Background video - listen/watch different sources

I'm about to invest in new home theater components and something that would be very important to me is to be able to watch one video source on my television while listening to music from another source from the same receiver and set of speakers. Here's the specific example I'd like to accomplish: mute the football game and listen to a record. Now obviously I only want to purchase one set of speakers that can be used when watching movies or TV or when listening to my turntable or other audio source. This means I don't want to set up a "zone 2" of speakers there in the same room because that would necessitate (as I understand it) a complete second set of speakers. Someone suggested I plug the HDMI from the satellite straight into the back of the television which then means I can't use these speakers to listen any audio from the television programs I may watch (unless I manually switch the cable back and forth, which I don't see as viable).

I have been told (from Yamaha support) that this would be called "Background Video" and that it as a functionality has disappeared from receivers with the prevalence of using HDMI connections to/from receivers.

Obviously I've googled and read reviews and so on, but I cannot find a receiver that can make this happen in my home theater. Do any of you dear forum readers know of such a receiver or likely brand? Or perhaps is there another way to accomplish this other than manually switching cables around or using zone 2 functionality and needing another set of speakers? I would GREATLY appreciate any guidance, thank you.
Most any reciever can do this, its rare to see ones of even decent quality not be able to do this.
In menu on reciever you have to tell it what audio and video inputs go together for any given situation. So you could choose CDas audio and select video 1 (or whatever video your cable/sat is into) for your video source when you listen to CD. You may need to run analog RCA for that but 2 channel is most often what we use for music anyway.
Another way to get around HDMI is to run toslink or coax digital aswell so you can seperate the 2 audio feeds. Then as noted above when you tell the unit how you want it configured you would say video would be "X" (HDMI 1 for example) while audio signal is "Y" (optical 2 for example or coax 3). Very easy to do.
For example though its a pricey one, you can do this with Anthem D2V processor, but I have doen it with Onkyo, ROtel, Lexicon, Yamaha and Sony units because like you I watch sports or news scroll at times while music is coming through speakers. Cheers
I appreciate the help, but I'm confused because Yamaha customer support has told me on two separate occasions (when the question was asked two different ways) that their current line of receivers are incapable of doing such a thing. I understand the others may allow it, but that confuses me that they have said "can't be done on our's." I think I'll have to investigate a lot further to find out what the reality is before buying something.

Thanks for the info. Are there any specific makes and models you would recommend for this scenario?
I would connect HDMI from cable directly to TV, than audio output from TV to one of the AUX inputs on your preamp/receiver if it doesn't have a dedicated TV audio input. Mute the TV internal speakers and select audio source with your preamp/receiver.
My Denon AVR3803 has a button on the face that does it. Not sure whether the remote has it or not. I've used it occasionaly.
Zoya and Chadnliz are correct. Any Yamaha can also accomplish this. I run hdmi direct from cable box to tv, run the audio through digital out to Yamaha...When you want to watch the game just select CD,Phono, whatever your music source is and lower the tv volume thats it....Video from tv and music from your home theater...I think your question to Yamaha wasn't understood correctly.. I've been doing it while watching the Big East Tournament.

I didnt realize some now dont allow you to select cetain video and certain audio modes in any manner you wish. Chaulk up another step backwards thanks to HDMI.
I use separates and have never owned a HT Receiver, although I have hooked up an older ht receiver for a friend's ht system. But, unless I'm missing something, the answer seems obvious to me. Gtjdorris wants to watch tv while listening to music. Wouldn't this be accomplished simply by using the tv as the video switching device and the receiver as the audio switching device?
To accomplish this, assuming he is going to bypass the tv's speakers by setting them to the 'off' setting on the tv, he should do the following:

1. Run an HDMI cable from his satellite box to his tv for the video signal. He should also connect any other video sources, like a dvd player etc., to the tv. Do not connect any video signals to the ht receiver.

2. Run rca cables from his satellite box (audio out left and right) to whatever audio input on his ht receiver he chooses to use for tv sound. He should also connect all other audio signals, like tt, cd player, computer, dac etc., to the ht receiver.

Once setup this way, Rtjdorris should have complete control over what he's viewing via the tv controls and what he's listening to via the ht receiver controls. Any decent ht receiver, including the Yamahas, should work for this. I think users become a bit confused because many of the newer ht receivers have HMDI connections for audio/video inputs as well as the regular rca audio inputs.

Using the ht receiver as a video switching device, while it may increase ease of use in general, will also cause degradation of the video signal. I think my description of a solution above is just a simplified version of what Chadnliz and others have already posted. The only negative of this setup is training others on how to synch the audio with the video. Hope this helps.
Actually, I think Yamaha has dropped this capability in some of its later receivers.

