questions about using imac for TV viewing

Discussion in 'iMac' started by pistolsteve, Jun 3, 2009.

  1. pistolsteve macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2009
    I've done a number of searches on this and other forums, as well as poring over the ElGato website, but I'm still a little confused on some points. I'm this close to buying a new 24-inch iMac, but want a little confirmation on some points first.

    I'll have this iMac in a spare bedroom, which has a cable TV jack but currently no TV. I'm thinking I can kill 2 birds with 1 stone by having this new iMac double as a somewhat infrequently used TV. Here are the questions I'm not clear on:

    1. First off, I've been able to figure out one can use a device like EyeTV to receive over-the-air broadcasts using some sort of antenna. However, that's not what I want to do. I want the digital cable channels as opposed to the local OTA stuff. Is this possible?

    2. If the answer to #1 is "yes", am I likely to need an additional cable box in this room to go between the wall an the ElGato device, or do you just hook the physical cable out of the wall directly to the ElGato device itself? (I can't for the life of me find the answer to this question on ElGato's website.)

    3. If I get questions 1 and 2 all ironed out, and I'm hooked up to digital cable TeeVee on my soon-to-be-new iMac, will it look pretty much as good as the flat-screen Panasonic I have in my living room? Shorter version of that question: How's TV video quality on an iMac screen (24-incher)?

    4. Perhaps most importantly, is it even a good idea to do this? Could using my iMac as an extra TV be detrimental to the iMac? Shorten its life? Like I mentioned, this would be an "extra TV" and probably wouldn't see a ton of use (as a TV, that is), but I'm wondering if firing up a computer to watch the occasional NBA game could hurt the computer.

    Thanks for any input. First-time poster here. My last iMac was one of the original G3's, so I'm pretty excited about this potential purchase. The ability to watch TV on the iMac is pretty low on the priority list, but if I can save myself buying an extra TV for this spare room, it'd certainly raise the iMac value proposition for me.
  2. MTI macrumors 65816

    Feb 17, 2009
    Scottsdale, AZ
    EyeTV's coaxial adaper connects to your cable just as a TV would, so the answer is yes.

    You will only need the cable box if you want to recieve more than "basic cable" channels that the new digital boxes give you access to. Per FCC rules, your cable provider must give you access to your local HD channels through basic cable service. However, if your cable company has "premium tiers" such as other HD channels (Food Network HD, Discovery HD, EPSN HD, CNN HD, HDNET, TBS HD, etc.), you'll need the digital box to access them or other premium channels, such as HBO, Showtime, etc.

    The image quality from the EyeTV is very good. The current models support HDTV resolution.

    It won't "hurt" the computer any more than any other video application might.
  3. pistolsteve thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2009
  4. tomdesaulniers macrumors newbie

    Sep 18, 2010
    This is great info....thanks.

    BUT, is there a cheaper way to watch digital cable/satellite TV on your iMac if you DON'T care about having the DVR function that's included in EYE TV?

    Pretty much I'm looking for the cheapest possible way to use my iMac as a TV screen. I already have an extra digital cable box - just need to know how to hook it up to the Mac for cheap!

    Any help? :)

Share This Page