Can I Stream Music to My Receiver While Watching TV?
Q I'm looking for a way to play two-channel music via iTunes AirPlay streaming through my Pioneer SC-57 receiver while watching muted sports on my plasma TV, which doesn’t have ARC. All my HDMI sources currently go into the receiver, with a single HDMI output to the TV. Is there a way to set up a second zone on the SC-57? Some other simple solution that I'm missing? —Jason Karley / via email
A Listening to music while watching sports—that’s something I can relate to.
There are a few approaches I can suggest to deal with your situation. The simplest would be to run the HDMI or component-video output of your cable or satellite box directly to the TV for video, and an optical digital cable to the receiver for audio. (You’ll have to check the capabilities of your cable/satellite box and configure the digital audio output accordingly in its setup menu.) Once that’s done, get your Airplay source up and running to stream iTunes music to the Pioneer’s Home Media Gallery input. In the meantime, switch to the appropriate input on the TV to watch whatever game is of interest on cable or satellite. If the game gets exciting and you momentarily require TV sound, just switch the receiver to its TV input to hear it.
A second—admittedly more complicated—approach would be to use a 2-way HDMI splitter to divide the output of your cable/satellite box, with one HDMI cable going directly into the receiver and a second directly into the TV. With this setup in place, you could select the direct input from the cable/satellite box on the TV to watch sports, while simultaneously streaming iTunes music to the Pioneer receiver’s Home Media Gallery input.
The final method I’ll put out there would be to, as you suggest, tap the receiver’s multi-zone capabilities. The reason I list this one last is because I don’t have an SC-57 on-hand to verify that it works, though in theory it should. The SC-57’s specs indicate that it can send both audio and component video to a second zone. In this case you should run component-video connections from your cable or satellite set-top into the receiver, and then out from the receiver into the TV. Launch your AirPlay source to set the receiver’s main zone (the room you’re watching TV in) to its Home Media Gallery input, and then switch its second zone for a TV input source. Finally, switch the TV to its component video input. If all goes according to the capabilities described in Pioneer’s manual, you should now be able to watch silent sports on your TV while simultaneously streaming iTunes music via Airplay.