You should be able to connect component video directly from the cable box to the TV for just watching the picture and coonect HDMI from the cable box to your receiver for general use. Then just select the video input you want on the TV. When you want to watch football, just select the component output on the TV and use the receiver to play whatever music you want. When you want to watch general TV or any other source from the receiver, select HDMI on the TV. You may have to push a few buttons on the remotes to select the right picture, but it is pretty easy to do. I am assuming your cable box can output both HDMI and component. Most do.
I think a neat solution might be to introduce a DVDO Edge into your system. Take the HDMI out for your TV source to the Edge, where you split off video and send that via HDMI directly to your display; the audio goes via HDMI to your processor. By selecting the audio input at your processor, you can decide what audio accompanies the video.

In my application, video goes directly to a projector, audio to an audio-only processor. What you see and hear is entirely up to you. And the Edge can do wonderful video processing.

Just to clarify, Yamaha used to have a specific setup that allowed you to watch video from one input and listen to music from a separate input without a separate video connection from the source to the TV. It all went through the receiver. They have dropped this function on newer models. You now need to have a separate connection between video source (cable box) and TV to do this.

After understanding the issues in more detail, I have to agree with Chadnliz that HDMI is a step backwards. By combining the video and audio signals in one cable they have, in practical hook up terms, probably caused as many problems as they've solved. In trying to solve Dtjdorris's problem, I suggested using the HDMI cable for the video signal only and Dtc suggested using it for the audio signal only. And Dbphd suggested using the DVDO Edge device which separates out the video and audio signals. And it sounds like Yamaha's previous ht receivers were capable of splitting the video and audio signals internally but,probably to save costs, their current ht receivers can no longer do this. HDMI is only a good idea if everyone has the same simple requrements (connecting a satellite/cable box or Bluray player to a tv) and uses compatible equipment. This 'compatible equipment' may be the driving force behind HDMI since the manufacturers were envisioning, and drooling over, the propect of consumers replacing their now suddenly almost obsolete components with their new 'HDMI compatible' products that so simplify hook ups. HA.

So, Dtjdorris, are you clear on the solutions suggested? Thanks.
I do this all the time in my audio room. As stated above, you need to route all video signals directly to the TV. I use the TV as a video switching device and do not mix the audio & video signal. All direct tv receivers have digital outputs that you could route to the receiver, dac or SSprocessor. I generally will listen to music and watch football, basketball or Tennis at the same time.

I really do not recommend mixing the audio & video signal in the same device as I think the video degrades the audio signal.
Let me elaborate on my suggest. I would suggest using HDMI as the normal hookup - cable box to receiver to TV. Also use HDMI from Blu Ray/CD to receiver to the TV. That allows you to take full advantage of the 1080p/24 signal from a Blu Ray. That would be your normal setup. For the special case of watching football and listening to another source, also run component video cables to TV. For the football game, simply flip the TV input to component rather than HDMI. The audio source is then played as normal through the receiver. With this setup, the normal receiver settings are used the majority of the time, which should simplfy the setup for the rest of the family. This setup also minimizes the number of cables. The football lover then just has to learn the special trick of changing the TV input for games with alternate sound.

Mds - I am not too concerned about mixing the audio and video signals on hdmi for cable or blu ray. Cable audio is not that good anyway and the only way to get 1080p/24 and the high def audio signals from blu ray is through HDMI.

Noble100 - one reason for developing HDMI was to provide the bandwith for the new 7.1 high def audio formats. Existing digial formats just could not handle it. In general I like the one cable solution. It usually simplifies the hookup and means you have to buy fewer cables. My biggest complaint is that they did not provide any easy way to secure the cable to the box. It seems that most of the early compatibility issues have been worked out. New blu ray players do not even have component video out.

One final note - for short runs, there is no reason to pay high prices for HDMI cables. You can get 6' category 2 certified cables for less than $10.
I think it is plainly obvious to me now that I can achieve this, but (most likely) not in the "conventional" setup of everything going through the receiver, but putting video signals into the TV and then audio signals into the receiver. In particular Noble100's post was the most clear to me, and for that I extend extra thanks, but thank you all for the helpful discussion.

As an added thought, I think it may be helpful once I get things set up to find a nice universal remote so I can program some macros to make sure switching between sources would be easier for guests since this may be a bit more complex than the average boob-tube watcher expects, but not terribly because most of the time it'll be set up to watch and listen to TV as the default.

I too prefer having a one-cable solution, but it seems there are certainly trade-offs that I'm starting to rub up against.
You can definitely do what you want to do. Just a couple more details. Sorry, if this is too much detail.

For a TV or DVD separating the audio and video signals is fine.

