A soundbar with HDMI ARC is a great choice for getting a completely immersive audio experience from your TV.
The HDMI ARC (High Definition Multimedia Interface Audio Return Channel) feature helps to simplify operations and reduce the number of cables you use.
Whereas the traditional HDMI allows for one-way communication between devices (input or output), HDMI ARC enables two-way transmission of video and audio signals between your TV and soundbar.
The HDMI ARC feature also allows you to control both devices using one remote. That is, you can switch your soundbar on or off by simply switching your TV on or off. Similarly, you can control the volume of the soundbar by controlling the volume of your TV.
Considering the added comfort and simplicity that comes with the HDMI ARC feature, opting for devices that have the feature is a smart decision.
Best Soundbars with HDMI ARC: Our Top 6 Picks
While HDMI ARC is a fairly new feature, more and more soundbars on the market now come with it. And with many such options to choose from, making the right choice can be difficult.
We spent several hours comparing soundbars with the HDMI ARC feature – with the aim of helping you make the right choice. Our comparison was based on not just the HDMI ARC feature, but also on performance, durability, brand reputation, and buyer reviews.
And here are our top picks.
1. Samsung Harman Kardon HW-Q80R
From Samsung & Harman Kardon is the HW-Q80R, a high-end soundbar perfect for any QLED TV.
This soundbar is a great option is you’re looking to connect multiple sound sources like your Blu-ray, Roku, cable box, etc. It comes with HDMI ARC, a feature that simplifies your setup and reduces your need for more cables. With this port, you can use a single HDMI connection to send audio from your TV and other devices to the soundbar.
But its impressive features don’t stop there. This 5.1.2 channel system features 13 built-in speakers placed at strategic positions to give your multi-dimensional cinematic audio. To ensure a smooth and perfect sound performance is the Wireless Subwoofer.
The subwoofer delivers the powerful bass of the entire sound system. You also get Dolby Atmos & DTS:X surround systems and Adaptive Sound technology. These features automatically enhance voice clarity even on low volumes.
Gamers get a dedicated Game Mode Pro feature that optimizes game sound effects in real-time to boost your gaming experience. The soundbar also offers 4K pass-through option with HDR10 compatibility. This feature allows you to match your UHD HDR video with high definition audio.
An extra feature is Alexa compatibility which is spot-on since it gives you the freedom to operate the soundbar without having to pick up the remote. This feature will not only play your favorite songs on voice command, but it will also help you remember your favorite songs. If by chance you forget the title of that track that lights up your mood, you can simply say a few lines of the song’s lyrics, and the soundbar will handle the rest.
You should have no issues setting up this soundbar especially if you have a Samsung TV. If you don’t, the setup process is still easy and you should be done in less than 10 minutes.
- Premium build quality
- Setup is very simple
- Adaptive sound mode helps with better voice clarity
- Built-in Wi-Fi Bluetooth works flawlessly
- The soundbar is very heavy
- Speakers lack auto-calibration and test tone features
2. Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar
For a great sound system that won’t break the bank, works well with 4K & HD TVs and comes with HMDI ARC, the Polk Audio Signa S2 Ultra-Slim TV Sound Bar is the option you can never go wrong with. Here, you will see an awesome build quality that you only get to see in premium devices. The impressive build quality sure gives the assurance that the device will last you more than a few years. It will also fit well with the aesthetics of your entertainment center and boost the decor of your entire room.
Measuring 35 inches long and 2 inches tall, this ultra-slim soundbar delivers incredible room-filling surround sound that dwarfs whatever you would hear from your TV speakers. One of its most impressive features is its universal compatibility. It works well with 4K and HD TVs providing exceptional contrast and clarity at all times.
To deliver excellent sound, the soundbar comes with 5 powerful full-range drivers that easily compete with any soundbar with double the price tag. To ensure you get the richest dialogue and no voice delays, Polks equipped this device with its own Voice Adjust Technology and Dolby Digital Decoding. Added is a subwoofer to deliver rich and powerful bass. The subwoofer is 100% wireless and it will pair with any smart device including your mobile phone or tablet.
The setup process is effortless even without reading the manual. But if this is your first time setting up a soundbar, you should go through the manual first.
- The soundbar compact and lightweight at 3.9 pounds
- Exceptional sound performance
- HDMI ARC allows for easier sound control
- No dedicated game mode
- Limited sound customizations
3. Sony HT-S350 Soundbar with Wireless Subwoofer
If you’re only interested in buying from big brands, then you will love this Sony HT-S350. The best news about it is that it is very affordable even with its high spec sheet. But this should come as no surprise considering it is a 2.1 channel soundbar system. Still, there are many perks to enjoy from this soundbar all thanks to Sony being generous with its features.
This soundbar features an impressive design with elegant contours that will perfectly complement your TV and the entire entertainment area. The sound features are also just as good. It features 7 sound modes – auto sound, music, cinema, game, news, sports, and standard audio mode. These modes allow you to optimize for voice clarity depending on the content you’re viewing.
There is also a voice enhancement feature that boosts audio frequencies by isolating voices and amplifying them above background noise for better clarity. Another impressive add-on is the S-Force PRO Front Surround. This is Sony’s own surround sound technology that should give you an immersive sound experience without the need for additional rear speakers.
You also get more power from the 6.30 inches subwoofer. This wireless subwoofer allows for Bluetooth streaming of your favorite movies, shows, and music. For connectivity, you get the HDMI ARC port and the optical input port.
