a Conrad Johnson gat2 preamplifier which is connected to amplifiers.

Of course everything flowing through Xfinity is subpar. But all the streaming stuff going through Apple TV for nonstereo listening is hard to improve on given inherent streaming Quality deficiency.

the power cords, HDMI cables, Ethernet cords and network switch are all upgraded.

What more can be done here? Sound is quite good on my system but unfortunately it's entirely dependent on the quality of the source. And streaming Quality is inconsistent and always compressed. 

If the Apple TV 4K and Nad M17 both have eARC, streaming should not be compressed.  You need to assure both have eARC.  After the processor it's analog.   Of course audio quality is dependent on the source, be it vinyl, disc, or streamed.

@lalitk No need for Atmos.  Toslink is pretty old technology I assume ARC and eARC can send even 2 channel stereo pcm at a higher bit rate to the dac.  

eARC has a bandwidth of 37Mbps where toslink is only 384kbps



I believe all streaming services including Netflix involve compressed audio.  It’s my understanding that the full advantage of EARC cannot be obtained via streaming.

As others have said, I use optical out from my Sony oled to my Benchmark DAC1 for my 2 channel bedroom/tv system and am amazed by the sound.

BTW, Netflix allows you to change the sound from 5.1 to 2 channel so the digital output from the Sony tv is not doing the 2 channel downmix and the sound is indeed improved.



If you’re not after Dolby Atmos then Arc or optical connection is more than adequate from your TV to your DAC. Those who post here with an assumption that streaming offers compressed video and audio, either don’t have the adequate bandwidth or lacks the proper hardware.

@chauncey Another option is the Wyred4Sound Remedy Reclocker, it takes the Toslink in and cleans it up and outputs a SPDIF signal, I get a nice uptick in sound quality compared to Toslink into my Bricasti M3.

Interesting.  I forgot I have a Mutec reclocker I use to use for my DAC but I removed it for USB when I upgraded by Schiit Yggy a few years back.  I should try it on my TV audio!


I'm not sure if this is specifically relevant to your needs, but I have recently experimented with a number of options to allow my basic living room stereo (also have a media room) to integrate reasonably with a television.

I played with using higher end receivers as a pre/pro for this 2 channel system, eventually replaced the receiver with a 4k pre/pro.  Most recently I acquired an NAD C658 (where I had intended to add the 4k MDC video switching board, thus allowing video switching on a pure 2 channel component).  Around this same time, I happened to walk past a Samsung The Frame 75" TV (open box) that I picked up on the cheap...

To my surprise, the feature that most people probably find to be The Frame's greatest annoyance (the external "one connect" box) ended up being a huge bonus in my system.  All of the video is integrated within the Samsung ecosystem and it connects to my DAC/pre with the toslink connection only (eliminating the HDMI not "playing nicely" concerns).  I am also able to play Apple/Tidal music directly on my DAC/pre via Airplay or BluOS (without "waking up" the TV).

This was all a pleasant surprise for me as I ended up not needing the MDC 4k video card for the NAD while having a semi-decoupled audio/video setup that is very user friendly.

I also wanted eARC for simple, one remote control of TV with best possible sound over my 2 channel stereo. Naim Uniti Nova had handshake problems, but my dealer said in his experience this had been seen in a relatively small number of units he sold. Presently the Naim is at warranty repair to hopefully fix the issue. NAD M33 has had no problems with HDMI, but I'm not pleased with its sonics for my music listening (with AudioVector R3 Arrete). So next I'm going to try an AVM CS 5.3. With it's tube front end, I hope the AVM will be my solution to both HDMI eARC connectivity and engaging music listening.