Controlling the actual TV

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Pundle, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. Pundle macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    I'm still designing my ultimate home entertainment system. I plan to have a Mac Mini connected to my TV, with an eyeTV connected. I also plan to connect my Wii to the TV. I want to control the Mac Mini with a remote control app on my iPhone and iPod Touch.

    This all sounds great but I can see a very small issue. How do I turn the TV on, and how can I switch the TV between Mac Mini input and Wii input?

    I could have the TV remote sitting there just to turn on the TV, but that seems to defeat the purpose of simplifying everything. I'm sure my wife would be unconvinced :) It seems like a small thing but it's the only thing standing in the way of my perfect entertainment system!

    What do others do?
  2. gr8tfly macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2006
    ~119W 34N
    Sounds like a candidate for a Logitech Harmony Remote. You can program it through a Mac app (or web app) for different "activities". Then, it will power on required equipment, select appropriate inputs, and integrate functions such as volume through your amp, while the PLAY controls go to the :apple:tv.

    I have the Harmony 550 and would be lost without it. I have activities for TV (DirecTV), Blu-ray, DVD recorder, :apple:tv, my MBP (using MDP>DVI>HDMI and TOSLINK), and just music (where the TV's off and I control the :apple:tv through my iPhone). I'm not sure if it's a current model, but the entire line should work the same way. They just vary in how many devices and activities you can program (also, different displays on the remote).
  3. digitalmac macrumors member


    Sep 5, 2008
    Pundle, I agree with gr8tfly that you need Logitech Harmony Remote. I myself have one. Mine is a Logitech Harmony One. If you want to know more about this, I have written something about my remote control in my blog.

    Logitech Harmony One

    Hope you will find it useful. I have the same problem as you do before so I bought this for my wife and she is now very happy with it. And she doesn't have to deal with dozens of remote before she can watch a TV show.
  4. bstreiff macrumors regular

    Feb 14, 2008
    Austin, TX, USA
    Some TVs have a serial port on them that can be used to issue commands. (such as turning on and off, switching inputs, etc)
  5. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    You could also go the other way and program a universal remote to handle all the functions of the Apple Remote.
  6. Pundle thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    I've looked at the Harmony in the past and it doesn't really sit with my ultra-simple vision. I love the simplicity of the Apple Remote: six buttons that do whatever I need them to do, except turn on the TV and change the input. For extended use of the Mac Mini, I like HippoRemote on my iPhone.

    Maybe I'll go with the Weemote ( for a simple way to control the TV. That's two controls but they're both incredibly simple.
  7. Cave Man macrumors 604

    Cave Man

    Feb 12, 2007
    Neander Valley, Germany; just outside Duesseldorf
    Unfortunately, Apple has decided to use weird IR frequencies and only so many remotes can use them. Right now, the Harmonies are about all there is in a decent budget.
  8. KT MONEY macrumors newbie

    Feb 29, 2008
  9. IgnatiusTheKing macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2007
    das Fort
    Hmm...I did not know that. Luckily (for me), the Dish Network remote must be on the same frequency, because I was able to program it to work my Apple TV.
  10. Pundle thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    Flippin' sweet! This is perfect :)
  11. jrego42 macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2002
    I have the same setup

    I actually have the same setup in my house. It involves a couple of different components but I have everything controlled by the Apple remote. Pressing 'menu' reverts the input source back to the Mac mini and turns the TV on (neither have any effect if the TV is already on and set to the mini). I've added some top level menu items to Front Row for "Wii", "XBox 360" and "Power Off". The first two change the input source on my HDMI switchbox, the last powers off the TV (it remains powered off until someone hits menu).

    I used iremoted ( to capture the menu keypresses and run a python script that sends the power on command to the TV (mine has an RS-232 port). I used Keyspan USA-19HS serial adapters to control both the TV and the HDMI switchbox. Before I got a RS-232 capable TV I was using an iRed ( to control the TV. If I had to do it again I would probably try to hack something together using the Arduino platform, as I wasn't very happy with the iRed software and I think the hardware could be made much cheaper.

    For the new top level menu items I worked off of frontpython ( to make simple frappliances that switch the input source and route the audio. I am routing all the audio through my Mac mini, so I'm using Audio Hijack Pro ( and AppleScript to start and stop routing audio from the game systems. Again, menu brings us back to the main Front Row menu.

    I'm using the Monoprice 4x2 True Matrix HDMI switch ( for changing the input source. Before I bought this I was just changing the input source on the TV over RS-232, but the switchbox has a couple of nice features. It has a status string it returns over the RS-232 port that tells you what inputs are active and which are available, which I am using to avoid switching a second time if the source is already set to the Mac Mini (my TV always likes to tell me the current resolution when something switches). It also allowed me to run only one HDMI cable to the TV when I moved all my components to the back of the room. To connect the Wii to the switchbox I needed a component to HDMI converter (

    In order to use an iPhone or laptop as a secondary controller, I threw together a web interface that runs on the Mac mini that uses PHP to send IR events through IRKeyboardEmu ( Note that this bypasses iremoted, so I do need to deal with menu clicks to turn on the TV and change the input source here as well.

    I've been meaning to do a writeup on this and post all my code somewhere, just haven't gotten around to it yet. If somebody here would be interested in doing the same thing that just might be the motivation I need...
  12. Pundle thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2009
    I would certainly be interested in your write-up. It all sounds pretty complicated but it also sounds like you've got the system working exactly like I would want it to work.
  13. jeremy.king macrumors 603


    Jul 23, 2002
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    I use two remotes. Simple, reliable, no custom coding. lol

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