Streaming video from Imac to TV --Need a hand

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

  1. alaskamac macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    i've bean searching the forums and can't find exactly what i'm after so here goes.

    i'm tired of sitting in my office streaming tv on my imac and was wondering what the latest solutions are to stream video from my mac to my tv. the trouble i think i will have is:
    1. my computer is across the room from my tv
    2. my plasma is hanging on the wall with all wires run behind the sheet rock

    i have a bose 321 and a standard HD DVR cable box

    i do have some open plugs on the back of the tv, but i had to drill holes through studs to run the wires originally and there is little space left to run another one.

    to stream music i use my airport express and airfoil. be nice to find something similar for video

    i've heard about mac mini, media center, slingcatcher, etc... but don't know where to begin.

    thanks for your patience,
  2. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    Your biggest issue is the lack of easy access to your TV inputs, since you are going to have to connect another device to your plasma. With an Apple TV next to your TV, you will be able to wirelessly stream content from your iMac to your plasma. A cheaper but less aesthetic option is to run a long cable from your iMac to your plasma. You can use a DVI to HDMI cable or adapter, or you can go with DVI only if your TV has a DVI input. You'll need to get audio in some way, by connecting speakers to your iMac or by running either an optical audio cable with mini-jack connector at one end or a regular stereo RCA cable with a mini-jack connector at one end to your TV. This presumes no receiver. If so, then audio cables will go to your receiver, or to the TV and then to the receiver depending on what kind of sound you want.
  3. Mr Kram macrumors 68020

    Mr Kram

    Oct 1, 2008
    does the bose have mulitple inputs? if so, running extra wires should be a non issue.

    if not, you could probably mount an ATV behind your tv depending on what type of bracket you are using. plug the ATV directly into the TV and hide the wire. all you would need is ac power.
  4. alaskamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    my plasma does have an extra hdmi plug not being used and yes my bose has some extra inputs not being used. i'm guessing if i could squeeze another hdmi cable between my plasma and apple tv i'd be in business? like i said the hole i drilled to run the cables originally is tight, not sure i could fit another without more drilling.

    never actually seen an ATV in person so the idea of mounting it behind the tv is interesting if it's small enough.

    so the general consensus is that ATV is the way to go?

  5. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    I'd go with the ATV. It's pretty small - 7"x7" or so, and very thin. It does get pretty hot, so wherever you put it you'll want good airflow.

    You probably know this already, but the ATV has pretty tight restrictions on what media formats it will play. Keep that in mind as you think about transcoding your collection.
  6. alaskamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    i was interested in streaming from things like megavideo or hulu. is that supported?
  7. alaskamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    does the ATV come with a remote and if so would it have a hard time communicating with the ATV if it was hidden behind the TV?

    would i also have to make a connection between the apple tv and my bose 321 or just the ATV and my TV?
  8. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    You can stream Hulu if you install Boxee on the ATV. There are plenty of forum threads and sites that explain this, so I won't go into it here. But it is very easy to do.

    The ATV remote is IR, so it requires line of sight. Like all IR remotes, though, indirect signals might work if they bounce the right way. If you have an iPhone or an iPod touch, the free Remote app works as a RF remote via your home wifi network.

    I'm not sure what your Bose 321 system is. If you use HDMI to connect your ATV to your plasma, you'll have video and audio from your TV speakers. You won't, however, have 5.1 surround unless you have a 5.1 receiver and external speakers. And, most TVs won't pass the 5.1 signal anyway, so you'll need to connect your ATV to your receiver directly via optical audio cable (Toslink).
  9. mpshay macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    A mac mini will cost a little more, but you get a lot more flexibility than you have with an :apple:TV (I have 2 minis & :apple:TV). To connect the mini to the TV you can use a DVI to HDMI cable (or an adapter and a regular HDMI cable). You will also need to run an audio cable to the Bose 321.

    They make flat HDMI cables that may or may not help you route it through the hole.
  10. alaskamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    i like the idea of the mac mini. so it sounds like if i had this adapter i would only need one HDMI cable from my plasma to the mac mini versus having to use a dvi to hdmi and another cable for audio?
  11. mpshay macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    No, you are going to need the separate audio no matter which route you go. The DVI out on the Mac Mini does not have any audio info, changing it to HDMI with a special cable or an adapter does not add the audio signal.

    Not sure of your exact setup, but the audio cable ionly needs to go to the bose system so running it should be a lot easier than running video to the TV.
  12. alaskamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    i was looking at a picture of the mac mini and the headphones/audio out plug is where i'm guessing you are talking about plugging the bose into for audio?

    appreciate all the responses,
  13. alaskamac thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2007
    stupid question probably, but will my wireless mac keyboard and mouse that i use with my Imac work with the mac mini as well or would i have to get a separate keyboard/mouse?
  14. spice weasel macrumors 65816

    Jul 25, 2003
    There's no doubt a mini is more powerful, but they cost $370-$570 more than the ATV, depending on which mini model. I'd say the price difference is really only worth it if you either have a large collection of non-mp4 media, or if you are really serious about HTPC stuff.

    To the OP: your bluetooth keyboard and mouse will work with the mini, but you'll have to unpair it with your iMac and re-pair it with the mini.

    If you decide to buy a mini, I'd wait a month and see if Apple releases a new model at MacWorld. I'd say the same for the ATV, but that is likely a safer bet.
  15. mpshay macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2008
    That's the spot.

    I love the mini for HTPC use. Got one working downstairs & I'm buy another imac so I can a 2nd Mac mini back from daughter to use it as a HTPC upstairs in place of the :apple:TV that is currently in use (I've got a TV in the living room that would be perfect for :apple:TV use)

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