HDfury’s 4K Arcana Solves Compatibility Woes
ARC? eARC? DV? LLDV? Does your TV have these? Your player? Your audio system? The new 4K Arcana from HDfury promises to make all your devices work well together, regardless.
Just about every year some new feature is released in the home theatre/home entertainment space. Rarely is last year's premium device able to be upgraded to handle the new feature. The 4K Arcana 18Gbps is designed to fix that. It is effectively a video converter, audio router and a HDMI tricker. It has a single HDMI input, two HDMI outputs and a control panel, all in a compact device.
It's a bit tricky understanding what it does, so consider this scenario. You have a fine 2016-model UltraHD TV and decide to purchase a Sonos Arc soundbar to improve its sound. The Sonos Arc has just one HDMI connection. You plug this into the ARC HDMI input of your TV. Whenever you're watching broadcast TV or, say, Netflix using the TV's built-in app, the TV uses the ARC – Audio Return Channel – capability of both devices to pass the audio to the Sonos. Quality sound.
But you have a recent UltraHD Blu-ray player as well. So you plug that into one of the other HDMI inputs of the TV. Again, the TV can use ARC to pass the audio back to the Sonos soundbar.
But there's a problem. You are watching the UltraHD version of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Its main audio track is in the high-end Dolby Atmos format. The Sonos Arc supports that. Your Blu-ray player supports that. But your TV doesn't. It can't pass it through because it does it does not have eARC support (extended-ARC). If you're lucky, the TV might pass through Dolby 5.1 to the Sonos, but there's a good chance you'll only get stereo.
Instead, you plug the UHD Blu-ray player into the 4K Arcana 18Gbps device. Then plug its HDMI connection into the TV and the “eARC OUT” HDMI into the Sonos Arc. Now you're getting full Dolby ATMOS on the Arc.
That's just one application of the 4K Arcana 18Gbps. Others concern making video sources match the capabilities of a display. The device can convert Dolby Vision to either HDR10 or SDR, optimally mapping levels for the best results. So you know what's going on it will tell you what the signal standards are on its display. It can match otherwise incompatible versions of the HDCP copy protection system in HDMI.
It can even tweak EDID values. EDID – Extended Display Identification Data – is a bank of information that a display communicates to a source device as they establish a connection. That way, the source knows what signals the display can handle. The Arcana can change those values if necessary to make sure everything performs as it should.
We've only skimmed the top layer here. Read more and keep up to date with progress on the 4K Arcana 18Gbps here.
The 4K Arcana won't be shipping until October 2020.
For more information, visit EZYHD.
Stephen Dawson started writing full time about home entertainment technology just weeks before the DVD was launched in Australia. Since then he has written several thousand product reviews amounting to millions of words for newspapers and magazines around Australia.