Audio only processor - without video?

I'm unsure why HT preamps all seem to have video switching. It seems better to just go from the video source directly to the TV, bypassing the preamp. Is there any reason to go through the preamp?

Based on the above, are there any HT processors for the audio portion only?
Not that I know of and for good reasons.
1. To get the best of the HD audio codecs, one needs HDMI and that carries video.
2. To get the most convenient switching, run audio and video through the same device.
3. Many processors add effective video processing/adjustments that are quite effective.

Can't you get the same audio codecs via RCA or balanced inputs? Also, what video processing/adjustments are done?

My Outlaw 990 does the surround sound decoding via RCA inputs.
I did not say you cannot get the HD codecs; I said you cannot get the best of them which means effective bass/level/delay management and DSP (including room EQ). With analog, you can only approximate since these are not as well implemented in players (with few exceptions).

The Bryston series like the SP 1.7, outstanding peformance. Oldee but goodie the Acurus ACT 3, however does not have all the very latest audio formats. All you may really need, and sounds great, and priced great on used market. IMO getting audio right,much more important than video once you have a decent picture. All the more so if you will be using your unit for both music and video playback.
I agree, Glen. What video processing/adjustments do newer processors make?
I would expect your question to be the other way around: What processors do video processing without having to do audio. Most good processors either have video conversion chips better than your BD/DVD player (Realta, Reon, etc) for improved picture quality and/or they have a bypass where the video signal is passed unaltered to your display with little if any degradation to the video quality.

However, the same cannot be said for the audio. Even fairly good processors (Integra/Onkyo Pro for example) have less-than-pristine analog audio sections that cannot be entirely bypassed when feeding audio signals to a good quality two channel preamp. There are situations where running balanced (or unbalanced) analog signals directly from a Marantz UD9004 or Denon A1UDCI BD/DVD player (for example) to a good balanced (or unbalanced) 2 channel preamp will result in improved sound quality. To do this, you have to add yet another pair of (expensive) interconnects from the BD/CDP to the 2 channel preamp. Interestingly, many current 2 channel preamps do have such a bypass for use in HT applications.
Well, I just bought (on Audiogon) a Placette passive preamp for 2-channel use. It also has a set of inputs I can use for the front L/R home theater setup. So the only issue I have regarding audio is home theater processing.

The fact that most better HT processors have better video conversion chips is interesting, and the sort of info I'm looking for. I'm currently using an Outlaw 990 but have the video directly to the TV. Should I be going through the processor?

The other point of my question is that I may be looking to upgrade, and wondered if I needed a unit with video inputs at all.

Thanks to everyone so far, and if you all can add anything, great!

The fact that you will be using a 2 channel preamp downstream of the processor is exactly my point. Many of the top BD/DVD/Universal players have very good internal Dolby TrueHD/DTS Master Audio/Dolby Digital/etc processors built in so that you can come straight out of their analog outputs to your preamp when listening to 2 channel Dolby/DTS encoded lossless BD/DVD's (hopefully there will be more of those in the future) or SACD/DVD Audio. This eliminates the processor (and it's non-defeatable analog section) from the signal chain for serious 2 channel listening.

Regarding eliminating the video inputs on HT, I think you will find that the whole multi-channel HD signal chain (source -> processor -> display device/amplifiers) is built around HDMI which automatically incorporates video, so your concern is somewhat academic. As Kal points out, the advantages of running video through your processor (switching, video picture adjustability) outweigh whatever small negatives that concern you.

For example, when I am watching HD sources, I set my processor's video setting to "Through" (bypass), but I engage the internal Reon video processing on non-HD sources to reduce video artifacts (clean up the picture).
Well put Dl - thanks.
This eliminates the processor (and it's non-defeatable analog section) from the signal chain for serious 2 channel listening.
And, as Kal noted, the bass management, level matching, delays and room mode correction. You give up a lot by by-passing the processor.
Thanks Bob - next processor will have HDMI for HT.