Newbie home cinema HDMI advice


Hello everyone!

I have just moved into my own flat for the first time and I need some advice regarding a prospective purchase of a TV, soundbar and games console. As I am buying all of this new and at the same time, I would really like to get it right i.e. I would like all the modern technologies to work together flawlessly.

I am intending to purchase a Samsung QN94A TV (2021), a Samsung HW-Q800A soundbar (2021) and an Xbox Series X. My main question is how should these be connected together to make the most of the Xbox's Dolby Atmos and [email protected] video? I understand there is something called eARC but I do not get how it works. The TV has only 1 HDMI 2.1 output and the soundbar has 1 HDMI input and 1 HDMI output with eARC.

Dolby Atmos - The soundbar supports Atmos and although the TV does not decode Atmos, the Xbox does, so I could presumably get Atmos content (games and movies) from the Xbox. I understand Atmos sound needs to travel via eARC otherwise a loss of quality occurs.

[email protected] video and VRR - The Xbox can output high quality high refresh rate video with VRR. However, I read the soundbar cannot pass-through [email protected] so presumably to get this quality video, the Xbox needs to be directly connected to the TV's HDMI 2.1 port. However, how would the TV then pass sound from the Xbox to the soundbar? On the assumption the eARC is only available through the single HDMI 2.1 port (taken up by the Xbox), then the TV would need to get connect to the soundbar via a HDMI 2.0 port and Atmos quality would be lost?

From what I can see, it appears there is a trade-off between having Dolby Atmos sound and having [email protected] video from the Xbox because of having only one HDMI 2.1 on the TV. I do hope I am wrong though!

Thank you very much in advance for your help. I hope my questions make sense!


Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
eARC - allows you to send audio from the TV (and Source devices connected to the TV) ’Out’ to a compatible Sound system.

Source > TV then TV eARC > Sound system eARC is potentially your best connectivity if you want Atmos etc

Sound system - Soundbar has become the ‘norm’ for many, they are not what I would tend to use though, I prefer an amp plus speakers.

Room - an idea of your Room and Room layout is handy when considering the ideal sound system.

Gaming - as above your layout and typical seating arrangement for a gaming rig can be quite different to what you would use for movie and TV viewing.


PS Best to be explicit about which model of Sansung you are considering as Specs can change at different sizes within a model range.

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