HDMI 2.1 Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) chipset

December 01, 2017 // By Graham Prophet
With features including self-discovery, self-configuration and fully automatic HDMI audio link setup for home-theatre designs, Lattice Semiconductor has added the SiI9437 and SiI9438, HDMI 2.1 compliant Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) audio receiver and transmitter devices.

eARC, Lattice comments, offers significant enhancements over ARC by improving sound bar, AV Receiver setup, and user experience while supporting more audio formats including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos. It delivers the highest digital audio performance available, up to 37 Mbits/second, is designed for future compatibility with HDMI 2.1 televisions and home theatre products, and has built-in lip sync.

 

Lattice is a founder, contributor, and adopter of the HDMI Specification, including the HDMI 2.1 products supporting eARC technology. The eARC feature makes the audio device work seamlessly with the TV. The device selection and volume control are performed by the TV remote, as if no audio device is attached at all. eARC uses two pins within the HDMI cable – the same pins intended for the HDMI Ethernet Channel feature – to transmit the low-jitter, high-bandwidth audio, and also bi-directional communication signals, which discover and control the audio feature. This is a great improvement over the old TOSLINK and SPDIF audio outputs, which require a separate cable and connector, and lack the ability to communicate between the audio device and TV.

 

eARC makes using even the highest performance audio systems as easy as using a TV with the built-in speaker. Key features of Lattice HDMI 2.1 SiI9437 and SiI9438 eARC ICs include:

- availability for both TVs and audio devices

- compatibility with existing HDMI transmitter or receiver ICs using any version of HDMI

- support for both HDMI 2.1 eARC and HDMI 1.4 legacy ARC modes with automatic ARC fallback

- eARC control channel functions supported via I 2C interface

- 4 x 4mm QFN package with 0.4 mm pin pitch

- supports eARC Data Channel, including lip sync, discovery, heartbeat, status and capabilities

 

Lattice; www.latticesemi.com/Solutions/Solutions/Standards/HDMI21earc and www.latticesemi.com/Products/ASSPs/HDMI21eARC.aspx