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Meet Arc, Brilliant sound for your TV

Meet Arc, Brilliant sound for your TV

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The connection via HDMI-ARC has a handshake to communicate with the TV to understand if it’s plugged into the correct port. It reads that to determine that the HDMI signal is coming from the TV, and you need to be connected to the HDMI-ARC port on the TV if you want to use straight HDMI-ARC or eARC with the Arc or Beam. Use the Sonos Optical to HDMI adapter if you need skip the TV for any reason. From what I’ve heard, Arc won’t strip out an audio signal from straight HDMI if you connect that in.
 

 

Rysn S/others from Sonos - Is it okay to mount the Arc above a TV (like the Playbar) or does it really have to be mounted below the TV given the up firing speakers?

The Arc should be below the TV in best practices. Because of the up firing speakers, you need them to be a good amount of distance from the ceiling in order for the “arc” to get to your seated position. Arc doesn’t support being flipped or having multiple orientations like the Playbar. 

 

 

Well that will require me to do some drywall repair when I remove the Playbar… but I’ll view it as a fun project!

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I’ve been eagerly waiting for this announcement and as I have been skimming all the articles  I can find there is still one question I have.

Does the Arc allow us to add more surround speakers now? Or are we still stuck with just having the two rears?
I know the Arc has the upward firing speakers but was really expecting to be able to add another couple of Sonos One’s.

 

Well the other question is coming up is will the Sonos Arc really receive the HDMI direct like those soundbars …. there seems to be inconsistent answers.   It would take someone plugging and HDMI direct into a Beam to see if really will or not.

But assuming then it doesn’t work - a lot of switches already will extract HDMI ARC so just a matter of time before you can get a switch to do the eARC to the Sonos Arc (mouthful there).

The example Switch had 4 inputs and 2 ouputs (of which one currently can be ARC …. just need updated version that will also do eARC)…. at about $50 a lot cheaper then replacing TV.

A lot of hypotheticals right now - I’m sure a lot of creative solutions coming to get eARC ability for people on many things not just Sonos.   So a TV not having eARC shouldn’t be the biggest concern.

 

I think what you really need for Atmos is a TV with HDMI Arc that can do Dolby Digital Plus.  TrueHD (the format you need eArc for) is a Blu-ray only lossless format.  Most people are going to want to listen to Atmos content off Netflix/Apple TV/Roku and none of those support TrueHD.  The difference between True HD and a lossy format (Dolby Digital Plus) that does Atmos is probably going to be negligible on a Sonos soundbar.  I can’t imagine that will be detectable with the naked ear.  If you told me you had a 7.1+ system with speakers in your ceiling and spent 10K+ on it, then I’d believe True HD begins to make a difference, but I won’t believe it makes a difference on a soundbar until I hear it.  So, I really don’t think the eArc piece is significant at all.  Now if you don’t have HDMI Arc and the ability to pass Dolby Digital Plus, that will be a problem for Atmos. 

 

I can’t say I’ve listen to TrueHD and DD+ and be know if I can hear the diference.  I am glad though that the Arc has eARC though, because even though streaming srouces are DD+, they may adopt TrueHD later on.

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My current setup is 5.1 consists of Sonos Beam, Sonos Sub (gen 2) and 2 rear Sonos Play 1. If I were to replace the Sonos Beam with Sonos Arc. Will the setup still work flawlessly? Can I utilise the Sonos App S2?

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as far as I see we are still at the Arc, plus 2 surrounds, plus sub.

However, with Dolby Atmos the surrounds are going to be getting a lot more information and should in theory provide a much more immersive experience (not to mention the upward firing speakers are like another set added).

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donkuok - yes your S2 ready now and you will still be S2 ready.

You can drop the Arc in as a replacement for the Beam and leave all the same (you’ll be adding more speakers in the Arc as well as its upward firing speakers, Dolby Digital Plus capability and Atmos along with that).

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donkuok - yes your S2 ready now and you will still be S2 ready.

