I have spent 4 painful days trying to solve the issues with eARC on the Q950A when paired with a Samsung TV (I have QN800A). I have finally got the eARC connection to persist and have some explains below. Hopefully someone from Samsung reads this and fixes their software.
What you need to sacrifice to get this to work:
Samsung universal remote for everything except Q950A.
CEC functionality from a non samsung device.
What the issues are:
1 - any device connected in the chain which has CEC enabled can break the earc handshake
2 - if you use samsung universal remote it will not leave the appropriate delays when turning on devices causing earc handshake to break
Steps to get a perfect earc setup:
1 - on every device except for TV disable CEC or HDMI control. Apple TV, Sky Q, Xbox, PS5. Has to be all of them.
2 - unplug all devices from tv and Soundbar and hard reset both. 950A hard reset is holding volume up and down on bar until you see INT displayed and then it says BYE.
3 - During Samsung tv setup plug everything back in (nothing into Soundbar, all into TV)
At this point samsung setup pairs things with the smart remote. But it also defaults earc to ‘off’ which is helpful for next step.
4 - once the tv is set up - do not enable earc (yet). Go to sources and universal remote and delete all sources created by Samsung so they default to HDMI 1, 2 etc. You can still rename them and add them to home just don’t use the universal remote.
5 - Turn off all HDMI inputs and turn off Soundbar.
6 - now enable earc in the menu. If it doesn’t switch on the Soundbar after this you can. It should detect earc for the first time.
7 - now turn on Xbox or PS5 - you will have to change the input manually on Samsung remote. In samsung sound settings on tv once the input is up select pass through and leave it.
Now you have an earc connection which can’t be killed by external sources. One final point:
whenever you turn on tv - make sure you turn on tv first and no other device. Soundbar should come on automatically if you have a Samsung tv - if not turn that on after tv is on. Check you have earc - if so you’re safe to turn other devices on.
I don’t know if Samsung will fix this - but I know understand why it’s not totally within their control. However it is in their control to fix pass through for multi channel LPCM and DTS-X.
make sure Xbox is set to bitstream Atmos pass through and PlayStation set to Dolby. Also make sure to change blu ray app output to bitstream within the player to get lossless Atmos.
Hope this helps someone. And I hope Samsung read it.
Solved! Go to Solution.
So far the reset procedure with all requirements works.! You have to be very carefull though to switch one input off before you switch another one on otherwise you are back to zero. (By the way, pulling all the AC plugs of the soundbar system and then inserting in the right order also worked in the past)
Somehow in the reset procedure I lost the WiFi capability of the soundbar though which was my backup when eARC HDMI failed to get sound from the system. Will investigate how to get that back..
Now let’s see if this keeps working and if Samsung will be so friendly to update their firmware for customers like me that spent Eu 5000 on a TV and soundbar…
Well, it worked for ten minutes.. I remembered that WiFi is established via Samsung Smart Things app. Once connected the eARC HDMI failed again.
The WiFi is a good backup though which at least gives you sound via the soundbar system. I think Dolby Atmos and DTS will not work in this way ( no info to be found anywhere in Samung docs about this).
Lets be honest: When the system works it sounds fantastic. Too bad it is still full of software bugs.
I replaced my ten year old Bose V30 system with this soundbar system but the Bose system never failed and always worked for over ten years with good sound quality. If Samsung does not solve these issues I will sell the soundbar and buy a new Bose system again.
Yeah the problem is without the WiFi connection you get no SmartThings app and firmware updates - damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I’ve been reading a lot about eARC implementations and CEC. It seems Sony have implanted eARC and allowed for deactivation of CEC at same time. This is actually the whole point of eARC in that you shouldn’t need to rely on CEC for device discovery but you do still need it for powering on off devices and getting volume information passed through to the TV.
if you disable CEC on the Samsung eARC option is gone so they must be relying on it.
There are meant to be CEC extensions coming (CEC 2.0) which solve compatibility problems but that could take months if not longer given how slow these bodies operate.
Even when earc is working the TV doesn’t have the full array of passthrough detection/transmission protocols it needs, moreover it struggles to handle on the fly switching between them. I imagine they force the use of CEC because they are relying on ARC fallback to bridge that gap. But their ARC fallback not only doesn’t work - it kills the eARC connection which is why we have this issue.
I would like to know what Samsung are doing to address these points specifically:
1 - the immediate issue of solving ARC fallback and eARC corruption
2 - inclusion of all eARC supported passthrough formats or at worst detection of them to allow ARC fallback
3 - I can hope - but allow the user to disable CEC completely and still utilise eARC. This is the dream that earc was meant to realise…
By the way I got around the TV connecting via WiFi by disabling WiFi on the TV in expert settings in network page (assuming you have Ethernet this is fine). You can still use SmartThings app etc but tv won’t detect the speaker as a wifi source. But that means it will fallback to TV speakers which may be worse (I just did this to eliminate all externalities)
had my main board changed in the OCB today and earc issues are solved - so anyone who has this issue I recommend getting same replacement done via Samsung. Also I would make sure the OCB is in a ventilated area and not in a cabinet. I found out that there is no fan or heat sink on the main board (just some thermal rubber pad). I now have a new issue with the screen that Samsung will sort but it’s unrelated - likely another part of the OCB that’s failed.
earc is perfect now - don’t put up with the loss of handshake you have a faulty board.
So I contacted Samsung again and they advised online support. I did get this and they did a hard reset of the OCB (deep reset plus ports reset) online and after that the eARC connection seemed to work.
Next day though it failed again after I contacted Samsung again because I suffered severe audio lag (3 sec) for my Apple TV 4K input (HDMI2 on OCB) and they advised me to reset the soundbar. After that, the eARC connection was not available anymore…
So now they say I will be contacted by a product specialist.. I do not think they will be able to solve this without an updated firmware version since I see this problem arising in more forums.
But since the new board in the OCB worked for you (it still works??) I hope I can get this too and see if it solves the problems…