Canadian Mac Forums at ehMac banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,304 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All,

I have succeeded in Switching a few of my work colleagues to Macs and another is about to fall off the fence into Mac-land.

A question...he would like to know, since Macs are all about the digital hub, are there any applications that would allow him to control his home theatre system from his Mac?

Advice is greatly appreciated.

Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
454 Posts
It would be easier if you gave some info, on which components he wants to control. Also what software is he currently using on his PC?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,304 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Bump!

Hey!!! Anyone able to help me out here???
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,304 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
He doesn't currently do this with his PC, but he wanted to know if it is possible.

He would like to be able to control his DVD player, CD player. surround system, VCR, etc...

I dunno. I suppose he could just hook up his Mac to his audio/video system and play media from that...but I dunno.

I am just searching for info. Hope someone can help.

Cheers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
503 Posts
Macs can do almost anything except make toast... and run theatre systems.

The problem is not so much a weakness of the Mac (pcs can't do it either) it's that the stereo components are not wired for it.

What your colleague needs is a universal remote. It's a lot cheaper than a Mac, smaller, wireless and mobile.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
953 Posts
According to the Applestore:

Connect ... to your Power Mac G5 ... and get a true digital sound experience.

http://store.apple.com/Apple/WebObjects/ukstore?productLearnMore=T7156


According to Emagic (owned by Apple):

Power Mac G5. The built-in Toslink optical digital audio I/O complies with the S/PDIF protocol. This interface allows the exchange of audio data in stereo or 5.1 surround sound (at a 24 Bit/48kHz sample rate, as used in DVD movies) without any loss in quality.

http://www.emagic.de/support/G5/schnittstellen.php?lang=EN

in other words - it seems you can plug a G5 directly into a digital receiver - which is the central hub of a home theatre system.

>are there any applications that would allow him
>to control his home theatre system from his Mac?

for CDs and DVDs that playback on the G5? yes. iTunes and DVD Player. But the G5 won't be able to "control" an external home theatre system. For that he will have to invest in a handy dandy remote (as previously suggested)...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
246 Posts
Yeah, I think we have to wait a bit more for easy integration with home electronics. I reckon Philips et al. are working hard on that using Rendezvous technology.

But rest assured that more and more home electronics will have Rendezvous, or at least some type of connectability. The new LG refrigerators can be part of home LAN, I think.

Cheers.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
953 Posts
Well - with a G5 hooked up to digital tuner, a 23" Apple monitor (or plasma display) and a digital receiver with 5 speakers and a sub...

I can see ditching the TV and DVD/CD player...

but then you'd still need a remote.

Hey - maybe that's where they're going with their wireless kbd and mouse!
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
5,247 Posts
The short answer: sure, but you probably won't want to.

The long answer: There's no one-box solution; it's a lot of work, but can be done if you really must.

Most of what he needs requires some support on his audio and video gear, which, although not unheard of, only is available on very few components. Look for Firewire or Ethernet ports on his audio/visual gear; if they're not there, he will have to look at one of these workarounds:

If he were to buy a Keyspan remote (mostly for the IR reciver and the enabling software on the Mac); a good universal remote ( be prepared for sticker shock; the $20 models won't do simultaneous controlling) and perhaps a remote Infared/RF reciver (Radio Shack, others sell them. not too expensive) he could configure it fairly easily so that the Universal Remote could control the computer and his AV components simultaneously.

This would work best if the Mac was already up and certain things were already configured; although you could create AppleScripts to (for example) launch iTunes, select a playlist, and play. The reciver could be configured to select the right inputs, and with one press of the remote, away you go.

You would need one of the better remotes to pull this off; companies like Phillips and Marantz make them. The whole operation will be expensive, though. $100 for the Keyspan, $300 and up for the right kind of remote, and $30 for the Radio Shack "multiroom" reciver/transmitter.

I can also envision using a infared/RF transmitter connected to the Mac which would provide the necessary interface to control the A/V components. In this case, a few keystrokes on the Mac cause (for example) a DVD to play a movie through the surround processor. I haven't looked into this lately, but it's not "Rocket Surgery" * so I wouldn't be suprised to find some software, along with the aforementioned Radio Shack doohikey, that can pull this off.

There is also the old X10 system (dates back to the late 1970's, and still going strong) that can easily be connected to the Mac to control not just the reciver and TV but room lighting, home security, the garage door opener, flood & fire monitoring, and who knows what else. X10 modules are available at Radio Shack and many other vendors; the enabling controlling software and hardware (USB controller) for Macs is also available from 3rd party providers. There are even monthy magazines dedicated to the whole home automation hobby.

Since you could do all those things with an X-10 and a Mac serial port controller since the days of the SE-30 and LC-II, and yet almost nobody does, you have to wonder exactly who these "Internet Appliances" ** are supposed to be for. As far as I'm concerned, it's technology that nobody wants.

The downside to the X10 system in general is that it uses home power wiring to send signals to the modules. In and of itself, this is no biggie and works well.

However, if you like music and video, the X10 system creates and propegates the exact kind of AC Line noise that degrades sound and picture quality. As such, there is no place for them in a home with a decent A/V setup.

To sum it all up, the Mac is more than capeable of pulling it all off, and has been for over a decade. What's missing is support for it on home components and TV reciver/monitors, which is why you either have to use expensive workarounds or forget about it.

* -Quote: Homer Simpson.

** -I don't understand why the LG fringe is built the way it is. In my mind all it needs is a computer powersupply and a blade slot for the CPU module (like a blade server today), with perhaps a panel on the front that could be removed to mount an off-the-shelf LCD display.

Paying a $7000 premium for something that isn't upgradeable and is going to resemble the 2010 equivalent of how a foot-long Motorola cellphone looks to us today is a little silly, not to mention extravagent.

On the other hand, the blade slot and a few enabling extras would only add a few hundred to the price of the "dumb" 'fridge, whle they could still demonstrate it right now and offer the whole shebang for $2000 more, and some of us might be willing to buy one.

A 'fridge lasts a very long time.

[ September 21, 2003, 09:16 PM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top