Sorry, old school here again with another newbie type question. I'm shopping for a new receiver and have seen this under specs for HDMI on some models, such as the Pioneer VSX-80TXV. Could someone explain? Thanks.
It means the receiver acts as just a switching device for that particular input signal type -- selecting from among the various sources of that signal type just one to switch to its output of that signal type -- without otherwise touching, using, processing or modifying that signal.
This is the simplest thing the receiver can do and still claim it has inputs and an output of that signal type.
HDMI is a bit special here because it carries both audio and video. Either or both of those could be "pass through". In particular if the audio is pass through, that means the receiver can not use HDMI as an audio source to process and send to its attached speakers. You'll have to get audio into the receiver some other way.
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