Lastly, this soundbar is wall-mountable. This comes as a plus if you want to reduce clutter on your TV shelf, stand, or if you don’t have somewhere to set it up. It is also easy to set up. Putting all these impressive sound features together with its tactile metal finish and premium design, this soundbar would make a good addition to your entertainment center.
- 7 sound modes for every content
- Voice enhancement features boost voice clarity
- Easy to set up
- 320W total power output makes for great sound performance
- The soundbar is quite heavy at 28 pounds
- Not compatible with all TV types
4. Bose 5.1 Home Theater Set
While affordable models might give you that cinematic sound you’re looking for, nothing beats the excellent and immersive sound experience you will get from a high-end soundbar and sound system. Though they do cost a lot more, their great sound performance is usually worth the investment. One of such premium soundbars and notably the best performing soundbar from Bose is the Bose Soundbar 700.
This 5.1 home theater set comes with all the right features including a powerful subwoofer and rear speakers for the best surround sound performance. It also has that high-end design which features a tempered-glass top and metal grill with clean lines. It also comes with powerful drivers and technology to deliver clear and spacious sounds thereby bringing life to your entertainment.
The soundbar itself would make do for your audio needs. It comes with built-in voice assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa. It is also Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Apple Airplay 2 compatible allowing to wirelessly stream any content of choice not just from your mobile devices but also from music services like Spotify. If you want to move the sound to your headphones, you can easily do that with the Bose SimpleSync technology. It allows you to pair with your headphones without having to plug in an audio cord. An extra feature that would come in handy for music lovers is the Bose Music app. This app allows you to personalize your experience and keep and control your tracks from one place.
If you want more power, you can always add the subwoofer and surround rear speakers. The wireless subwoofer features a powerful driver that delivers rich and clear sounds allowing you to feel the impact of pulse-pounding scenes. It also features quietport technology that eliminates distortion and improves clarity. The small rear speakers are designed to bring full immersive surround sound.
The entire setup process is straightforward and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. If you prefer to mount the soundbar on the wall, you can make use of the Bose soundbar wall bracket.
- Features a premium design that will accentuate your room’s decor
- Sound delivery is smooth and clear
- Built-in voice assistants
- Comes with quiet port technology that eliminates distortion and boosts clarity
- No Dolby Atmos
5. TCL Alto 7+ 2.1 Channel Home Theater Sound Bar
The TCL Alto 7+ is proof that you don’t have to break the bank to get the best quality sound system on the market. Featuring a minimalistic design that is sure to accentuate the decor of your room, this 2.1 channel home theater set will surely provide you with a clean and loud sound even at the lowest volumes.
As expected, the TCL Alto 7+ has fewer sound modes than top models, but they are just enough for every user. These sound models are music, movies, and news and they will allow you to follow every dialogue and hear every instrument and detail with clarity. There are also built-in tweeters to ensure that sound production and delivery remains superb. Along with the tweeters are dual 4.5 full-range drivers for better audio. Altogether, this soundbar has a total power output of 160W.
For an even better sound performance is the wireless subwoofer. It not only boosts the feel of the sound but also the clarity and volume. It is entirely wireless so you can stream with any Bluetooth-enabled device.
For connectivity, you get the HDMI ARC port and an optical port. An extra feature is the IR pass-through cable you get with the sound system. This cable allows you to access the controls with your TV remote.
Setting up the soundbar is also very easy. It can be placed on the shelf or mounted on a wall. If you prefer your soundbar mounted, you can make use of the wall mounting kit that comes with the soundbar. The TCL Alto 7+ is lightweight and measures 36.2 x 3.9 x 2.5 inches.
- The soundbar is lightweight and compact
- Delivers distortion-free sound at all volume levels
- Impressive design
- Easy to setup
- Fewer sound modes
- Not ideal for large rooms
6. Denon DHT-S216 Home Theater Soundbar
The Denon DHT-S216 Home Theater Soundbar is an affordable option for anyone on a tight budget. It is designed to pump theater-quality audio into your music and movies. It features dual 1.75″ x 3.5″ mid-range drivers and dual 1″ tweeters that make for a great audio listening experience.
This soundbar is a single system. It is not accompanied by a subwoofer or rear speakers as with most models from other brands. However, it is powerful enough to deliver great sound without the extra speakers. Instead of an external subwoofer, it is equipped with two built-in down-firing subwoofers for enhanced bass.
Thanks to features like the Dialogue Enhancer, it can produce enhanced virtual surround sound and better dialogue clarity even at low volumes. Extra features like DTS Virtual:X and pre-set EQ modes allow for custom listening experiences on all content. As with affordable soundbars, the Denon DHT-S216 Home Theater Soundbar comes with only 3 preset EQ modes – movies, music, and night.
What more? This soundbar is universally compatible which means it will work with all HD and 4K TVs. To connect your TV, you get an HDMI ARC port. This also allows you to connect the soundbar through your TV’s remote control. The Denon DHT-S216 Home Theater Soundbar also allows for wireless streaming. It features Bluetooth connectivity allowing you to stream your music and movies from any Bluetooth-enabled device to the soundbar.
Featuring a slim-profile design and measuring just 2 inches tall, the Denon DHT-S216 Home Theater Soundbar is super easy to set up. It can also be wall-mounted and comes with a mounting template to help you get things right. Overall, the soundbar measures 4.7 x 35 x 2.35 inches and weighs 7.48 pounds.
- Fully compatible with all 4K and HD TVs
- Features powerful internal subwoofers with boosted sound performance
- Impressive sound production and delivery
- Limited pre-set EQ modes
- Not ideal for large rooms with high volume requirement
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