You can drop the Arc in as a replacement for the Beam and leave all the same (you’ll be adding more speakers in the Arc as well as its upward firing speakers, Dolby Digital Plus capability and Atmos along with that).

Cool banana. Thanks to Chris for your explanation.  Looks like this is going to be a worthy upgrade for me in the next 3 months.

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Well the other question is coming up is will the Sonos Arc really receive the HDMI direct like those soundbars …. there seems to be inconsistent answers.   It would take someone plugging and HDMI direct into a Beam to see if really will or not.

But assuming then it doesn’t work - a lot of switches already will extract HDMI ARC so just a matter of time before you can get a switch to do the eARC to the Sonos Arc (mouthful there).

The example Switch had 4 inputs and 2 ouputs (of which one currently can be ARC …. just need updated version that will also do eARC)…. at about $50 a lot cheaper then replacing TV.

A lot of hypotheticals right now - I’m sure a lot of creative solutions coming to get eARC ability for people on many things not just Sonos.   So a TV not having eARC shouldn’t be the biggest concern.

 

I think what you really need for Atmos is a TV with HDMI Arc that can do Dolby Digital Plus.  TrueHD (the format you need eArc for) is a Blu-ray only lossless format.  Most people are going to want to listen to Atmos content off Netflix/Apple TV/Roku and none of those support TrueHD.  The difference between True HD and a lossy format (Dolby Digital Plus) that does Atmos is probably going to be negligible on a Sonos soundbar.  I can’t imagine that will be detectable with the naked ear.  If you told me you had a 7.1+ system with speakers in your ceiling and spent 10K+ on it, then I’d believe True HD begins to make a difference, but I won’t believe it makes a difference on a soundbar until I hear it.  So, I really don’t think the eArc piece is significant at all.  Now if you don’t have HDMI Arc and the ability to pass Dolby Digital Plus, that will be a problem for Atmos. 

 

I can’t say I’ve listen to TrueHD and DD+ and be know if I can hear the diference.  I am glad though that the Arc has eARC though, because even though streaming srouces are DD+, they may adopt TrueHD later on.

I’ve heard both.  I don't want to knock Sonos, but I think if you really cared about listening to TrueHD lossless audio, you’d be looking at a far more expensive Atmos plan that involved separately placed very expensive wired speakers in your ceiling.  For instance, I heard the comparison on a system where each speaker cost more than this entire soundbar and I could barely, if at all, tell the difference.   I just don’t see how a soundbar reflecting audio off your ceiling is going to really benefit from TrueHD vs. DD+.  It’s an incremental benefit even with a very expensive system (think about lossless audio vs. audio with high bit rates -- it’s very hard to hear the difference unless you are a true audiophile and have the right equipment).  And sure the streaming services may offer it someday, but it massively expands the size of a movie file.  Everyone is going to need 2 gig internet before we are going to be seeing 66-100 gig movies streaming over the internet.  Right now a Netflix 4K movie is 7GB per hour (or 14-21 GB for a 2-3 hour movie) max.

Here’s an explanation: 

“Dolby offers two different 7.1 surround versions. Dolby Digital Plus is the “lossy” version. Instead of using matrixing, it applies lossy compression to all of the discrete audio channels, which helps to take up less space on a Blu-ray disc. Dolby TrueHD, on the other hand, is lossless. Since no compression is involved, Dolby TrueHD is intended to be identical to the studio master.”

Anyway this is a long way of saying, I think you will really enjoy this soundbar and get 99% of its benefit from DD+/HDMI Arc, even if you don’t have eARC.  I don’t think we need to be sweating that issue too much.

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I did a little research as the TV I bought last year still didn’t have eARC.

Looks like for full uncompressed Dolby Digital TruHD Atmos you need eArc.

But with regular ARC you get Dolby Digital Plus (compressed version) Atmos.    This makes it compatible with most TVs after about 2016.

I just played Disney+ on my TV and say it is coming in as DD+ as I would want (but TV transcoding to DD for the Beam).

