New Apple TV adds ARC support for universal TV audio passthrough to HomePod speakers – 9to5Mac2 min read

https://9to5mac.com/2021/05/21/apple-tv-homepod-arc/

Apple allowed HomePods to be used as the default audio output for Apple TELEVISION with a software application upgrade released last fall. This enabled all audio from the Apple TV to be sent out to HomePod speakers, with a simulated Dolby Atmos soundstage.
With the new Apple TV 4K, tvOS supports HDMI ARC and eARC for the very first time. This suggests that all audio from all input sources can now go out over the HomePod speakers, presuming you have an ARC-compatible TV set.

What eARC/ARC enables is for an accessory linked over HDMI to be the worldwide speaker output for the TELEVISION set. This suggests that all the audio from games consoles, cable boxes, and the like can all be routed through the Apple TELEVISION output with the sound broadcast over the HomePods. With ARC support, the HomePod can be utilized to output all sound sources on the actual tv, not simply when utilizing the Apple TV itself.
This makes the Apple TELEVISION + HomePod combo a far more compelling alternative for your living room TELEVISIONs main speaker system.
To make this work, you need a second-generation Apple TELEVISION 4K, HomePod speakers, and a compatible TV set that supports HDMI ARC or eARC. You can see complete established instructions on Apples assistance page.
Abnormally for an Apple product, the “Audio Return Channel” feature is designated as “beta” in the Apple TV user interface. The most significant catch is that all default audio features on Apple TV only work with the big HomePod … the HomePod that Apple discontinued a couple of a months back. The $99 HomePod mini is sadly not supported.
The space gray HomePod sold out almost instantly after the product was stopped, but the Apple Store continues to have stock of the HomePod in white “while products last.”
The inclusion of ARC in this most current generation of Apple TV shows that Apple had bigger aspirations for the HomePod as a wireless living room speaker, prior to the item was suddenly dropped. Apples long-lasting vision for the living-room stays unclear. A report from Bloomberg previously this year showed Apple was exploring a next-generation set-top box featuring speakers and a FaceTime video camera.
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Unusually for an Apple product, the “Audio Return Channel” function is designated as “beta” in the Apple TELEVISION user interface. The biggest catch is that all default audio functions on Apple TELEVISION just work with the big HomePod … the HomePod that Apple ceased a couple of a months ago. The addition of ARC in this most current generation of Apple TELEVISION shows that Apple had bigger aspirations for the HomePod as a cordless living room speaker, prior to the product was quickly dropped.

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