Which is better optical audio or hdmi arc

Last Updated: Mar 5, 2024 by

When setting up a home theater system, one of the most important considerations is the audio connections. With so many options available, it can be overwhelming to determine which is the best choice for your setup. Two popular options are optical audio and HDMI ARC. In this article, we will explore the differences between these two audio connections and determine which is better for your home theater system.

Polk Audio Soundbar Connections

Before we dive into the specifics of optical audio and HDMI ARC, it’s important to note that the type of soundbar you have can also impact your audio connection options. For example, the Polk Audio soundbar offers both optical audio and HDMI ARC connections, making it a versatile choice for your home theater setup. This soundbar also offers other connection options such as Bluetooth and AUX, giving you even more flexibility in your audio setup.

Sight and Sound Audio Connections

When it comes to sight and sound, both optical audio and HDMI ARC offer high-quality audio connections. However, there are some key differences between the two. Optical audio, also known as TOSLINK, uses a fiber optic cable to transmit audio signals. This results in a clear and accurate sound, making it a popular choice for home theater systems. On the other hand, HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) uses an HDMI cable to transmit both audio and video signals. This allows for a single cable connection between your TV and soundbar, simplifying your setup.

Audio Quality

When it comes to audio quality, both optical audio and HDMI ARC offer high-quality sound. However, optical audio may have a slight edge in terms of clarity and accuracy. This is because the fiber optic cable used in optical audio is less susceptible to interference from other electronic devices. HDMI ARC, on the other hand, may experience some interference from other HDMI devices connected to your TV.


When it comes to compatibility, HDMI ARC has the advantage. Most modern TVs and soundbars come equipped with HDMI ARC ports, making it a convenient and widely available option. However, if your TV or soundbar does not have an HDMI ARC port, you will not be able to use this connection. On the other hand, optical audio is a more universal option and can be used with most TVs and soundbars.


So, which is better: optical audio or HDMI ARC? The answer ultimately depends on your specific setup and preferences. If you prioritize audio quality and have a TV and soundbar that are compatible with optical audio, then this may be the better option for you. However, if convenience and compatibility are your top priorities, then HDMI ARC may be the better choice. Ultimately, both options offer high-quality audio connections and can enhance your home theater experience.

Have you tried both optical audio and HDMI ARC? Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments.

Gulrukh Ch

About the Author: Gulrukh Ch

Gulrukh Chaudhary, an accomplished digital marketer and technology writer with a passion for exploring the frontiers of innovation. Armed with a Master's degree in Information Technology, Gulrukh seamlessly blends her technical prowess with her creative flair, resulting in captivating insights into the world of emerging technologies. Discover more about her on her LinkedIn profile.