I think this statement is generally true, unless your source is an Apple TV 4K.  From my understanding, the ATV will NOT pass the Atmos stream with DD+, but rather within a MAT container which requires eARC (specifies on Apple website that you need higher bandwidth). Apple encourages a direct connection to the soundbar, which obviously requires multiple HDMI ports vs. the Arc’s one.  

Sadly for me, this makes it a non-starter at the moment, as my 2018 QLED does not have eARC and my wife and kids are well entrenched in using Apple TV for nearly everything, so replacing that is really not an option (and my TV is otherwise perfectly fine). 

Not trying to rain on parades, but hadn’t seen the ATV thing quoted here and since a lot of people use this, would be something you need to know up front before purchasing. 

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I did a little research as the TV I bought last year still didn’t have eARC.

Looks like for full uncompressed Dolby Digital TruHD Atmos you need eArc.

But with regular ARC you get Dolby Digital Plus (compressed version) Atmos.    This makes it compatible with most TVs after about 2016.

I just played Disney+ on my TV and say it is coming in as DD+ as I would want (but TV transcoding to DD for the Beam).

I think this statement is generally true, unless your source is an Apple TV 4K.  From my understanding, the ATV will NOT pass the Atmos stream with DD+, but rather within a MAT container which requires eARC (specifies on Apple website that you need higher bandwidth). Apple encourages a direct connection to the soundbar, which obviously requires multiple HDMI ports vs. the Arc’s one.  

Sadly for me, this makes it a non-starter at the moment, as my 2018 QLED does not have eARC and my wife and kids are well entrenched in using Apple TV for nearly everything, so replacing that is really not an option (and my TV is otherwise perfectly fine). 

Not trying to rain on parades, but hadn’t seen the ATV thing quoted here and since a lot of people use this, would be something you need to know up front before purchasing. 

Did not know that about the Apple TV… that is a huge bummer.  I see that now on ATV’s support page: “Apple TV 4K uses a high bandwidth form of Dolby Atmos that doesn’t work over ARC connections.”

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So far, there are no Sonos products that accept HDMI. Only HDMI-ARC, and now eARC, and of course the older optical.

This.

I have an Nvidia Shield connected to my brand new TV through the wall via HDMI. Why in the world would I want to run two cables to my TV just to get ARC to work into what was going to be an easy upgrade from my Playbar to the new Arc with an HDMI splitter. I’m baffled at this decision. I so wanted to get Atmos and a regular HDMI connection rather than my HDMI to optical splitter. A passthrough could have solved this. Honestly - leave my TV out of this equation. Just play whatever audio is being sent to you via HDMI instead of requiring ARC. #sad

Happy to buy now if there’s a different solution available. Based on this thread - there are a lot of folks with this same confusion.

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Great news about the ARC. Ordered mine today!  :hugging:  Selling one of my Playbars. 

Can’t justify upgrading my Play 5’s or Subs at this time.

IMO the audio “enhancements” for the Five don’t appear to be a game changer as they were for the Play 5 (Gen2) vs Play 5 (Gen1).  Besides my Play 5’s are bonded to a sub for low-end.

I’m not a bass-head with music and current subs do well with movies. I suspect the ARC coupled with the current Sub (gen1 or 2) and Sonos One’s or SL’s will be a great improvement overall.  At least that’s what I’ve told myself. :slight_smile:

Cheers!

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The Arc indicates voice control capability.  It also indicates support for Amazon Prime Music.  But  can not find if it supports Alexa like my Beam.  I have a Beam Surround +L/R Ones (not SL).  I know the Ones have Alexa but it’s disabled in Surround configuration.  Anyone see information on this?

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The Arc indicates voice control capability.  It also indicates support for Amazon Prime Music.  But  can not find if it supports Alexa like my Beam.  I have a Beam Surround +L/R Ones (not SL).  I know the Ones have Alexa but it’s disabled in Surround configuration.  Anyone see information on this?

The Ones’ Alexa is not disabled in a surround configuration (I have 3 setups with Ones in surround and use Alexa all the time with them).  I also think the Arc does have Alexa.

