What is HDMI CEC? Everything You Need to Know about HDMI CEC

HDMI CEC is an old way to connect all your devices with HDMI. It allows up to 15 devices to communicate with each other. It creates a seamless experience of home theatre.

CEC stands for Consumer Electronic Controls. HDMI CEC would allow you to mix the settings of your home devices with one remote controller. You might need to use the device separately for its unique features, but most modern devices are supported by HDMI CEC. With it, you can make playback and menu selection synchronized across your home devices.

HDMI CEC can simplify your home theatre systems and is easier to set up than expected. There are a few things you should be aware of before using HDMI CEC in your system.

HDMI CEC Features

HDMI CEC provides 5modern features you would find on any remote controller. HDMI CEC could transmit the information for power, playback, audio, and menu selection. Now, we do not need to switch between remotes. We also don’t need to switch between devices on a universal remote. Now, Only one remote device could control all of the devices.

 It is slightly different from universal remote. Universal remotes are programmed with wireless signal patterns of consumer products. Universal remotes could directly control the device it is communicating with.

HDMI CEC Diagram: How HDMI CEC Works?

HDMI CEC uses any of your device’s remotes to control the whole system. If you are using the remote from your TV to control your DVD player, your remote will communicate with your TV to send a CEC signal via your HDMI cable to the DVD player. It was just an example.

The remote you are using could effectively control other devices it is connected to. Though your device is asleep and the HDML circuitry is disabled or completely off, they can control the device! Because CEC is a completely different electrical signal from the other HDMIs control.

There are many features that HDMI CEC could enable. Let’s see:

Deck Control: Play, Stop, Rewind, etc.

Deck control concedes to you the common playback commands (play, stop, rewind, etc.) for your playback devices, whether Blu-ray players, camcorders, etc.

System Audio Control

The most boring part of setting up this home theatre system is, calibrate the volume of all your reproductive devices to be roughly equal across the devices. But, HDMI CEC could easily eliminate the problem by adding an audio control for the entire system. It means one volume control for your entire system.

One-Touch Play

Okay, imagine you just finished watching the last episode of your favorite show. Now, you want to play one of your favorite movies. You know, the one that somehow no streaming services has picked up. So you have to pop it in your DVD player, change the source, and press play.

Not with HDMI CEC. With One-Touch Play, HDMI CEC playback devices will automatically switch the TV source on the play. No more navigating input source menus.

Power On and Power Off

When it is about home theatre systems, you could use three devices at a time. You have to power each device up separately whenever you want to use them and power them down separately when you have done it.

With HDMI CEC, that is a thing of the past. The system standby feature permits your standby or power button to put all of your devices in standby mode.

One-Touch Record

One-touch record is one kind of fun feature. It allows you to record whatever is playing on your display device to a selected recording device—no more routing your sources through a recording device to the display device. With HDMI CEC, it’s all connected.

Commercial Names for HDMI CEC

HDMI CEC goes by several commercial names, and each of them technically shows a separate menu. But the core system of having a designated pin in the HDMI plug is indifferent.           

Let’s see what “Trade Name” they used to confuse us.

Here are they:

  • AOC: E-link
  • Hitachi: HDMI-CEC (Thank you, Hitachi!)
  • LG: SimpLink
  • Mitsubishi: NetCommand for HDMI
  • Onkyo: RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI)
  • Panasonic: HDAVI Control, EZ-Sync, or VIERA Link
  • Philips: EasyLink
  • Pioneer: Kuro Link
  • Runco International: RuncoLink
  • Samsung: Anynet+
  • Sharp: Aquos Link
  • Sony: BRAVIA Sync
  • Toshiba: CE-Link or Regza Link
  • Vizio: CEC

Not all commercial names are inventive, such as Hitachi used HDMI-CEC or Vizio used CEC. These commercial names incorporate the word link. For example, Aquos Link, BRAVIA Link, CE-Link, EasyLink, SimpLink, etc. Although some have unique names like Samsung used Anynet+ and Roku used 1-Touch-Play.

Pros and Cons of HDMI CEC

There are some pros to HDMI CEC and cons. While the pros outnumber the cons, there may be instances where you would disable HDMI CEC or update your system to one that uses eARC–a newer standard that improves upon HDMI CEC’s features while eradicating the need for setup.

Pros:

There are several advantages of HDMI CEC. As I mentioned, it allows for several global controls, allowing you to integrate your home theatre system more seamlessly.

Additionally, HDMI CEC works with HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel). It works to reduce the number of cables necessary to connect multiple devices at once.

In short, HDMI ARC permits audio to travel in both directions. It decreases the number of cables you have to connect with an external source like a Blu-ray player to a television and A/V receiver.

Your devices need HDMI ARC ports to take benefits of HDMI ARC. Usually, configuring devices for HDMI CEC enables HDMI ARC along with it. But to be sure, check your manual book.

Cons:

The principal drawback to HDMI CEC is the limitation of HDMI ARC to show the full quality surround sound. HDMI-ARC could transmit uncompress stereo audio. It also could compress 5.1 surround sound audio.

If you need better sound quality, you have to disable HDMI CEC and ARC on your devices. You could also upgrade to devices that support HDMI eARC. HDMI eARC is capable of delivering 5.1 and 7.1 uncompressed audio. It also can handle better high definition formats.

Setting Up HDMI CEC

Setting up an HDMI CEC differs from device to device. You could find HDMI CEC settings in the sound settings or system settings of the device’s settings.

You need to configure the HDMI CEC settings for each device you are willing to connect with HDMI CEC. If you update your system to HDMI 2.1a ports, HDMI eARC will automatically be enabled. If elements aren’t compatible with HDMI eARC, they will revert to standard HDMI ARC (with all the drawbacks previously showed).

How to Enable CEC on Popular TVs

To make this thing even more confusing, manufacturers often don’t call this feature “HDMI-CEC.” Manufacturers love to call this thing in their own branded name, even though it’s an interoperable standard.

 Often would not see “HDMI-CEC” printed on a specifications list. Rather, you’ll see a branded “trade name.” These all are Manufacturers branded trade name of HDMI-CEC, so they exist only to confuse customers. Remember that, If your TV has any of these features, it supports HDMI-CEC.

Enabling HDMI ARC and CEC could sound different, but they follow the same steps. Go to your device settings, turn on HDMI ARC, and then you may or may not need to discover devices.

Here, we will review how to set up HDMI ARC and CEC on five popular TV brands.

LG- With LG TVs, click the home button an23 d go to Settings. Select Sound and then Sound Settings. From here, turn ARC Mo, de to the ON position, and turn the TV Speaker to OFF.

Vizio- Select System from the menu. Then select the CEC. It will indicate you to select “Enable,” and it will say, System Audio Control selects On. Then, select the Device Discovery option. Then wait for your TV to discover the other connected devices.

Sony- From home, go to the menu. Then go to Settings. Then System Settings. From here, select the Set Up option, then select the AV Set Up option. Be sure that the speaker settings are set to Audio Out. Now go back to the Set Up menu again. Then click BRAVIA Sync. Now, select BRAVIA Synced Devices List.

TCL w/ Roku- Select Settings from the Home menu. Then select system. Select Control Other Devices (CEC) option and enable HDMI ARC and System Audio Control.

Samsung- Select the system from the menu, and then turn Anynet+ to the ON position.

You will also need to enable HDMI ARC on your A/V receiver or soundbar. You need to turn your TV to the input setting the audio device is connected to for doing this.

From here, you must navigate the settings menu of the audio device to enable HDMI ARC and CEC, which again may be referred to by different names.

In some instances, particularly with certain soundbars (most notably Sonos), you will need to download an app to set the device up for HDMI ARC. Download the app onto your phone and follow the instructions.

-our editorial board has reviewed this article and has been approved for publication according to our editorial policy.

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Last update on 2021-08-24

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