I recently got this new Pioneer to replace a Yamaha tuner. That one had HDMI in and out, but not an ARC option. So, I decided to get a new receiver to utilize smart tv audio at full range, instead of using the Optical out. The optical however, did allow my new TCL tv to control the volume as well as the power. So far, the Pioneer is only giving me control over the volume. There does not seem to be many settings on either device, am I over looking one that would allow this, or am I better off switching back to Yamaha?
Other than being able to use CEC with HDMI there is no quality difference between ARC and the optical output. eARC is slowly rolling out. That will allow lossless audio from the TV which optical will not.