What is HDMI-CEC and How It Works – Explained!

After VGA and DVI interface connectors, HDMI became the standard for transmitting uncompressed video data to a host of devices. Currently, the HDMI interface is found everywhere, be it a laptop, projector, TV, gaming console, and more. If you are unaware, the reason behind its popularity is the maximum bitrate of 48 Gbit/s that HDMI supports. Along with that, it also brings features like HDMI-CEC (short for HDMI-Consumer Electronics Control) which is supposed to bring interoperability among HDMI-connected devices. So what is HDMI-CEC and how it’s useful to the consumers? Well, follow our explainer below and learn about HDMI-CEC in detail.

Everything About HDMI-CEC You Need to Know (2021)

Here, we have mentioned the sections that we have covered in this article about HDMI-CEC. From its working mechanism to device compatibility, you can find all the information about HDMI-CEC. To navigate easily, click on the link below.

What is HDMI-CEC?

Before I get into some technicality, let me give you a simple example to explain HDMI-CEC. TVs (both smart and non-smart) nowadays come with multiple HDMI ports for connecting a range of devices such as set-top boxes, gaming consoles, media players, home theater, and more. And all of these devices come with their separate remotes for turning on/off the system and navigating through content and menus.

What it means is that, for multiple devices connected to your TV, you have several remotes that add to the clutter and make the experience slow and frustrating. What if you want to switch to gaming while you are watching a movie? First, you need to shut down your set-top box so that no HDMI input is active and then turn on your console using the dedicated gaming controller to be able to play games.

What is HDMI-CEC

Similarly, while you are gaming, what if you want to play content through the Chromecast that is connected to your TV through an HDMI port? You need to turn off your console to close the active HDMI input and then you can stream content from your smartphone.

The reason that on modern TVs, you don’t need to turn off the set-top box or gaming console to free the current HDMI input is because of HDMI-CEC. You can simply change the HDMI input with the TV remote and move to whichever device you want within seconds. All of this is possible because, with HDMI-CEC, devices can now talk to each other and perform certain operations that needed manual intervention earlier.

What is HDMI-CEC

This communication between devices connected through the HDMI port is what HDMI-CEC is all about. The HDMI consortium wanted to bring a technology that lets HDMI-connected devices talk to each other and respond to instructions from a single point without having to use separate remotes. And that’s why, on HDMI-CEC compatible devices, you can use your TV remote to navigate all your connected devices, bet it a set-top box, gaming console, or media player.

For instance, with HDMI-CEC compatible devices, you can turn on both your TV and set-top box with just a press of the power button on the TV remote. No need to turn on the step-top box separately. Similarly, you can stream any content on your TV using Chromecast by overriding the current HDMI input, which needed manual intervention earlier. All these advantages are because of the HDMI-CEC feature that is available on many TVs.

HDMI-CEC Compatibility

HDMI-CEC is not just a software feature, but it also needs hardware implementation. The good part is that the HDMI consortium launched CEC way back in 2006 and made it mandatory for hardware implementation (wiring) on the HDMI ports. However, the software implementation was left to the discretion of TV manufacturers, and sadly, not many TV makers implemented this feature until as recently as, 2015.

What is HDMI-CEC and How It Works – Explained!
HDMI 2.0 Bus Interface / Source: WIkipedia

You can say that every TV has the hardware backing for the HDMI-CEC feature, but it has not been enabled through the software. Even Google brought support for HDMI-CEC on Android TV in 2017. It’s important to note that TVs that ship with Android TV OS (case in point, Mi TV in India) generally don’t have support for advanced HDMI-CEC instructions.

You can switch between different HDMI inputs, but can’t perform “One Touch Play” to turn on multiple devices at once and use one remote to control all peripherals. That said, the Mi TV Stick launched in 2020 comes with HDMI-CEC support. So do Android TVs launched by Sony and Shield TV by Nvidia.

TVs and Devices That Support HDMI-CEC

While HDMI-CEC is the technical term coined by the HDMI consortium, TV manufacturers have their own trade names for this technology. You can find all the TVs and devices that support HDMI-CEC from the list below.

  • Vizio: CEC
  • Sony: BRAVIA Link, BRAVIA Sync, Control for HDMI
  • LG: SimpLink
  • Samsung: Anynet+
  • Panasonic: VIERA Link, HDAVI Control, EZ-Sync
  • Roku: 1-Touch Play
  • Sharp: Aquos Link
  • Toshiba: CE-Link, Regza Link
  • AOC: E-link
  • Philips: EasyLink
  • Emerson: Fun-Link
  • Hitachi: HDMI-CEC
  • Insignia: INlink
  • Pioneer: Kuro Link
  • Mitsubishi: NetCommand for HDMI, Realink for HDMI
  • Onkyo: RIHD (Remote Interactive over HDMI)
  • Runco: RuncoLink
  • Thomson: T-Link
  • Fire TV Stick
  • Chromecast
  • PS4 and PS5
  • Xbox One X
  • Mi TV Stick, Mi TV Box

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What Does HDMI CEC Do?

HDMI CEC facilitates communication between multiple HDMI ports and allows instructions to pass over to other devices. You can basically perform privileged actions on another device with just the TV remote.

Q. How Do I Use HDMI CEC?

While basic commands for HDMI CEC are enabled by default, to use advanced instructions such as audio passthrough, one-touch record, etc., you need to enable HDMI CEC under the Settings page of your TV. You can find the trade name for HDMI CEC based on your TV from our above list and look for that term on the settings page.

Q. Is HDMI CEC the Same as HDMI ARC?

While HDMI CEC can perform all kinds of actions including power on/off instructions, video/audio passthrough, and more, HDMI ARC only deals with audio passthrough.

Q. Does HDMI CEC Cause Input Lag?

Contrary to popular misconception, HDMI CEC does not cause input lag while gaming because it has a separate channel to transmit electrical signals.

Q. Do All TVs Have HDMI CEC?

On the hardware front, you can say that TVs launched in the last decade come with HDMI CEC support (assuming it has an HDMI port). However, TV manufacturers for many years did not implement HDMI CEC on the software side hence, not all TVs have HDMI CEC support.

Q. Does Non-smart TVs Support HDMI CEC?

Yes, non-smart TVs can very well support HDMI-CEC as TVs having HDMI ports must be CEC compliant on the hardware side. You can connect an Android TV Box or a Fire TV or Roku Stick or a Mi TV Stick to make your TV fully HDMI CEC compliant.

HDMI-CEC Explained in Detail For You

So that was all about HDMI-CEC and what it means for consumers. As we noticed above, HDMI CEC is not just a hardware feature, but also needs software implementation. So before buying a TV set, make sure it has support for HDMI-CEC. You can take a look at the trade names above to find the correct feature on the TV. Anyway, that is all from us. If you have any questions then comment down below and let us know.

comment Comments 1
  • Imran says:

    Does HDMI CEC cause audio delay when using a game consoles hooked up directly with the TV via HDMI?

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