The iMac is My TV and Stereo

It hit me that I really don't use my TV at all anymore. Some of this started about six months ago when I lost interest in most things on television in general. It wasn't even an issue of braving cold turkey, I just lost interest.

I'm now at the point where there are really only two shows on TV I'm interested in. One is Family Guy, and the other Avatar (a show on Nickelodeon, I'll explain why another time).

I like watching Family Guy, but I'm not willing to base my life around when it's on, and I'm not going to get TiVo for one show. Avatar, beautifully, is on iTunes, so I see each episode of that as it comes out. (Why Family Guy isn't on iTunes, I simply don't know. It would go straight to number one.)

I grabbed a couple of movies from iTunes, and they show up in Front Row. That just leaves DVDs. I like Front Row on the iMac better than any dedicated DVD player. The icing on the cake is that I can bounce between TV shows, movies and music. I think Front Row needs a chapter selection for movies like iTunes has, though.

The thing that makes the experience is the co-operation of the hardware, software and the iTunes service. Front Row itself is great, but the iMac's design and the remote are just as important, as is getting movies and music from the iTunes store. The display is 20 inches instead of the 29 inch TV, but it doesn't really matter to me.

So all that leaves is video games.

The only video games I have interest in right now are on the Nintendo DS, which has a built-in monitor. There's a very good chance that my television will return to service as a Wii monitor in a couple of months. Other than that, though, the TV is gathering dust.

This reminded me of Macintosh TV.
Design Element
The iMac is My TV and Stereo
Posted Oct 4, 2006 — 28 comments below


Andrew — Oct 04, 06 1918

I'd love to be able to use my Mac full time instead of my TV and Stereo however here in the UK there are a few barriers to entry that are very frustrating. Firstly, iTunes UK store carries no shows and no movies. Secondly, I don't live in a city and therefore my broadband speed is less than 1mbps so downloading anything bigger than a few megs takes hours or days so getting shows from anywhere else is impossible. It's very frustrating.

Finally on the stereo front, and I think this is a bit of an oversight by Apple the Mac remote only controls the system volume and not the iTunes volume so if you're streaming to your stereo over Airport you can't control the volume by remote. (I had to buy Mira to fix this). I have this working great now.

Incidently - Avatar is shown satuday mornings here and it it a beautifully drawn , sometimes surreal cartoon. Glad to hear someone else loves it.

John — Oct 04, 06 1919

I'm considering replacing the "family" TV with a 24" iMac with an EyeTV Hybrid ( super piece of kit with FR integration ). It would allow us to watch/record the few TV shows that are of interest ( Sopranos, NCIS ), and let me connect up the PS2/Cube for when the DS is charging. A 500GB HD will allow me to store all of our music, there too.

Ravi Khalsa — Oct 04, 06 1920

I have also lost interest in Broadcast and Cable TV, except for Sports. Macintosh TV was ahead of it's time :)

Kenneth Ballenegger — Oct 04, 06 1921


Use eyeTV guys, especially you UK guys...

Zac White — Oct 04, 06 1922

I have a Mac TV! I lost the remote though. :(

Matthew — Oct 04, 06 1923

Nice post. I'm in the same boat more or less, with the exception of sports.

I killed our tivo subscription this month when I finally realized that the only thing we do with the tv is get stuff we can't get on the Mac(s). That leaves some live cycling events (TdF).

I've posted about this topic myself quite a bit and, basically, I believe that when Apple ships a 30-inch iMac (not if, but when) demand for Macs as TVs (etc) will reach the necessary critical mass and TVs will be out in the cold among the Apple-set.

Steve-o — Oct 04, 06 1924

When iTunes carries Good Eats, The Avengers, and Molto Mario, then I will consider dropping the DVR/cable.

On a side note, I personally think Family Guy has already peaked.

Scott Stevenson — Oct 04, 06 1925 Scotty the Leopard

I personally think Family Guy has already peaked

My eight grade teacher said the same thing about The Simpsons fourteen years ago.

sampson — Oct 04, 06 1926

I got rid of the TV in my office, now running an Elgato Hybrid. Love it. I am using it with my 20" iMac which also has a secondary 23" Cinema display for running all the other OS X apps.

Looking forward to Apples iTV.

Steve-o — Oct 04, 06 1927

My eight grade teacher said the same thing about The Simpsons fourteen years ago.

S/he was wrong, of course.

The Simpsons peaked at Season 8.

Lanzarote — Oct 04, 06 1928

the tv is for my wife and my children (5 and 10 years old)
my "tv-world" is a 20" imac and iBookG4 with EyeTv and the Mac Mini on the 32" widescreen with EyeTv for the family.
It's month ago that i've seen a movie on TV.

Greetings From the Canary Islands,


Bruce — Oct 04, 06 1929

When iTunes carries Good Eats, The Avengers, and Molto Mario, then I will consider dropping the DVR/cable.

I'm surprised Apple hasn't tried to cut a deal with the Food Network people. I'm quite certain Good Eats would be a huge draw. I'm not quite as keen on Molto Mario, though I think it'd also be a hit.

I'd pay for Nigella Bites. I can't find that show anywhere. We killed the cable years ago, and I haven't seen it since. :(

Steve-o — Oct 04, 06 1930

I'd pay for Nigella Bites.

Bruce - Nigella is now on Food Network, starting this week. Haven't tuned in for it yet, but it premiered with some fanfare.

