How do I play sound to two different audio receivers simultaneously in Windows 7?

Agro August 10, 2010
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I have just built a HTPC running Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit and have hit a snag on the final setup.

My MOBO has on board sound, including an optical out and regular speaker outputs. I want to be able to connect the speaker outputs to my TV, so I (and my non-techie wife) can watch TV recorded on either WinTV or Windows Media Center, and have the optical output connected to my big stereo for watching DVDs and BlueRay disks without having to mess around in the audio setup area.

My TV is old enough that it doesn’t have HDMI input. I’m using a DVI cable for video and need RCA input for sound on the TV. I already had a “headphone” to twin RCA plug cable that works to get sound to the TV from the analog output, and the optical cable to the stereo works fine, but if I want to switch between them, I have to go into the audio setup and change the default sound device. Pain in the proverbials and not gonna fly for my wife. This has to be no harder than my Panasonic hard drive DVR that it’s replacing.

Is this possible? If so, how do I make it happen?

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  1. Agro42
    August 15, 2010 at 5:34 am

    I have 2 babies in the house (twin 21 month olds) and don't want to run the stereo with surround sound and heavy bass to watch tv. Running over the air/cable tv through the stereo is overkill. I don't want to bother with 3 remotes just to watch tv. Or rather, my wife WONT deal with 3 remotes just to watch tv. This needs to be no more annoying to use than the DVR it's replacing.

    • William Brand
      August 18, 2010 at 10:37 am

      Next time use the reply button so I can get an email letting me know you said something back.How were you listening to the stereo before if you didn't have your HTPC yet? I still don't understand the issue since you could just watch TV and turn the volume on your surround sound lower.

      • Agro42
        September 9, 2010 at 4:36 pm

        Sorry about the delay. I didn't get an email either.
        I was using the stereo to listen to the cd player and my older DVR and the radio. Not the TV. Anything that is "over the air" or over the cable tv, I just use the tv's built in speakers. I have the tv connected to the stereo, but the sound only goes to that output if I turn off the built in speakers on the tv.
        The old DVR was also my dvd player. It was hooked up to the tv AND to the stereo and would play to both outputs simultaneously. We only played movie sound through the stereo, even when we watched dvds of Dexter (for example), we just listened through the TV.
        That's what I want to do with the HTPC but it appears to be impossible in Win7 to make the sound come out of 2 outputs at the same time.
        What I have done for now if put a 1 to 2 splitter on the sound output (3.5mm) then plugged 2 3.5mm to RCA cables into that, one going to the TV and the other going to the stereo. It's inelegant, but it's working.

  2. William Brand
    August 13, 2010 at 10:55 am

    If you watch a DVD or a recorded TV show on your HTPC they should both forward to your TV which should be connected to your big audio system. I don't see the problem?