What Is HDMI CEC? What you need to Know About it!
HDMI CEC is one of the oldest methods to connect all your devices with HDMI. Introduced in HDMI 1.0 and updated in HDMI 1.3, HDMI CEC enables up to 15 devices to communicate with each other and share settings to create a seamless home theater experience.
CEC stands for Consumer Electronics Control. Enables you to combine the settings of all compatible devices into one remote. While you may still need to use the specific device remotely for unique device features, most of the core features of compatible devices are supported by HDMI CEC. Controls over playback, audio, and menu choice can all be synchronized across your devices.
Can significantly simplify your home theater system. Although it can be slow to set up, it makes switching between devices a breeze. Here’s all you require to know about what HDMI CEC is, how it works, and how to use it.
HDMI CEC Features
HDMI CEC gives for most of the core features you would find on any remote control. Data for power, playback, audio, and menu selection can all be transmitted through. No more switching between remotes. No more switching among devices on a universal remote. Now, one device remote can manage all of your devices.
It is essential to note that this is not the same technology as a universal remote. A universal remote is programmed with the wireless signal models of hundreds of consumer products. When you use a universal remote, the remote is directly controlling the device it is interacting with.
How Does HDMI CEC Work?
HDMI CEC uses any of your devices’ remotes to control your whole system. If you use the remote from your TV, for instance, to control your DVD player, your remote communicates with your TV to send a CEC signal via your HDMI cable to the DVD player.
That’s right. Whichever remote you use has a similar device effectively controls the other devices it is connected to. They can even control the device when asleep and the HDMI circuitry is disabled or when the device is entirely powered off. That’s because, although integrated into the HDMI cable, CEC is a separate electrical signal from the different HDMI controls.
There are a lot of features that HDMI CEC allows. Here are just a few:
Deck Control: Play, Stop, Rewind, etc.
Deck control enables you the common playback commands (play, stop, rewind, etc.) for your playback devices, whether they be Blu-ray players, camcorders, etc.
System Audio Control
One of the more annoying parts of setting up a home theater system used to be having to calibrate the volume of all your playback devices to be roughly similar across devices. Reduces this problem by imposing an audio control for your entire system. That’s correct, one volume control for your whole system.
Okay, you just completed watching the last episode of your favorite show, and you want to watch your favorite movie. You remember, the one that somehow none of the streaming services have picked up. So you have to pop it in the DVD player, change the source, and press play.
Not with HDMI CEC. With One-Touch Play, playback gadgets will automatically switch the TV source on the play. No more navigating input source menus.
Power On and Power Off
When it arrives at home theater systems, you could be using three devices at once! It used to be that you would have to power all devices up individually when you wanted to use them and power them down individually when you were done.
With , that’s a matter of the past. The system standby feature enables your standby or power button to put all of your devices in standby mode.
Another fun feature is One Touch Record which enables 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. Each one technically offers a somewhat different menu of features, but the core functionality of having a designated pin in the HDMI plug is no other.
Here’s a listing of the branded names of HDMI-CEC:
- Hitachi: HDMI-CEC
- LG: SimpLink
- Mitsubishi: Net Command
- Onkyo: RIHD
- Panasonic: HDAVI Control, EZ-Sync, or VIERA Link
- Philips: EasyLink
- Pioneer: Kuro Link
- Roku: 1-Touch-Play
- Samsung: Anynet+
- Sharp: Aquos Link
- Sony: BRAVIA Sync
- Toshiba: CE-Link or Regza Link
- Vizio: CEC
Some commercial names are not very creative, such as Hitachi’s HDMI-CEC or Vizio’s CEC. Most of the commercial terms involve the word link (Aquos Link, BRAVIA Link, CE-Link, EasyLink, SimpLink, etc.), although some have unique names like Anynet+ (Samsung) and 1-Touch-Play (Roku).
Pros and Cons of HDMI CEC
There are lots of pros to HDMI CEC and very few cons. And while the pros outnumber the cons, there may be cases where you may want to disable HDMI CEC or upgrade your system to one that uses eARC–a newer standard that enhances upon HDMI CEC’s features while eliminating the need for setup.
- There are several advantages HDMI CEC provides. As previously mentioned, it allows for several global controls, allowing you to integrate your home theater system more seamlessly.
- Additionally, HDMI CEC operates in combination with HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) to reduce the number of cables necessary to connect multiple devices.
- In short, HDMI ARC provides for audio to travel in both directions, reducing the number of cables you would need to connect an external source such as a Blu-ray player to a TV and A/V receiver.
- To take benefit of HDMI ARC, your devices must have HDMI ARC or eARC ports. Usually, configuring your devices for HDMI CEC allows HDMI ARC along with it, but check your device manual to be sure.
- The main drawback to HDMI CEC is the limitation of HDMI ARC to deliver full quality surround sound. HDMI ARC is able of transmitting uncompressed stereo audio or compressed 5.1 surround sound audio.
- If you need uncompressed 5.1 channel or better audio, you’ll either have to disable and ARC on your devices or upgrade to devices that support HDMI eARC. HDMI eARC is able not only of delivering 5.1 and 7.1 uncompressed audio but can also handle better high definition formats put out by Dolby and DTS.