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The Arc indicates voice control capability.  It also indicates support for Amazon Prime Music.  But  can not find if it supports Alexa like my Beam.  I have a Beam Surround +L/R Ones (not SL).  I know the Ones have Alexa but it’s disabled in Surround configuration.  Anyone see information on this?

The Ones’ Alexa is not disabled in a surround configuration (I have 3 setups with Ones in surround and use Alexa all the time with them).  I also think the Arc does have Alexa.

Thank you.  I finally found a single section that also confirmed support for Alexa built-in.

Have you ever tried saying the wake-word closely to the One’s without letting the Beam ‘hear’ you.  I couldn’t get that to activate and the only response when talking louder is always the Beam.

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The Arc indicates voice control capability.  It also indicates support for Amazon Prime Music.  But  can not find if it supports Alexa like my Beam.  I have a Beam Surround +L/R Ones (not SL).  I know the Ones have Alexa but it’s disabled in Surround configuration.  Anyone see information on this?

The Ones’ Alexa is not disabled in a surround configuration (I have 3 setups with Ones in surround and use Alexa all the time with them).  I also think the Arc does have Alexa.

Thank you.  I finally found a single section that also confirmed support for Alexa built-in.

Have you ever tried saying the wake-word closely to the One’s without letting the Beam ‘hear’ you.  I couldn’t get that to activate and the only response when talking louder is always the Beam.

It may be that when you pair the Ones with a Beam, the Beam replies to the Alexa commands.  But with a Playbar (which obviously has no Alexa), the Ones do all of the Alexa work/do function as the Alexa device in surround mode.  

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I can’t believe there’s no HDMI passthrough.  I have an expensive OLED TV from just a few years ago that doesn’t support Atmos or eArc.  So, I’d have to buy a new TV to get the best sound with Arc.   

yep..same.  I bought a 65 inch Samsung Q9FN in early 2019...and it is not able to passthrough anything except DD.  

I’ve tired these splitters before and this leads to sync issues…

 

Not looking good for me...I’d rather keep my existing tv and beam rather than fork up for a new soundbar and tv.

 

@Ryan - Someone earlier in this thread mentioned you could use the existing PlayBar mount, which I found surprising. Can you confirm if you can repurpose the playbar mount or need to purchase the new one for sale?

 

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Ryan S.  - Any issues with pairing the Sub gen 2 to the Arc?  Any decreased functionality now?  Just ordered 2 Arcs and want to make sure I don’t need to upgrade my subs yet. 

Hope you love them! No issues to worry about at all. Arc will need products to be running Sonos S2, which the Sub gen2 is fully compatible with.

 

Hi Ryan, interested in upgrading to Arc, I have a sub but no idea if it’s a gen1 or gen2 how can I tell?

I wonder if one day we could listen to the real Atmos sound, with additional Sonos speakers acting as a surround. 7.1?

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Well the other question is coming up is will the Sonos Arc really receive the HDMI direct like those soundbars …. there seems to be inconsistent answers.   It would take someone plugging and HDMI direct into a Beam to see if really will or not.

But assuming then it doesn’t work - a lot of switches already will extract HDMI ARC so just a matter of time before you can get a switch to do the eARC to the Sonos Arc (mouthful there).

The example Switch had 4 inputs and 2 ouputs (of which one currently can be ARC …. just need updated version that will also do eARC)…. at about $50 a lot cheaper then replacing TV.

A lot of hypotheticals right now - I’m sure a lot of creative solutions coming to get eARC ability for people on many things not just Sonos.   So a TV not having eARC shouldn’t be the biggest concern.

 

I spent a lot of time looking a few months ago and could not find any HDMI switches that would *generate* ARC output (use-case is a projector that doesn’t support ARC). Many HDMI switches will *accept* ARC input from one off their output ports (since ARC goes backward compared to normal input/output designations) and send that audio as the audio channel of normal HDMI and/or send the ARC channel back to active inputs (say a receiver). But none of the normal ones I found would create ARC from a normal HDMI audio input which is what the Beam requires when you don’t have a TV that will generate the ARC signal. The Beam won’t play audio from a normal HDMI signal - as others have noted it acts as a source device that outputs video and consumes audio over ARC only from what I tested.

