Sony AV receivers and soundbars get HDMI eARC update

Sony has joined Onkyo and Pioneer in their early support of Enhanced Audio Return Channel (or eARC), which is a next-gen ARC feature being implemented in the upcoming HDMI 2.1 specification, and essentially a way for high bitrate formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to be transmitted between your TV and soundbar or AV receiver.

All three of Sony’s Dolby Atmos- and DTS:X-supporting soundbars – the Award-winning HT-ST5000, the HT-ZF9 and the HT-XF9000 – can now be updated to receive eARC compatibility, as can the brand’s STR-DH790 and also-Award-winning STR-DN1080 AV receivers.

The update ensures they can play ball with eARC-compatible TVs, such as Sony’s AF9 and ZF9 models.

In the case of the HT-ZF9 soundbar, the update will also gift it Amazon Alexa voice control, available in English, French and German languages, with Italian and Spanish coming soon. Alexa functionality will allow users to control playback and adjust volume using their voice.

Devices connected to the internet should update automatically over the air, although those wishing to update via USB can download it here.


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Becky Roberts

Becky is the managing editor of What Hi-Fi? and, since her recent move to Melbourne, also the editor of Australian Hi-Fi magazine. During her 10 years in the hi-fi industry, she has been fortunate enough to travel the world to report on the biggest and most exciting brands in hi-fi and consumer tech (and has had the jetlag and hangovers to remember them by). In her spare time, Becky can often be found running, watching Liverpool FC and horror movies, and hunting for gluten-free cake.