eARC designed for future compatibility with home theatres

4th December 2017
Posted By : Lanna Cooper
eARC designed for future compatibility with home theatres

Provider of customisable smart connectivity solutions, Lattice, has announced the release of the SiI9437 and SiI9438, the first HDMI 2.1 enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) audio receiver and transmitter devices. eARC future proofs and significantly improves home theatre connectivity. This new, simple and trouble-free audio feature is included in the recently announced HDMI 2.1 specification.

eARC technology was developed by the HDMI Forum, an organisation of over 80 consumer electronics companies.

The eARC feature makes the audio device work seamlessly with the TV. The device selection and volume control are performed by the TV remote, as if no audio device is attached at all.

eARC uses two pins within the HDMI cable - the same pins intended for the HDMI Ethernet channel feature - to transmit the low jitter, high bandwidth audio, and also bi-directional communication signals, which discover and control the audio feature. This is an improvement over the old TOSLINK and SPDIF audio outputs, which require a separate cable and connector, and lack the ability to communicate between the audio device and TV.

“DTS (now Xperi) was happy to collaborate with Lattice to develop eARC technology because it solves important, long term compatibility problems in home theatres,” said Joanna Skrdlant, General Manager, Home Audio & Solutions Licensing at Xperi.

“We believe that the new features coming to consumers with eARC will enhance their home theatre experience. Audio content can now move freely through listeners' connected TVs, while preserving the incredible experience of DTS:X immersive audio and DTS-HD surround audio found in Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Discs and streaming services worldwide.”

“HDMI’s purpose is to deliver two promises to the consumer - provide the highest possible digital audio and video quality, and make it simple through automatic configuration,” said Marshall Goldberg, Marketing Manager at Lattice Semiconductor.

“eARC technology is a tremendous step in home theatre connectivity, as it brings vastly higher audio quality than TOSLINK or SPDIF, without the complexity of switching through an AVR device. In addition, its all-new discovery method also guarantees compatibility when products from different manufacturers are connected in a home theatre system.”

eARC makes using even the highest performance audio systems as easy as using a TV with the built-in speaker.

Key features of Lattice HDMI 2.1 SiI9437 and SiI9438 eARC ICs include:

  • Availability for both TVs and audio devices
  • Compatibility with existing HDMI transmitter or receiver ICs using any version of HDMI
  • Supports both HDMI 2.1 eARC and HDMI 1.4 legacy ARC modes with automatic ARC fallback
  • eARC control channel functions supported via I2C interface
  • 4x4mm QFN package with 0.4mm pin pitch
  • Supports eARC Data Channel, including lip sync, discovery, heartbeat, status and capabilities.

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