The Difference Between Audio Extractors and ARC Extractors Explained

We often find that there is some confusion between what an HDMI Audio Extractor or De-Embedder is capable of, and what ARC is used for with HDMI equipment. In this blog we will be discussing the differences in function for the linked products below, and where they would generally be used.

38068 – HDMI 4K ARC Extractor with HDMI Pass-Through & CEC Emulation
38097 – HDMI 4K Audio Extractor De-Embedder with ARC & MHL

Within the HDMI standard there is an optional feature known as the Audio Return Channel, which is usually referred to as ‘ARC’. Television manufacturers will often implement this into their products in place of a headphone, optical SPDIF or digital coaxial port, this however limits what type of speakers a user can then connect.
The aim of ARC is to reduce the number of cables between a TV and AV receiver or speaker system; this is not always suitable for older equipment which may not natively support ARC. It is in this scenario where you would use our Part No. 38068, designed for ARC enabled TVs and is perfect for sending the audio from your TVs inbuilt tuner or apps such as Netflix to Optical sound bars or AV systems.
Using an HDMI cable from the HDMI ARC port on your TV to the HDMI OUT port on the 38068, this product will allow an audio signal to travel from your TV back down the HDMI cable to the ARC extractor where it will be sent out to the Optical SPDIF OUT port. Our extractor also has the additional feature of HDMI Pass-Through; this means you can still connect a source device such as a Blu-ray player or Foxtel box, without losing one of the HDMI ports on your TV. When ARC is disabled using the button on the unit, audio can travel from your source device, through the extractor to your TV as normal.

Below is a diagram showing a typical set-up with our 38068 HDMI Arc Extractor:


When you have a source device such as a bluray player or sky box, and want to send the audio from these devices to your sound bar, headphones or AV system, we would recommend an Audio Extractor. Rather than taking the sound from your TVs ARC HDMI port, it will take the audio from any HDMI source. This audio is duplicated and can then be sent out to either RCA, headphones/speakers, or to a sound bar / AV system using Optical SPDIF. The video will then carry on to your TV as normal. Should your phone support it, our 38097 Audio Extractor also has the additional function of MHL, allowing you to mirror your phone screen onto your TV. The unit also supports ARC, and works in a similar way to the 38068 but with the added benefit of extracting audio directly from the source as well as from the ARC enabled TV.

Below is a diagram showing a typical set-up with our 38097 HDMI Audio Extractor: