Wednesday, September 5, 2012

XBMC - Replacing Front Row

For those macusers that skipped Lion and hadn't payed attention to all the changes that were already introduced in Lion it may have been a bit of a surprise that Mountain Lion no longer has Front Row. This also means that Apple Remote becomes a bit useless since you can not use it to remotely control iTunes (well you can, but the controls are very limited).

I was quite happy with Front Row and was totally in the dark regarding when it comes to media center software. I was a bit bummed out when I realised that Front Row was gone from OSX but I thought that I would manage without any media center software. Luckily I am subscribed to Nixie Pixel's Nixie Does Linux -channel on YouTube and in one of her recent videos she covered free open source HTPC software. In the video she presented, among others, XBMC (Xbox Media Center). I immediately decided to check it out and went to the website and found out that XBMC is also available for OSX. Sweet.

XBMC is absolutely amazing piece of software and it is free. Front Row was OK, but XBMC is ten billion times better and is a perfect replacement for the discontinued Front Row. First of all your music, movies, tv-shows and pictures can be synced to XBMC and you can use add-ons to view material from YouTube, TV- and radio-channels. Another great feature of XBMC is that you can use your iPhone or Android device as a remote via wifi and best of all is that the software supports Apple Remotes. When you enable from the settings the option that XBMC can be launched using a remote, XBMC can be launched by pushing the menu button on Apple Remote. This means that you really do not need any 3rd party software to assign a custom command for Apple Remote. Just this feature makes XBMC quite brilliant. 

XBMC, Android Remote and Apple Remote are best of friends!

Bottom line is that XBMC is a perfect replacement for Front Row and on many levels it's much better and customizable than Front Row ever was. After installing XBMC you won't miss Front Row for a millisecond.

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