AVS Forum Special Member
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: Ontario, Canada
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As I think you've already figured out, HDMI audio doesn't work video. There's needs some sort video being sent, even blank video, at the same time for you to hear anything.
The simplest way to acheive this is to duplicate your desktop so it also appears on a second "display", your Pioneer receiver.
First connect your receiver using HDMI to your video card. You've mentioned two different video cards, the ATI 5870 and the onboard video on your P8Z68 motherboard. Connect your receiver to the same video card that is driving your computer monitor. Turn off any TV you have attached to your receiver.
Now right click on the desktop and select "Screen resolution". You should see two displays there, one for your computer monitor and one for your receiver. Change the the "Multiple Displays" option to "Duplicate these displays" and then press Apply. Now right click on the speaker icon in the taskbar notification icon and select "Playback devices". Select the entry that says something like "HDMI Output" and make it the default device by pressing the "Set Default" button. Now verify that you can hear audio on your receiver.
Next turn off the TV connected your receiver and repeat the steps described in the previous paragraph. Your receiver will look like two different displays to Windows depending on whether or not the TV is turned on, so you need to this for both configurations.
Assuming this all works, you should then set your speaker configuration. From the "Playback devices" panels, select your HDMI audio device and then press the Configure button. Select "5.1 surround" and the rest of the settings according to what best describes your setup.