iMac to replace home entertainment system?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by jgo435, Jan 21, 2007.

  1. jgo435 macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2007
    I'm thinking about getting the 20" iMac. I've never had a Mac, so I have some questions. I want it to replace my TV, stereo, and DVD player. To watch TV on the iMac, would the eyeTV Hybrid be fine for that? Is it easy to use?

    Also, how good are the speakers on the iMac? Since I want it to replace my stereo, would it be better to buy separate speakers?

    Lastly :p , can the iMac play DVDs from any region in both NTSC and PAL formats?

    Thank you for any help.
  2. adrianblaine macrumors 65816


    Oct 12, 2006
    Pasadena, CA
    I can't answer all your questions, but you are certainly not going to be happy with just the iMac speakers, unless you are using it in a very small room without any other noise. Ok, so I wouldn't be happy with just the iMac speakers... If you like watching action movies with overgrown laptop speakers, they will be fine, but if that isn't enough for you, consider getting external speakers.
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    1) The EyeTV is pretty easy to use. They've done a great job with making it cooperate with / look like Front Row.

    2) The speakers are not very loud or high quality. Fine for light music, etc -- I have no external speakers, but I do route my iMac to my stereo receiver. I wouldn't consider the internal speakers to be sufficient for watching movies from the sofa.

    3) As far as I know, no -- some older Mac optical drives can be re-flashed to be region free, and/or allow VLC to play discs region free on them. The Matsushita ones (see here) cannot be flashed, and are most common in new slot-loading Macs, as far as I know. However, if region coding is not an issue, then the PAL/NTSC issue is not itself a separate issue -- i.e. it can play both PAL and NTSC as long as the region coding allows the disc to be played.

    Does that help?

    I know the iMac is very svelte and elegant -- I love mine -- but if you want to replace all those devices, it probably won't make you happy....
  4. Jasonbot macrumors 68020


    Aug 15, 2006
    The Rainbow Nation RSA
    a 20" screen is not big enough. You'de be better off with a mini plugged into the TV. It's just that the resolution is too high for normal tv watching.

    It can play any region DVD's

    Sepertae speakers ->YES!
  5. Killyp macrumors 68040


    Jun 14, 2006
    I can't answer your question about PAL/NTSC, as I've never tried playing an NTSC DVD on my Mac.

    It can most certainly act as a home cinema system, although IMO you'll end up with a lot of wasted stuff (ie, the rest of the computer)

    As for the speakers thing, how much are you willing to spend? The speakers in the iMac are okay, but certainly not hifi by any means...
  6. FleurDuMal macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2006
    London Town
    EyeTV appears to be the most popular TV solution on Macs. The biggest bonus, imo, is that it integrates with Front Row very well.

    The speakers in the iMac more than likely won't be good enough for your needs (but, then again, I can't accurately predict your needs). If I'm not mistaken the iMac has an optical digital out, which I think means you could use the iMac as a source and connect it up to an external amplifier and hi-fi speakers. That would produce an awesome sound (I used to own a separates hifi system and the sound was incredible, even though I only had a cheapish setup - had to sell in the end to free up some space). On the other hand, you could just get some good computer speakers.

    EDIT: If you're gonna go down the separates route, make sure you encode in Apple Lossless to make the most out of it.

    I think all iMac drives are region locked (only allowing you to change region three times). However, there are ways around this: Rip the DVD onto your hard drive using MacTheRipper, which will remove the encoded region, and then burn onto another DVD using Toast. Alternatively you could build up a DVD library on your hard disk using Handbrake.
  7. jgo435 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 21, 2007
    Thank you all for your help :) . I'm still a little unsure about the DVD question, but I guess I can just ask at the Apple Sore. I would hope it can play any DVD, though, since as far as I know most PCs can, well, I know at least mine can.

    :p I do web design and photography on the side, so that would be my primary use of it, I just wanted to see if I could replace a couple of things with it as well.
  8. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Read the info in the link I posted again. Or for the first time.
  9. holamiamigos macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2006
    go for the 24 inch cause imo i think 20 is too small
  10. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    It can't play both. When you insert a foreign DVD it tells you it's not from the same region as the drive, and asks if you want to reset the drive or cancel. You can only switch regions on the drive 5 times. I use an external drive to play American DVDs.

    You'd probably want at least a 24" iMac, unless you'll be really close when you watch TV.

    You'll definitely want external speakers if you're using it as a stereo.

    You won't be able to play any consoles on your iMac.

    As for PCs being able to play everything, it depends on how old the drive in the computer is. Drives made to the newer specifications will do what is outlined above.

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