Michiel — Oct 05, 06 1932

I've replaced the living room TV with a mac mini + 23" apple display. This screen hooks up to EyeTV, which I also connect the xbox to so that uses the same beautiful (albeit slow) screen.

In my attic, I have a windows pc that records tv from cable, using Snapstream software. It's converted to DivX and the mac mini moves all recorded shows across the network into folders inside the 'Movies' folder. So I can use Front Row to access all recorded shows.

Once in a while I edit the DivX movies (on windows, using Virtualdub) to cut out all the commercials. My kids rarely watch tv, they only use Front Row.

I love this setup. It would be nice to be able to edit divx so easily on a mac though as it is with virtualdub on windows.

Chad Ohman — Oct 05, 06 1948

You've been dugg!

Dan Hamilton — Oct 05, 06 1949

I totally understand your appreciation for Avatar. One of the most well written cartoons I've seen in a long time, possibly ever.

Christopher — Oct 05, 06 1950

You know, I identify with this...

I have a 12" iBook that has side drives of 300G, 30G, 160G and 120G, with 80G in the machine, no external screen, and I run bitorrents (Bits on Wheels, it rocks) whenever I am not using the machine, with good speakers and a Sub and I've got all I want... my TV is very rarely on, I haven't had cable in over two years (I began torrenting a year and a half ago), frankly I wasn't surprised by Apple's iTV, it makes sense to someone like me.

I've been waiting for something like the 24" iMac to get rid of the TV entirely, soon this will happen...

Good post.

ryos — Oct 05, 06 1952

Same here. I have my PowerMac hooked up to a Dell monitor with multiple inputs (even has a PinP feature). The days of TV is numbered in my house...

daniel — Oct 05, 06 1953

That's pretty cool. I have a macbook, and I haven't really bought anything from the itunes store, because we have a DVR with our satallite bill. This would work for me, because I hardly watch any TV, but my dad likes to watch boxing and football and crap...not available(maybe football, I dunno), so this wouldn't work for my family.

Thats funny that you like Avatar. I am 12 and I think it is okay, but I didn't think that any adults liked it.

MillionDollarCountDown — Oct 06, 06 1954

Great idea. I need to rethink my TV situation as well. Thanks guys for the tip. Cheers!!!

Dennis — Oct 06, 06 1955

I don't have a mac at home - only at work but have been watching channel BT on my computer for at least 12 months now.
Much better than waiting for stupid australian tv stations to finally put the rest of the season on of my favourite shows. They only seem to play them for a couple of episodes before putting them away into storage. Talk about cutting your own throats.
I saw one of the 24" Imacs the other day and it would look real sweet in my room......

Michael Longenecker — Oct 06, 06 1956

I wish Apple would cozy up to the good folks at FSC and Setana Sports for premier league matches, or at least to MOTD... to have DirectTV and get those channels is at least $80 a month, and simply not worth it considering I don't watch any other TV.

Cameron — Oct 06, 06 1957

I use my Intel iMac 17" hooked up via S-Video out and minijack to my TV and stereo. Frontrow plays ripped DVDs, TV shows from ITS (only wanted Daily Show and Colbert Report), my music library, and video podcasts of Democracy Now! and others. What the hell else do you need? (Cable and Elgato DVR, I know but cable TV is super f*cking expensive in DC and I can get 5 Mb internet from RCN for 26 and change)

Iain — Oct 06, 06 1959

This is so my situation. Now that Lost season 2 has finished, here in the UK, we're left with Extras and Lead Balloon on our viewing schedule totalling an hour a week. Being avid subscribers to ScreenSelect (a NetFlix clone), most of our viewing is restricted to DVDs. Like you, we're starting to wonder if days of the "square god" and assorted paraphernalia--not to mention the TV 'tax' we Brits have to pay--are numbered.

Just like, John, we're seriously considering a 24" iMac + eyeTV to replace our 21" telly, DVD, VCR and FreeView box. Actually, I'm pretty well comitted to the idea. Perhaps a nice Bose sound system for iTunes and we're sorted!

I dig my current G4 and just think Apple have really got the convergent technology thing. I think the corner of our lounge is about get far less cluttered :-)

Good article!

Juan — Oct 08, 06 1975

Check out Elgato's EyeTV 250 once you get the Wii. Depending on the connections required by the Wii, you may still be able to use the Mac for all of your needs. The EyeTV 250 has a pass-through for game consoles. Also, I believe its software is integrated with FrontRow allowing recorded TV shows to be automatically added to your FrontRow "TV Shows" library.

BTW, I am not an employee for Elgato. I am just a fellow fan of the Mac being able to satisfy our needs and avoid a room full of redundant, electronic equipment.


John Truong — Oct 09, 06 1991

Another shout out for Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I've almost completely stopped watching TV also, but iTunes Canada doesn't have any TV shows yet either. I'm sure that a legal/licensing issue, but I wish it could be resolved.

Catt — Oct 22, 06 2125

Cool post and I love the design of your blog. Anyway, I thought I was the only one using my Mac as my TV. I have no TV in my house just a Mac Mini with a 19" monitor hooked up. I don't have Front row though that sounds cool but I have a couple of shows that I download off the iTunes store and enjoy in the comfort of my study instead of the living room. My couch is getting little love of late. I would move it in my Study except that it would block the bathroom...

Scott Stevenson — Oct 22, 06 2127 Scotty the Leopard

I don't have Front row though that sounds cool

It's a whole different experience with Front Row and the remote.


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