Best Media Center to replace Front Row in Lion?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by munkery, Mar 3, 2011.


Best Media Center app for Mac OS X?

  1. XBMC

    8 vote(s)
  2. Plex

    22 vote(s)
  3. Boxee

    2 vote(s)
  4. Other

    5 vote(s)
  1. munkery macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Mac OS X Lion is no longer going to include Front Row.

    This is from this article.

    I use Front Row all the time so I need to find a good replacement.

    XBMC, Plex, and Boxee all seem pretty good and they are all based on the same source code.

    Which one is the best?

    Any other good alternatives?
  2. Sohrob macrumors newbie

    Mar 6, 2011
    I suggest Squire. It's still in alpha, but you can request an invite here (you should receive it within a week or so). It's very beautiful, and it's going to be free when it goes public! Here are screenshots:
  3. Hellhammer Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 10, 2008
    Best is subjective. One likes this while others like that. Try them all and use what you find the best. Personally I've been using Plex and it has been great.
  4. Mal macrumors 603


    Jan 6, 2002
    I've been using Plex, and while I like the overall look and feel, I think Plex 9 made some strides backwards in terms of usability (I'm sure others would disagree), and it has choked on some of my media files. I had to use Front Row to play all of one series that I had, because for some reason Plex would quit with 15 seconds left every single time, so we wouldn't see the big reveal cliffhanger at the end.

    Sohrob, thanks for the link to Squire, that looks intriguing. I'm going to request an invitation and see how it works.

  5. munkery thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Thanks for the link!

    I actually do not particularly like any of those three so alternative suggestions are particularly appreciated! I will try it out.

    Using "best" seemed like the most efficient means to illicit other individuals subjective opinions. Sorry.

    I have tried each one in the past and always went back to Front Row. I really just wanted to get some feedback from other users so I am more knowledgeable when I try each one again.

    I am mostly looking for good alternatives to those three that are not yet appearing on websites such as Pure Mac and MacUpdate. Honestly, I did not expect that there would be any beyond those three.

    Thanks for the feedback.

    Thanks for the feedback. Good to know.
  6. conorew macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2011
    I Like Boxee its simple lets me control my MKV and Avi (stuff i Either can't be bothered to convert or it isn't quite good enough quality to bother) files using a simple file structure. I am too looking for something to replace Front Row on Lion. I have allot of content in iTunes some purchased some converted using Handbrake. I also watch allot of Podcast through front row.
    Firstly, Does anyone know if squire will support iTunes content?
    Secondly is there an option now that will support iTunes content with DRM.
    Any Help would be great.
    Also a tip for anyone interested. I use Mira on my Mac Mini. (mainly because i use an external IR sensor) it lets you press the menu button on your remote and instead of launching Front row it gives you a selection of apps to launch. this can be really hand if you use a few apps (like boxee and front row). anyway I hope i can help some in this problem and would appreciate any help anyone can give me.

  7. conorew macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2011
    I have an interim solution. for iTunes store bought content

    If you use the remote app on your iPhone or iPad you play all you content and put it full screen.

    By no means perfect but it works for the time being.
  8. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Jul 4, 2007
    Denver Colorado
    Anyone know anything that can play iTunes store bought TV shows and Movies?

    Right now I have 2483 TV shows purchased in iTunes. I buy all my TV shows there because I work nights. I used to use FR for all of them but once SL was released, FR never updated play counts in iTunes so I quit using FR.
  9. conorew macrumors newbie

    Jul 22, 2011
    Currently there is no way to play iTunes DRM content on any of the Media Centre apps.

    there may be hope though i found a really really old thread from 2007. some guys managed to replace Front Row with the OS from the original apple tv. If this could be done with the current Apple TV (version 2) Os we might be able to get our front row back
  10. msavwah macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2010
    I'm using the Apple Remote APP on my iPhone/iPad to control iTunes.
    Only problem is that I cannot control system volume, only iTunes volume.
    So still using an actual physical Apple Remote just for system volume for now.

    Tried xmbc, didn't like it. Gonna try plex, but mainly for streaming online video and not using my iTunes, if I can set it up that way....
  11. rezzo macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2006
    For me, the best is Plex but the old major version, 0.8.5
    I don't like Plex Nine.
  12. wbtaser macrumors newbie

    Aug 13, 2011
    Do any of the above allow you to enter it using simply the remote?

    That was the feature of front row that I liked is that I could watch/listen to everything that was in my itunes library by simply clicking the menu button on my remote. I am almost considering restoring SL on my macmini so that I can regain that functionality.
  13. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    While all the above may look nice, none of them integrate with iTunes and access the movie folder directly like front row does. And as such are useless for me. It's no good if it's free and looks pretty if it doesn't do what you want it to.

    When people search for and ask for a replacement for front row, it at least needs to do the same things - if it looks better with a few extra functions then great. If not, it's not a viable replacement.

    If anyone has a link to that app, I'll happily buy it.
  14. munkery thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    XBMC works via the remote if set up to do so.

    XBMC can be setup to do so.
  15. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Jul 4, 2007
    Denver Colorado
    Again, none of them can play TV shows and movies purchased from iTunes. No such app can really ever replace FR.
  16. munkery thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Add the folder containing the files as a media source; it should work.

    I believe only the movies folder is configured to work by default. Other sources have to be added manually. Been awhile since I set it up so don't fully remember.
  17. hexonxonx macrumors 601

    Jul 4, 2007
    Denver Colorado
    Won't work since purchased TV shows and movies from iTunes are DRM protected.
  18. munkery thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Ok, thanks. I was not aware of that limitation.

    If you need Front Row in Lion, copy and paste the following items into Lion from a system running SL.

  19. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    No. There is more to that than what you posted:

    So, there is no replacement for front row, yet.
  20. munkery, Aug 26, 2011
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011

    munkery thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 18, 2006
    Sorry, I haven't actually tried to use Front Row in Lion.

    Just provided the basic details of a potential solution in the hopes to help the those interested.

    I was unaware the more recent updates to iTunes (10.4 and up) have broken this fix.

    It still seems to work if you downgrade to iTunes 10.3 but that could cause other issues.


    Does the following quote from that article relate to the Movies folder or the video content within iTunes?
  21. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    The closest thing I've found that resembles the ability to keep front row on Lion is the below link to an apple support thread. (Most of the thread is a mix of people like me who want a true front row replacement or the ability to keep front row working in Lion - mixed in with the usual BS that appears on threads. Hopefully the link will take you straight to the page that has the work around.)

    Having said that, it is way out of my depth to understand really what is going on / what to do...

    Anyway, I have probably taken this thread off topic, as the title asks which is the best media centre to replace front row in Lion. For me, they are all the same, just slightly different UI's.
  22. ncc1701d macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2008
    Is it possible that future macs will have the appletv "ability" built in to them? Front row allowed content not purchased through itunes to play and in a few different formats - they are obviously moving away from that.

    Actually, is there any reason why when selecting the menu on your remote that it couldn't start up "appletv" software on your computer which then links to your tv? You need a cable from your computer to your tv, and for those that don't want that can always just keep their physical appletv's to do the job.

    They should have just replaced Front Row with appletv software.

Share This Page