If you have a 3D broadcast going to a 3D TV, you will need an HDMI cable between the satellite box and the TV. Component does not pass 3D signals. Then, assuming your satellite box only has one HDMI out, you would use a coax/optical cable to the receiver for audio. You should check with your satellite provider to be sure you can run video over HDMI and audio over coax/optical at the same time. My cable box does. If you do not need 3D, component video is OK for video signal.

If you have a Blu Ray player, you need HDMI to pass the high rez audio signals (Dolby True HD and DTS Master Audio) and you need HDMI to pass the Blu Ray video signal (1080P at 24 frames per second or 3D). So, if you want to run the audio directly to the receiver and the video directly to the TV, you will need 2 HDMI outs, which is not common for Blu Ray players. So, I think it would be best to use an HDMI solution, through the receiver, for the Blu Ray. Some Blu Ray players, like the Oppo BDP 93, do have 2 HDMI outputs.

A programmable remote is definitely the way to go That will make the split signal system use much easier. I use a Home Theater Master, but lots of people like Harmony. As you said, just be sure it is easy to do your own macros.
Well, I'm glad we were able to help Gtjdorris with his hookup problem.
DTC-My concern is where does it all end? Will the HDMI have enough bandwidth to handle 9.1 surround or 43.1 surround. And how about the new 'Smell o Vision' and its required extra channels. The manufacturers will probably come out with a new cable called the 'HugoHDMI'. The cable will be the diameter of a tree trunk and the connectors 2 feet long. I currently use Dolby 5.1 and probably wouldn't go beyond 7.1 but I'm certain I don't want to smell my movies and tv. New does not always mean better.
Noble100 - I like the advances that have been made. 1080_/24 frame Blu Ray looks a lot better than 480i DVD. Dolby TrueHD is better than Dolby Digial. One HDMI cable is easier to use than 3 component video cables and a Digial audio cable. And remember the problem with component video - if you don't have the resolution set correctly, no picture. HDMI only passes signals that the TV can correctly read.

Are there growing pains with HDMI - of course. But there are with any technology.

I think a one cable solution is easier for most people than separate audio and video cables. The typical 6 foot HDMI cable is no thicker than the old F connector 75 ohm TV cable and the connector is a similar size, although in a different configuartion.

My hope is that HDMI will make it possible for most people to hook up their own systems without much problem, like back in the day of F connector TV cables. One HDMI from the cable/satellite box to the receiver. Once HDMMI from the Blu Ray/CD player to the receiver. One HDMI from the receiver to the TV. Done.

I like being on the leading edge of the technology. If you want to wait, that is fine.

That said, my preferred music source is still records, whoops vinyl. But for casual listening, a PC hooked through USB to my DAC is fine.

I agree that having one cable (HDMI) simplifies hookups for the majority of users. My issue is really with the manufacturers' apparent strategy of ]planned obsolecence'.

Some of the improvements stand on their own merits and justifiedly spur increased sales. Examples are the improvement from black & white to color tvs and from regular definition to high definition tvs.

Other improvements are more dubious such as, in my opinion, the switch to HDMI connections. Few people are going to buy new tvs or other components just to get HDMI connections. Unless the manufacturers design their products,such as bluray players that only deliver the highest resolution through HDMI and if they can only receive the latest surround sound signal through HDMI connections to their htreceivers and surround processsors. Then those silly consumers could justify the purchase of their new products. Call me skeptical, but these companies cannot survive if the average consumer buys a new tv or receiver every 15 years, they need to create demand any way they can.
Their latest idea, or gimick, is 3D tv but I'll bet there's a new one coming soon. But I generally like new technology,like you do, so I may buy one of their products if I see the merit of it. Just my 2 cents.
Silly me, Noble100. I moved my Proceed PAV/PDSD to a second system and installed a (used) Cary Cinema 11a in my main system for HDMI and with it the ability to process lossless codecs from my PS3 and 2.1 and 5.1 DSD from my XA5400ES.

Of course the Proceed stuff is more than 15 years old and still in use, so it may be unfair to characterize me as chasing the latest gimmick. I think your brush is too broad.


In my prior post, I was referring to the planned obsolescence of mass market televisions, ht receivers and dvd players. I was not making any comment about replacing an older high-end preamp/processor like your Proceed PAV/PDSD ($4,000+ msrp new) with another high-end preamp processor (the used, but newer, Cary Cinema 11a which also sold for $4,000 new) to take advantage of its HDMI connections and upgraded processing capabilities.

When I used the term "silly consumers", I was implying that that was the view of the manufacturers toward their customers (silly and gullible) and was not directed at you or any other Audiogon member.

I thought I was being clear and specific in my post but you obviously perceived it otherwise. BTW, I bought a used B&K Ref20 preamp/processor (with no HDMI connections) for ht surround decoding that I think is about 15 yrs old. I'm not exactly sure what you meant by "too broad s sroke".Anyway, no offense intended.