iTunes Video and my TV - and A/V madness


macrumors 6502
Original poster
So now my PowerMac is moving downstairs, to the living room. There is a TV there, HDTV _but_ no digital inputs (being an early adopter sucks). The PM's video card is an ATI X850. The PM has its own monitor (a 30" ACD, tying up the dvi-out), and will be off to the side on a desk. Nonetheless I'd like to be able to play TV episodes I buy off of iTMS to the TV. It is worth noting that I'm not the only one using this setup and the idea is to make it so easy that people want to use it.

For video, the obvious approach is to use the extra ADC out...
  • ACD - DVI adapter (the video card is the ATI X850, its non-dual link display connection is ADC IIRC)
  • Gefen DVI - DVI + Component
  • Component cables to the component-in

For audio, the obvious approach is even simpler from a wiring perspective...
  • mini-jack to RCA
  • RCA to RCA extension cables to the TV

The problems are:
  1. I don't want the TV as a second display most of the time
  2. Can I disable the "extra display" (the TV connection and its desktop-extending) when it's not in use, and what are the implications of that for video card performance? (Will the video card have the same performance when that display is disabled as it would have had were there no extra display?)
  3. I want to be able to use a wireless headset most of the time for the machine's audio. I can hook one or the other up to an iMic but..
  4. I don't want to have to hit system preferences and modify display and sound settings each time I want to play some of the video;
  5. I'm not crazy about analogue splitting; in the past the quality has gone from sad to utter crap when I've done so.

My follow-up idea was to somehow split both the video and audio digitally. Gefen is coming out w/ a Dual-Link DVI splitter, and Toslink splitters abound, but that leaves me with three problems.
  1. How would I step down the dual-link feed headed to the TV? (I need to get it down to RGB component at best)
  2. Are there any good quality affordable Toslink->RCA or minijack digital-analogue converters?
  3. Can this be done for a reasonable amount of money?? (at some point it becomes cheaper to buy another Mac mini)

Well, let me know if you all have any ideas!


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Another option is to go with the simpler approach (iMic -> TV for sound, ADC -> TV for video) but use applescript to do the following (any suggestions/offers of aid in implementing this?):

(upon being run)
Check if "TV mode" is on
If it is, begin "undo TV mode"​
Else begin "switch to TV mode"​

function "Switch to TV mode"
Record current sound output to "UserSoundPreference"​
switch sound output to "iMic"​
enable display #2​
Check if iTunes is running in this account​
If it is running in another account, force kill and then start it up​
If it is not running at all, start it up​
resize iTunes to 600x400​
move iTunes to location X2:Y2 (onto the second display)​
Select "Videos"​
Set "TV Mode" to "on"​

function "Undo TV mode"
Check if iTunes is running in this account​
if it is, move it to location X1:Y1 (the first display)​
resize it to something sensible​
Check for any other windows in the second display (is this possible?)​
If any other windows are there, move them to the first monitor as well​
disable the second display​
switch sound from iMic to "UserSoundPreference"​
Set "TV Mode" to NULL​