Currently, the best audio systems in the market rely on HDMI to increase the sound quality that they can provide, and be able to support higher audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio. However, newer audio systems may not be compatible with all display devices, especially if they’re older models. 

HDMI audio extractors can help bridge that gap. With HDMI audio extractors and the right adapters, you can connect your modern audio systems to any display device.

What is an HDMI Audio Extractor?

A HDMI audio extractor separates audio from the incoming HDMI signals. Audio can be extracted and output to an audio system, such as your ARC soundbar, home theater, or multimedia speaker.

Typically, HDMI audio extractors have at least one HDMI input port, one HDMI output port, and one audio output port. You can use your input ports for your gaming consoles (PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, etc.), DVD & Blu Ray players, cable boxes, or others. On the other hand, your output port is where you plug in your 4K TV, monitor, or other display devices. And lastly, the audio output port is where you plug in your sound system.

Why do you need an HDMI Audio Extractor?

You may find HDMI audio extractors useful if your TV or display doesn't have an HDMI Input or an HDMI ARC/eARC port, or if it only has an analog audio output (such as a pair of RCA jacks or a 3.5mm audio jack). By using an HDMI audio extractor, you can connect an HDMI source to a TV or display and enjoy the audio through a soundbar or an external audio system.

Here’s a deeper dive as to why you might need an HDMI audio extractor. 

  • Your TV is an older model.
  • Some older TVs and displays don't have an HDMI input, which means you can't directly connect an HDMI source (such as a Blu-ray player or a cable box) to the TV or display. An HDMI audio extractor, with the right adapters, allows you to connect an HDMI source to a TV or display that doesn't have an HDMI input by extracting the audio from the HDMI signal and outputting it to an audio system.

  • Your TV only has an analog output.
  • Even if your TV or display has an HDMI input, it doesn’t instantly mean that you can use it for HDMI audio devices. You might still get stuck with an analog output, such as a 3.5mm audio jack or a pair of RCA jacks. An HDMI audio extractor will allow you to connect an HDMI source to a TV or display that only has an analog audio output and extract audio to an external sound system.

  • You want to use an ARC/eARC audio system.
  • If you have an ARC/eARC soundbar, you’re going to want to use it to amplify the audio from your TV or display. Since HDMI ARC/eARC sound systems require an HDMI port that supports ARC/eARC technology, it is not widely available on all display devices. To connect your ARC soundbar, you either need a display device that has an HDMI ARC/eARC port or an HDMI audio extractor that can extract ARC/eARC signals

    How to set up your HDMI Audio Extractor 

    Now that we’ve settled what an HDMI audio extractor is and why you might need one, let’s discuss how you can use it for your home setup.

    1. Prepare your audio system, input devices, and your display. For better cable management, you may want to line up your cables neatly during this part. 
    2. Using the HDMI input port on your TV or display device, connect it to your HDMI audio extractor’s output port using an HDMI cable. If your TV does not have an HDMI port, you may have to get VGA to HDMI adapters or RCA to HDMI converters, depending on what you need.
    3. Connect your audio device to your audio extractor using the right output port.
    4. Connect all possible input devices to your HDMI audio extractor.
    5. Power on your input device, display, and your audio system. You may have to fix the settings on your display device to ensure that HDMI is selected as your video source.
    6. You should now be able to watch any video from your source device and hear the audio through your audio system

    What kind of HDMI audio extractor do you need?

    There are several HDMI audio extractor types, but let’s focus on a few that you could use for your audio and video needs. Here are a few things you should consider when getting an HDMI audio extractor.

  • Audio device
  • When getting an HDMI audio extractor, it’s important to consider what type of audio device you have. Does your sound system use HDMI Input, HDMI ARC/eARC, RCA jack, 3.5mm jack, Optical S/PDIF, or others? This is important because the type of audio extractor you should get highly depends on what you need. If you’re still unsure what your sound system uses, you may check its ports or take a look at the manual. Please note, not all audio extractors can support all of these, especially ARC/eARC technology.

  • Display output
  • Of course, when getting an audio extractor, you may be planning on using it for your home entertainment system. It’s also best to consider your display output when getting an audio extractor. First, you need to check your display’s settings. Will you need an 8K HDMI audio extractor, 4K HDMI audio extractor, or lower? To know which one you should get, check the highest supported resolution of your display. You may also have to check the refresh rate of your display. Is it 120Hz, 60Hz, or lower? You’re going to want to find an audio extractor that supports the same video resolution as your display device so that you can enjoy the audio without compromising on the video quality. 

  • Number of input devices
  • Consider how many input devices you’ll be using for your HDMI audio extractor. Some devices can reach up to 16 input ports, but you probably won’t be needing that. One of the most common options you can get is 4 input ports. That will be perfect for your gaming consoles, DVD Players, and your cable box. It’s also important to know that even if your TV has a couple of HDMI ports, it’s best to use your HDMI audio extractor. You don’t want to damage your TV’s ports because of the constant plugging and unplugging of your input devices.

    HDMI audio extractors use modern technology to help you level up your home entertainment system. With the right placement of speakers and the proper height of your display devices, you’ll soon be the proud owner of the best home theater system in your neighborhood! 

    To help you jumpstart your journey, you may want to check out OREI Dual HDMI EARC Audio Extractor with Optical Port and 3.5mm jack

    The HDA-931 is perfect for your ARC/eARC sound system and can support up to 4K@60hz resolution.

    Feel free to check out more audio extractors in our shop! To learn more about HDMI and other A/V devices, check out some good reads from our blog.
    February 22, 2023 — Siddhant Soneja