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MS Media Center \"more powerful,\" Front Row \"simpler\"

updated 02:05 pm EDT, Fri October 28, 2005

Thurrott on Front Row

Paul Thurrott has withdrawn his initial assertion that Apple's was a "rip-off" of Microsoft's Media Center. "I'll have to change my own opinion about Front Row and note that while the software is clearly aimed--or will some day be aimed--at the same general market as that for Media Center, it is only peripherally related to Media Center. That is, both software products provide a remote control-friendly, TV-viewable interface to digital media content. But Microsoft's approach is more powerful, with TV viewing and recording functionality and other features, while Apple's is simpler and arguably better looking, aiming for the iPod crowd, and not a high-end home theatre audience."

by MacNN Staff




  1. sertian

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Rip Off

    Hahaha. First one to get it working properly has bragging rights. You saw how Conan O'Brien ripped Gates at the CES. Sheesh.

  1. ndtechie05

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Microsoft rips Apple off

    so exactly how many times as Microsoft ripped Apple off in the recent years? So Microsoft can rip Apple off yet (even tho apple didn't rip Microsoft off) if Apple rips off Microsoft then a big debate begins.

  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I agree with Paul

    Sorry, but Paul is right this time.

    What this Apple Remote is, is cheap. You can give it a way with an iMac and not hurt margins.

    Do a real product, with a real remote, making sophisticated features easy....and let people use it with the mac they really have hooked up to their 32" lcd tv...the mac mini. Then you've got a product and are competing.

    Until then, its a nice freebie for imac owners, and thats about it.

  1. eswinson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    not a rip off just a skin

    It is just a skin that ties togther functionality that you already have with iLife. The only thing new is the remote and the access to the movie trailers. (the interface for that is pretty slick.) The best part of front row is that it doesn't take over your computer. You don't have to decide to install a seperate OS edition just to get the functionality. I suspect front row will be included in the next version of iLife.

  1. lockhartt

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's a nice add on... differentiate the iMac right now, that's it. It isn't mean't to compete with Media Center (why bother), it is meant to make accessing the digital media apps already on the iMac more convenient.

    FrontRow on a Mac mini isn't going to happen without a revision to the mini to give it an IR sensor. The iMac relies on the built in iSight to interpret the signals from the remote (not stated anywhere, but I guarantee it's the case).

    What you might see is FrontRow bundled with the iSight, but at $149 that's a hefty add-on to the Mac mini just for a remote control... hence it's only going to come with the mini if there's a simple IR sensor added.

  1. gambit23

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I wish people would review Front Row on what it is, not what it isn't. And what it is is simply a remote control-based front end to Apple's iApps. I think it's brilliantly simple, and can't wait to see where Apple takes it.

  1. aristotles

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Re:I agree with Paul

    I don't think you get what sophistication means. A product can be sophisticated and simple/easy to use. It does not take a genius to come up with a complexity interface full of useless features.

    Sophistication is usually associated with products that are deceptively simple on the surface and yet fully functional.

  1. JBracy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    RE: It's a nice add on..

    Actually the IR receiver is in the Apple under the screen. You can find this in the User Guide on page 12.

  1. benhur

    Joined: Dec 1969


    well . . .

    I thought it was interesting that Steve compared the simplicity of the Front Row remote to the Media Center one when they're two different products really. He kind of walked into this one.

    There is no comparison yet. Apple still does not have a media center type computer despite all the claims and expectations when the Mac Mini first came out. I would love to see something like this from Apple.

    Better yet or maybe even in the time being, partner with someone who has it figured out already. Tivo! I'm still waiting for the Home Media features from Tivo to work with 10.4 much less iTunes compatibility.

  1. hayesk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why even bother with him?

    I don't know why people continue to read Thurrott's ramblings. He slags Apple every chance he gets. This guy is a MS fanboy, plain and simple.

    Not everyone is happy with Media Center:

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