I did find exactly one device that would generate an ARC signal either from a normal HDMI signal or from an optical input: https://www.sct.com.tw/ARC01.html The key is the embed functionality (as extract is common). There is no US distributor so I had to order direct from the manufacturer. The device works as advertised with my Beam. My original goal was to get HDMI-CEC working; I have not succeeded at that yet - but it may have to do with other issues in the HDMI switches I have connected. I haven’t diagnosed those yet to see if HDMI-CEC + ARC is viable for the beam with a non-ARC projector.

The ARC01 doesn’t support eHDMI; but I assume a similar device with eARC support would be required to use the Sonos Arc with a non-ARC TV/projector. It also doesn’t look like this functionality is common or widely-sought after given the lack of support in normal HDMI switches. It is too bad Sonos is sticking with a pure-eARC/ARC strategy unless they are willing to also produce useful converters. Love the speakers but dancing around limitations like ARC, lack of DTS support, etc is unfortunate when comparing to other options at this price point.

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I was wondering about the position thing if below better or now - thanks Ryan.

So sounds like no direct HDMI ability only ARC.   Hopefully eARC extractors aren’t far off for those without eARC TVs (majority)

I already posted earlier that those extractors don't work like that.

Currently, audio extractors either strip the audio signal off and deliver it over optical/RCA, or when you activate ARC, they behave like an ARC capable switch. Meaning they take the ARC coming back from the video device and distribute it over the inputs. They don't create an ARC from the stripped audio on one input and distribute it to the others. And yes, I have tested that. 

So for me, owning a device that does neither ARC or eARC, I am s.o.l. as they say.

 

So we are not "just" waiting for an audio extractor that supports eARC. As @Airgetlam mentioned, we are waiting for a device that can do what the TV does, take multiple HDMI inputs and pretend it is a TV, generating an (e)ARC to send back to an audio device and forwarding the video to a non-(e)ARC capable video device. Given that ARC has been around for some years now and there is no extractor that does this, I'm assuming there is no market for such a thing, or it is too much of a technical challenge to execute and be profitable.

 

I wonder if that will change going forward, since there are fairly many new TVs that still don't support eARC.

 

edit: I just saw above that apparently there is such a device, but not for eARC yet. But r@JeffDs post, not easy to come by.

 

 

 

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Looks like Sonos have designed a great product. It’s a little longer than I was expecting (hoping) for my room but everything looks well thought out. The inclusion of eARC is going to finally make lip sync issues history if everything plays together properly. Currently own a Playbase, will be looking to move this to our bedroom if the sound quality is an improvement, which I’m sure it will be.

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I have a Apple TV 4K with support for Dolby Atmos. My TV does not support Dolby Atmos, neither eARC. It has support for ARC.

Will I get Dolby Atmos anyways, or does the lack of the support on my TV disable this? And if i understand everything correctly, I cannot connect several HDMI-devices directly to the Arc, everything needs to go through my TV?

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Unfortunately, yes. Although I touched on a different aspect of it, that is more or less my gripe, too. Although Sonos has finally closed the "gap" they had by including support for the latest codecs and the latest connectivity, they still very much rely on the TV to do a part of the work. 

While it is an understandable decision if you are standing in Sonos' shoes, it will also lead for some use cases to not be supported out of the box, like my non-ARC projector or older TVs that don't support Atmos or eARC. Undoubtedly, like with the previous Playbar/base and Beam, some people will be surprised to see that it doesn't "just work" as many would expect at this price point. Hence my disappointment with not having HDMI In/Out, which would increase the number of potential use cases and solve at least some issues regarding TVs that do not support eARC or any of the audioformats.

 

Still I have to point out I'm excited about the Arc. I was even tentatively looking at projectors that do ARC, so I could at least benefit from Atmos over DD+, but I don't think everyone in my household would agree with a double investment like that...

 

 

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