Looking to upgrade my old 2008 Mac Mini to OS X 10.7 (aka Lion) with a particular view towards Front Row improvements. To my horror I noticed some notes indicating this was to be the last iteration of Front Row and that it was being dropped.
The reason I hadn't discovered this earlier was that my Mini didn't have enough RAM to upgrade. Having bought some more memory I was keen to get back to the upgrade.
I guess there are two things going on here -
- Pulling Front Row will allow Apple to focus on Apple TV
- Apple have an awesome new Front Row replacement (squeee!)
I'd say its 90% about #1 and 10% about #2 - I'm happy to be proven wrong about this though.
My Mac Mini setup is great - apart from the age and inability to deal with 1080p it works really well. It starts up, logs in, auto-starts Elgatos EyeTV and drives my 32" LCD TV. A click of my Logitech Harmony and I can bring up Front Row, play my media (still ropey mkv support - whats with that?), play music and view photos all through a single easy to control interface.
Friends have bought the AppleTV and do rave about it but it just seems like another gizmo locked into another bit of the Apple eco-system. I'd rather get a Western Digital TV which is much more 'open' and I can playback content from my Mini as required. Even then, a WD TV can't do live TV thereby limiting its usefulyness.
What is the point of bundling a remote control if all it controls is iTunes ? How do you use a remote to switch froom iTunes to iPhoto or anything else that'll play media ?
Now if AppleTV built in a tuner, provided some pvr capability and enabled a plug-in architecture for media playback that might be a different story.
As for Plex and XMBC - they're fine efforts but compared to Front Row they lack elegence and simplicity. About all they have going for them is the ability to handle whatever media is thrown at them (and theres still no EyeTV integration). Oddly Plex is meant to be more 'Mac' like but XMBC is actually more polished. I know there are skins available to 'Front Row-ify' both of these tools but the process to download and install them isn't even remotely friendly - these tools both appear to have been written with tinkerers in mind; I don't mind tinkering but the reality is I have better things to do with my time - which is why I have a Mac and not a nerd-tastic Linux media centre.
And don't get me started on the Apple remote Menu button not doing anything post upgrade.