AVS Forum banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
183 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm interested into getting an iMac for kids computing and HomeTheatre setup.

I have EyeTV for receiving TV.

My goal is using a projector.

Questions:

1) is it easy to switch between computing (computer monitor) and HomeTheatre (Projector)?

2) How do I do surround sound with this set up? (or is it only stereo)

3) Any ideas of a good but not too expensive Projector?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
I have a similar setup - but with a rear projection TV instead of a projector. In my setup, I have an open layout in my home between the kitchen, desk area, and family room. The computer is on the desk which is in the open area between the kitchen and family room.


I have a 25' DVI/HDMI cable from the iMac to the TV, running under the floor (I have a basement). My 720p TV is a secondary monitor to the iMac. I also have a 25' Toslink (optical) cable running from the iMac to my Home Theater receiver, located in the basement.


I'd have to say the system works well, but it is not nearly as refined as I originally had intended.


Silly me - I thought that Apple at some point would allow you to either:


a) run Front Row on the main (iMac) screen while showing the movies on the secondary (TV) screen, or

b) run Front Row and the movies on the secondary screen.


Unfortunately, the only way to do this (2 years later) is to run the monitors in "mirroring" mode, which brings the iMac resolution down to the 1366x768 resolution of my television. Now - if I had a more modern 1920x1080 TV this would be less of an issue, but it is still kind of a pain.


However - the reality is that my 12 and 10 year old daughters have absolutely no problem with this. The system seems to run just fine as far as they are concerned. They simply put the monitors into mirroring mode, fire up front row, and take it from there. OR, if they are playing a movie from iTunes, they don't even bother going into mirroring mode - they just start the movie - move the window over to the secondary screen (TV) with the mouse, and go into full screen mode.


So the short summary to the long answer is that it works just fine - as long as your expectations aren't too high. We can watch DVDs, and MP4 files with surround sound just fine - and the girls are perfectly content.


For myself, two years into it, I'd love to buy a dedicated Mac Mini permanently connected to the television, and somehow figure out how to use it as an AppleTV on steroids. For me, that's still my dream home theater Mac - an AppleTV which can play any format thrown at it (MPEG2, MPEG4, 1080P, etc. etc. with a Blu Ray drive so it could double as a Blu-Ray player. But that's a pipe dream at this point (unleast until Steve Jobs unleashes the "big bag of hurt" on us customers).


The iMac is very practical, when you figure that you're getting double-duty out of it - a good desktop computer with some home theater capabilities as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts
1) Unless you'll be using mirroring (which would be unnecessary imo unless you'd be using Front Row -- as Front Row can only be played on the 'main' screen -- which is vastly inferior to an app like Plex, which can be used on 2nd and even third monitors) the projector screen will be your 2nd monitor in a dual monitor setup. So, you'll be able to do all of your computing on the imac screen, and devote your 2nd screen to the PJ.


2) Use a toslink cable (AKA optical digital) -- it can be used for passthrough of both DTS and DD. No lossless surround format.


3) This is one that I'm not even going to get into. It depends on ambient light, viewing distance, mounting options/limitations, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyLions /forum/post/16972496


I have a similar setup - but with a rear projection TV instead of a projector. In my setup, I have an open layout in my home between the kitchen, desk area, and family room. The computer is on the desk which is in the open area between the kitchen and family room.


I have a 25' DVI/HDMI cable from the iMac to the TV, running under the floor (I have a basement). My 720p TV is a secondary monitor to the iMac. I also have a 25' Toslink (optical) cable running from the iMac to my Home Theater receiver, located in the basement.


I'd have to say the system works well, but it is not nearly as refined as I originally had intended.


Silly me - I thought that Apple at some point would allow you to either:


a) run Front Row on the main (iMac) screen while showing the movies on the secondary (TV) screen, or

b) run Front Row and the movies on the secondary screen.


Unfortunately, the only way to do this (2 years later) is to run the monitors in "mirroring" mode, which brings the iMac resolution down to the 1366x768 resolution of my television. Now - if I had a more modern 1920x1080 TV this would be less of an issue, but it is still kind of a pain.


However - the reality is that my 12 and 10 year old daughters have absolutely no problem with this. The system seems to run just fine as far as they are concerned. They simply put the monitors into mirroring mode, fire up front row, and take it from there. OR, if they are playing a movie from iTunes, they don't even bother going into mirroring mode - they just start the movie - move the window over to the secondary screen (TV) with the mouse, and go into full screen mode.


So the short summary to the long answer is that it works just fine - as long as your expectations aren't too high. We can watch DVDs, and MP4 files with surround sound just fine - and the girls are perfectly content.


For myself, two years into it, I'd love to buy a dedicated Mac Mini permanently connected to the television, and somehow figure out how to use it as an AppleTV on steroids. For me, that's still my dream home theater Mac - an AppleTV which can play any format thrown at it (MPEG2, MPEG4, 1080P, etc. etc. with a Blu Ray drive so it could double as a Blu-Ray player. But that's a pipe dream at this point (unleast until Steve Jobs unleashes the "big bag of hurt" on us customers).


The iMac is very practical, when you figure that you're getting double-duty out of it - a good desktop computer with some home theater capabilities as well.


I have 3 Mini's that function in just that capacity, and I can tell you that, in Plex, they can play lossless (video-wise -- audio is another matter for now) BR files w/o a problem.


As for the Jobs comment -- there is LOTS of buzz that itunes 9 (which should debut soon) will have Blu-ray support, in anticipation of a coming BR drive on the latest version of the Imac that will be coming out this year...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
I don't have an iMac, but try this. Reboot, make the TV your primary monitor and then launch frontrow. Now change the TV to secondary monitor. If you relaunch frontrow does it stick to the TV? I read that frontrow stays running in the background and would stay on the display where it launched. Hope this helps.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,427 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevegt87 /forum/post/16979446


I don't have an iMac, but try this. Reboot, make the TV your primary monitor and then launch frontrow. Now change the TV to secondary monitor. If you relaunch frontrow does it stick to the TV? I read that frontrow stays running in the background and would stay on the display where it launched. Hope this helps.

This WILL work. Whatever monitor you use as your 'primary' monitor will be the monitor where FR shows up.


That being said, you will need to do that switch based upon what your next use will be. Sooo, let's say you're working on your main imac screen one afternoon. If you decide to play a movie on your PJ later that night, you will need to go into system prefs and change primary screens first. And then you'll need to turn on your PJ and change it again, the next time you want to go back to work on your main imac screen.


Now, conceivably, you could make your routine be that you switch to PJ, and then switch back, whenever you are using your PJ for movie display. But it would be a PITA.


And Plex does SUCH a better job of media playback, with better codec support, lower CPU utilization due to multi-threading, a flexible GUI, etc.


Just get Plex. It's free, and the learning curve is minimal.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,035 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Russ Younger /forum/post/16980607


I have a 24" 2009 iMac and I thought it wourked great as an HTPC except that I couldn't figure out how to turn off the iMac's screen. If I could figure out how to do that It would have worked out great.

turn down the brightness
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top