Can Frontrow take the place of AppleTV?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Advance The Man, Mar 22, 2009.

  1. Advance The Man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2005
    #1
    I got an iMac yesterday. Frontrow popped up and it looks very similar to AppleTV interface. I am purchasing a long dvi to hdmi cable and audio cables to hook up to a 42" Bravia (Sony). I plan to watch Hulu on the tv via the iMac. What can't Frontrow/iMac do that AppleTV can do? Suppose if AppleTV has become obsolete here in my bedroom, I'll move it to another room.
     
  2. Advance The Man thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Apr 6, 2005
    #3
    That's the thing, frontrow just popped up without loading it. It automatically found all of my media. Suppose I'll answer the question later this week when I get the cables to connect to the tv.
     
  3. belvdr macrumors 601

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #4
    AppleTV FrontRow has more things than a regular Mac. Hence, the link. You can get it all on a regular Mac.
     
  4. richardhunt macrumors regular

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    Oct 2, 2007
    #5
    All the information that I've been able to find regarding the Apple TV interface running on a Mac only references 1.x software. Is there a modified Finder.app for version 2.3.1?
     
  5. TheNightPhoenix macrumors 6502

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    Dec 16, 2005
    #6
    If your running leopard you can go into the Application folder and click on it.

    Or hold Apple and click esc!
     
  6. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

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    Jul 24, 2008
    #7
    thanks for the great link, but it's too much for me to handle. I may "brick it".
     
  7. belvdr macrumors 601

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    Aug 15, 2005
    #8
    You can always reinstall the OS since it's on a regular Mac.
     
  8. Undecided macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #9
    The main problem with Front row as I see it is that it relies upon Quicktime to play media. You can improve quicktime by installing Perian and the WMV extensions, so you will be able to play avi, etc. Not mkv files, though.

    However, the main limitation is that quicktime only passes through AC3 from DVDs and from m4v files. Thus, if you have, say, an avi file with a 5.1 AC3 audio track, quicktime/front row won't pass it through.

    In that case, you'd want to use something else, like VLC.

    Now, the problem with VLC is that you don't get the beautiful interface.

    If you want the beautiful interface and to be able to play everything, install the free Plex.

    Now, the problem with Plex is that there is a bit of a learning curve to figure it out and get it to see all your media.

    If you want it to be easy and see your media by itself, use Front Row.

    Now, the problem with Front Row is....
     
  9. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #10
    Will VLC player pass DD 5.1 to my surround receiver? I don't mind using it if it does. The other members of the house can use Front Row.
     
  10. striatedglutes macrumors 6502

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    Feb 22, 2009
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    USA
    #11
    Perfect.
     
  11. Undecided macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 4, 2005
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    California
    #12
    Yes, but make sure in the preferences you have s/pdif output enabled.
     
  12. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #13
    Got it! I'm gonna try Plex Media tonight along with VLC and see which I prefer. I'll report back with my findings.
     
  13. azdunerat macrumors regular

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    Feb 11, 2009
    #14
    Plex is great but take a few minutes and watch the how to tutorials they have built into the program. It will save you much frustration.
     
  14. hitekalex macrumors 68000

    hitekalex

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    Feb 4, 2008
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #15
    Frontrow/QT does NOT pass AC3 from m4v files. Some think Apple purposely restrict QT from doing proper AC3 passthru to push people to AppleTV..

    That to me is a biggest show stopper to using Mac/Mini as a media center, as I am not too interested in Plex for some reason..
     
  15. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #16
    Yeah, I am not feeling Plex too after using it last night. So you can confirm that Handbrake ripped DVDs (univerasal present) can play through ATV with full 5.1 support? If so, I may get an ATV this weekend.
     
  16. KevinC867 macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 8, 2007
    Location:
    Saratoga, CA
    #17
    Yes, I can confirm that. By default, the universal preset adds an AC3 pass-through track and the Apple TV passes that track out the optical port. (I assume it goes out HDMI as well, but I don't have an HDMI capable receiver yet, so I haven't used that path.)
     
  17. Undecided macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 4, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #18
    Why not just use the "Apple TV" preset? That will include the 5.1 track. I don't know how "universal" is different - maybe it takes longer to convert, or is lower resolution, or ?

    I was doing that for a while, but the conversion times were too painful. Better to have a Mac you can hook up and use vlc. (I think.)
     
  18. HiFiGuy528 macrumors 68000

    HiFiGuy528

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    #19
    I do get AC3 5.1 from universal preset, but iTunes and Front Row does not output the 5.1 track.
     

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