Jacob_Spindel
(Moderator and writer)
07/22/11 02:18 AM
Blog: Requiem For Front Row

If you're a Mac-head like me, you probably already know what Front Row is - that media player that integrates with iTunes and your Mac's infrared remote to basically let you use your Mac as a giant iPod.



Front Row was a popular and fun add-on that has been around since 2005, but rumors had been swirling that Front Row would be gone under Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, and those rumors turned out to be true. I must admit that when I first heard Front Row was going away, I thought it might actually be good news. As much fun as Front Row was, it had become somewhat neglected and glitchy in recent years, and I was hoping that this meant Apple was going to replace Front Row with a new iTunes Full Screen mode or a new program entirely.

Well, iTunes does have a full-screen mode, but it doesn't offer any remote-navigable menus like Front Row did, and there's no other replacement for Front Row either.

Yes, there are third party replacements available, like Plex and Boxee, but because of DRM issues, you won't be able to use these with any iTunes Store TV shows or movies, which greatly diminishes their usefulness. And yes, you can just hack Front Row back onto your Lion installation, but this probably won't work forever (Edit: Installing iTunes 10.4 reportedly breaks this method already), and some methods of doing it may be illegal.

So for now, Apple has left tons of Mac users with a remote control that now does practically nothing at all. Since many people spent additional money to buy those remotes separately, I had sort of assumed that Apple had some kind of plan in place to transition away from Front Row, but so far that plan has yet to materialize. Are they just trying to force everyone to buy an AppleTV? Although the AppleTV is cool, I sure hope Apple has a better plan than that somewhere up their iSleeve.


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