Pioneer and Onkyo intro eARC and MQA support

Sister brands Pioneer and Onkyo are gearing up to offer Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) support as part of a wider shift to HDMI 2.1.

The first HDMI 2.1-ready hardware is coming, and manufacturers are in a race to assert themselves and ensure they expand their support and future-proof products.

The next-gen ARC feature is being implemented in the upcoming HDMI 2.1 specification, bringing with it the ability for high bitrate formats (i.e. Dolby Atmos and DTS:X) to be transmitted between TV, soundbars and AV receivers.

Pioneer has revealed that eARC support will soon be coming to its 7.2-channel SC-LX502 and 9.2-channel VSX-LX503 AV receivers. Onkyo is also preparing to activate eARC on the 9.2-channel Onkyo TX-RZ830, in addition to Integra DRX-5.2 network AV receivers (and what will likely be a lot more products).

A firmware update later in October is also on the horizon which will bring MQA compatibility to Pioneer’s N-70AE and N-50AE streamers (as well as some networked CD players) – allowing them to decode the files ripped from one (i.e. decoding light). Naturally, all players will be able to play MQA music from Onkyo Music and Highresaudio shops, respectively.

Pioneer has confirmed that it hopes to bring MQA playback support to more products (via firmware upgrades) and in the coming months.

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