eARC splitter or Optical converter with eARC pass through

  • 4 July 2023
  • 3 replies

Hi folks,   I’ve recently purchased a new LG TV with eARC audio to my Sonos. That’s working fine. However, I’m half deaf and like to hook up my nice B&W headphones so I can hear the dialogue while the rest of the family listen to the Sonos. Unfortunately, the LG won’t allow me to do this. I’ve tried every conceivable setting and contacted LG. The main issue is the TV can’t walk and chew gum. When the eARC is active it trumps all other settings. There is no way to pair the headphones at the same time via the TV, or by using a Bluetooth transmitter. You can hook up the headphones and listen to the TV audio, sans Sonos, but to make that feature work I have to physically unplug the eARC to my Sonos. I have a great BT transmitter but the TV doesn’t output an optical signal when the eARC is plugged in. My 10 year old LG could do this but not the new one. LG have washed their hands of it and won’t recommend a third party solution. I’m hoping someone has had some luck with an eARC splitter with optical out.  
I bought this from Amazon thinking it would work as a pass through with optical out but no cigar. 

Tendak 4K x 2K HDMI to HDMI and Optical TOSLINK SPDIF + 3.5mm Stereo Audio Extractor Converter 


Any help greatly appreciated.


Best answer by Ken_Griffiths 4 July 2023, 17:40

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If you’re not overly bothered about Atmos audio Input to the Sonos Arc, maybe look at using an optical splitter, together with the Sonos optical-to-hdmi adapter (supplied with the Sonos Arc) and just split the TV optical output audio to both your Sonos Arc and your Bluetooth TX, or other headphone transmitter.

Here’s one example with three optical outputs:

Another with two optical outputs:

Note the above are just examples I came across, but I suggest you research the matter before making any purchase. I’ve not used such devices to truly comment on them further.

Does anyone know of something that will preserve the eArc signal to an Arc/Beam to get Atmos but to also split the audio hdmi to optical / headphone jack.

I have a bit of a similar edge case in that my son is deaf and has cochlear implants we have a TV streamer that can connect via optical / audio jack directly to his implants and at the moment we are using the optical splitter solution as described above, but that means we do lose out on Atmos when watching TV content. This allows us to mute the beam when he’s watching his kids stuff, but as a family we can listen to the audio from the Sonos and he gets the audio directly into his implants via his streamer.

For the benefit of @JSACHMO, this is the one we have and its been working flawlessly for two years - (this isn’t stocked at the moment, but the second link @Ken_Griffiths gave looks to come from the same factory)

In the grand scheme of things it’s not the end of the world but I just wondered if anyone has come across a solution that can split the signal and preserve the Atmos for the Beam. It would be amazing if manufacturers thought more of the deaf and hard of hearing when designing their devices (and this is not to have a pop at Sonos, I feel this could be a development that TV manufacturers could do to provide two digital channels of audio out from their TVs).

It’s unfortunately part of the CEC specifications ( or was, last time I looked at them), so all systems that use CEC (Sonos as a ‘sink’, but the computers that control everything in each TV set all use this), so it may be worth petitioning the consortium that controls CEC.

I don’t think, by any stretch, that your request is, at this point, unusual, just that the engineers, when setting it up, just didn’t think of the issue. 

And no, I’m not familiar enough with all hardware to know a way around this issue. I think at best, turning off CEC, which on many sets reactivates the optical circuitry, can provide a secondary non-hdmi output, to which you might hook up secondary audio equipment. But then that’s not HDMI easy, either, and not all TV sets work that way. YMMV.