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I ditched cable a long time ago and have been making do with Netflix, Hulu, and iTunes for my television needs. The displays on the new iMacs these days are big enough and high enough quality that I think they should be perfectly adequate for my gaming purposes, too. I will be upgrading to one of the new iMacs this fall, and I think it could replace my television entirely.

Provided, that is, that I can hook up my Xbox 360 and my Wii, so I can play them on the iMac screen.

Is this possible given the specs of the new iMacs? What hardware and/or software will I need?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

There's no good way to do this. iMacs do not have any sort of Video Input. While you could use an external Video In adapter that connects to Firewire or USB, such as ElGato's EyeTV, the latency introduced makes these devices singularly unsuited for any sort of gameplay.

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Boo, hiss, darn, shucks, etc. Would the situation be improved at all if it were a Thunderbolt Display instead of an iMac? –  Abby T. Miller Aug 11 '11 at 2:39
    
As of now, the only way to do it would be an HDMI->MiniDisplayPort/Thunderbolt cable, which, last I checked, are in the 1-200 dollar range. Apple cut the cord on backward compatibility pretty hard with Thunderbolt. It outputs to anything really easily, but is fairly picky about inputs. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 11 '11 at 2:51
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Above and beyond that though, keep in mind that, in general, computer monitors make very lousy television sets (and vice versa!). In general, most game consoles are optimized to output at resolutions of, at best, 1080p, or 1920x1080, and often less. Upsampling that to 2560x1440 won't look terrible, but it won't look as good as a similarly sized screen that runs natively at 1920x1080 would. –  LessPop_MoreFizz Aug 11 '11 at 2:55
    
Hmm. Sounds like I'm better off using a TV as a computer monitor! (kidding... mostly). –  Abby T. Miller Aug 11 '11 at 11:35
    
I would disagree with LessPop. I used a 23" computer monitor @1080p and I loved it. The picture was clearer than the 50" LCD 1080p I play on now, due the higher dpi. To get 1440p resolution, you usually have to get a 27" or larger monitor, which at upwards of $600 makes little sense when you can usually get a 40" LCD 1080p for that price. –  SSumner Aug 11 '11 at 20:18

If you don't have to upgrade to a new iMac, another option would be to buy a Mac Mini. You can use most any monitor you want with it, so that gives you many more options. If you buy a monitor that has both HDMI and DVI, you can use DVI for the Mac Mini (the Mac Mini ships with a HDMI->DVI adapter IIRC) and HDMI for your Xbox 360 for example. If the monitor also supports VGA, you could use that for your Wii.

This is the setup I use for my Xbox 360, and it works quite well. I have a Dell 22" monitor and it works great for this.

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