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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

iMac - iMac-centered entertainment system?


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vyX
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Me and my Dad are planning on setting up a home entertainment system with these components:

1) iMac 24" Core 2 Duo as the display and media storage device
2) a set-top box with digital audio, S-Video and possibly Component video
outputs
3) a USB or Firewire device from Formac, Elgato, etc. to connect the iMac
and the set-top box and hence provide display and capture ability
4) 5.1 channel audio amplifier and speakers with digital audio input from the
set-top box and the iMac

We intend to view TV, DVDs, media stored on a computer, music, etc.

My question is: IS THIS SETUP FEASIBLE AND WILL IT BE AS EASY TO USE AS AN ORDINARY TV?

The set-top box is a sure thing, whether we get a regular TV or not.

WHAT ALTERNATIVES WE HAD IN MIND:
We first thought of setting up a normal entertainment system with a D-link Medialounge or even Apple's yet-to-come "iTV" in conjunction with an already set-up Wi-fi network. We also thought of getting one of Bose's Lifestyle systems with their wireless audio streaming system, but it's prohibitively expensive for what you get ($2000~$4000 for basically an Acoustimass 5.1 with a digital CD audio storage system). Besides, we already have Wi-fi (802.11g).

Yeesh! Almost forgot, does the iMac 24" have digital audio-in and 5.1 digital audio out??
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A few thoughts of mine... Feasible? Definitely.

As easy to use as a regular TV? Mostly, yes. But some things you might still want to do with the keyboard & mouse, rather than with the remote.
Elgato's on screen menu's are pretty nice, but scheduled recordings I find easier to manage with the mouse.

Also bear in mind that the 24" iMac is pretty huge, but is it going to be large enough to replace a regular living room TV?

And yes, the iMac does have digital audio in & out.
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vyX
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We have an oblong TV room, where the viewing distance is only around 10 feet. My current 29" CRT is quite alright for the room, but it's pixels are clearly visible (viewing distance is only 8 ft since the TV is 2ft deep). So size shouldn't be a problem...........

About the keyboard and mouse - we'll be getting the wireless set from Apple; no problem there.................

I read this review:
http://www.macworld.com/2006/01/feat...imac/index.php
The reviewer complains about "banding and streaking" in the TV image; is this a real problem, or a minor niggle that can be neglected?
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