ARC stands for Audio Return Channel, while eARC stands for Enhanced Audio Return Channel. The main difference between ARC and eARC is the speed and bandwidth.
eARC is implemented with HDMI 2.1 specifications, and that is the reason why I have been future-proofing my HDMI cables with Ugreen HDMI 2.1 Cable.
eARC supports up to 32 channels of audio and 24bit/192kHz uncompressed data streams at speeds of up to 38Mbps, which Dolby Atmos need. You can read more about it on What Hi-Fi?: HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: everything you need to know.
Before HDFury Arcana came into the picture, if you have an older television that supports only ARC, the only way to get Dolby Atmos is to upgrade to a new television that supports eARC.
With HDFury Arcana, it can extract the audio and video stream from an eARC device and route it accordingly. So HDFury Arcana has one input and two outputs.
Ovation United is the authorised agent in Singapore for HDFury Arcana. The recommended retail price (RRP) is S$399. Since I intend to use it in the interim till I get a new television, I decided to get mine from Carousell instead for S$220.
There is a display panel in front.
It is Made in Taiwan.
As mentioned earlier, HDFury Arcana has one input and two outputs.
All the configuration is done by using this dial.
You can plug a USB flash drive into this port and update the HDFury Arcana firmware. I did that, and it is seamless.
A very common use case for HDFury Arcana is to extract the audio stream from Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation) and route it to Sonos Arc via eARC, while the video stream is routed to the television via HDMI.
So there is a change in how you connect all the devices. Using the old way, you plug the Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation) into any HDMI port of the television, while the Sonos Arc must go into the HDMI ARC port of the television.
The new way is to connect the output HDMI port of the HDFury Arcana to any HDMI port of your television, and the output HDMI eARC port goes to Sonos Arc. The only input port of the HDFury Arcana will be connected to your Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation).
And now, you will get Dolby Atmos support for your older television.
It took me a lot of playing around to get it to work. It seems for my television, Xiaomi Mi LED TV 4S 55, the firmware v0.83 works better than the latest v0.86 because of some CEC fixes for Sony televisions. From v0.84 onwards, they added some DTS features that break the compatibility. I have no idea why they did not backport the fixes.
Now that I have the sound working, I have issues getting my Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation)’s Apple TV Remote to control the volume of my Sonos Arc.
I tried connecting all my HDMI cables to HDFury Arcana again and power cycle HDFury Arcana, Apple TV, and Mi TV 4S. All that didn’t work.
However, a simple toggle off the CEC and toggle it back on again in my Mi TV 4S HDMI settings does the trick.