ATV vs iMac-to-TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by tirexstorm, Dec 5, 2008.

  1. tirexstorm macrumors regular

    Oct 22, 2007
    Is there any reason to buy an ATV if my 32" hdtv is literally 3 feet away from my iMac. I currently run a dvi to hdmi cable to my tv and optical audio to my receiver. does the atv offer any benefits (aside from the ability to DL hd content?)
  2. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    The interface is better suited to watching on a TV and controlling with a remote.

    Technically you can do all of what Apple TV does on a Mac and more, but then you're dealing with this contrast in UI...

    Apple TV (Simple, Elegant, Consise. Most Interaction is Through a Simple Remote)

    Mac (More Complex, Not as Optimized for TV, Relies on Keyboard and Mouse)

    Your interface into YouTube, Video Podcasts, Flickr/MobileMe slid shows and content in general is designed around the idea that you don't need a keyboard most of the time, so it's a more usable experience, and more appropriate for TV.

    Plus there is no fan noise, no pop-ups or noises tell you a new email arrived, no having to turn a separate monitor off, etc.

    That said, the Mac/DVI approach ain't half bad.
  3. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I have an :apple:TV and have also tried the iMac-to-TV route. While the GUI is much nicer on the :apple:TV as BoulderBum says, the iMac can do so much more. It really depends on what you want to do in the end. Of course, the :apple:TV can also do many of these things if you want to go the hack and plugin route, but most people don't want to mess with that (I know I don't). I want my dvd library to utilize the ripped video_ts folder structure directly so that I get the full dvd experience, and this is not currently possible on the :apple:TV, but the iMac approach works just fine for this with either FrontRow or MediaLounge or any host of other setups. Unfortunately I have not found a good solution for grouping video_ts into genres except by much manual effort. OTOH, the :apple:TV is very easy to setup, but you will spend a LOT of time encoding t=your dvd collection (unless you have already done that for iTunes). Like I said, they both have their good points, it just depends on what you want.
  4. mpshay macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    I'd go the iMac route. With Frontrow, it's easy to control with the same remote you would use for :apple:TV. Also if you go with something Boxee, Plex or XBMC they all work much better on the iMac because it has a much faster processor.
  5. phrehdd macrumors 68040


    Oct 25, 2008
    To be brief - you didnt' say what type of iMac you have. If you have one that is at least core duo 2grhz you should continue with it as a player. It has much more to offer than ATV. - Particularly if you download Plex as your front end for movies and TV show playback (not itune downloads). As for music, Itunes and Front Row will do nicely.

    - Phrehdd
  6. Trip.Tucker Guest

    Mar 13, 2008
    Bad comparison, Front Row is the gui of choice on the iMac.
  7. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    Respectfully disagree.

    Front Row does a very small part of what Apple TV is capable of with a remote. The Front Row interface is more textual than graphical like Apple TV, there's no direct interface into YouTube or Flickr, the ability to locate and purchase content isn't really there (you're assumed to use iTunes instead and apart from it), no "related movies" based on what you rented or examined, no "Favorite Podcasts" with the ability to stream instead of download (as far as I'm aware), etc.

    Bottom line, the Apple TV is designed to be a standalone solution built around a remote, while Front Row is more of an interface into what you do elsewhere on your computer. That's not necessarily a bad thing, in fact it's the appropriate design decision for a computer vs. a set top box, but there's just a different focus between the products.

    If you had to choose an interface based solely around sitting on your couch and getting things done with a remote, Apple TV wins, hands down. The choice comes down to if you want the pure "couch" experience with a solution built from the ground up with you TV in mind, or you want the extra capabilities of a computer that comes with an adequate TV interface.
  8. Viljami macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2008
    Another thing to add to this topic in favour of ATV. If you have an iPhone, there is the great "Remote" application which you can download free of charge. This makes the use of ATV much more convenient compared to the standard remote, which is rather simple, thoug this Remote application only works for listening music. I am not sure, but I believe you cannot use your iPhone equally as a remote controller for iMac . . .
  9. iowamensan macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2006
    Why do you say it only works for music? I use mine to go through my movies all the time.
  10. Viljami macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2008
    I live in Europe and the movies from Applestore are not available here:mad: Hopefully some day. Good to know that the Remote works for them as well.
  11. Capt Crunch macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2001
    Cleveland, OH
    I say use your iMac and ditch Front Row for Plex (
  12. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    You can always put your own movies on the ATV and use Remote to play them...

Share This Page