Posts Tagged

media center

Despite Apple’s near-domination of the digital media world with iTunes, Macs have never really had a stand-out solution for watching video – iTunes supports approximately 0 codecs, Front Row is pretty cumbersome, and standalone video players like QuickTime or VLC require far too much rooting around in my movies folders to find the movie I want. I’m looking for an easy-to-use, beautiful piece of software which will make watching movies on my Mac a pleasure.

This is where Plex comes in. As a firm favourite among movie-loving Mac users, Plex allows you to watch movies on your Mac from the comfort of your own sofa – It has support for the Apple Remote and accompanying iOS apps to improve the experience. To top it off, Plex even looks great. Could Plex be the media center app of my dreams? Let’s take a look!

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This review should, in hindsight, be more of an obituary. As you are probably aware, Apple is planning to ditch Front Row from its latest release of Mac OS X, Lion. Why is anyone’s guess, but the fact that the last update for it was released in November 2009, I think we could all see it coming.

In comparison to other applications, Front Row is very basic and only offers a limited number of functions. Apple may want people to switch to the Apple TV, a small digital media receiver which did borrow heavily from Front Row, or maybe it ditched Front Row because of the rise of other, third-party media applications.

Boxee is one of these. Although the whole app and its interface had larger TVs in mind, it can still be used on desktops without too much trouble. Boxee has been around for a little while now – the public beta was released in January 2010 – however the application is still in its beta stage of development. It does boast a neat interface and some handy in-built features so even if you don’t have a large TV, you can still gain some use out of it on your computer.

Boxee is, in my opinion, the final nail in the coffin for Front Row. Read on to find out why.
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