Front Row software hack

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Joined: Mar 12 2004
Posts: 57

Has anyone installed Front Row on a non-supported Mac? I searched the posts...

I installed it on a QS 733 512MB and it works... But it is quite slow. Since I have nothing to compare it to, I don't know how it performs on the intended machines...
I was considering using it as a Movie/Music/Photo box, but it's lack of responsiveness, makes me wonder what a CPU upgrade might offer?

Or, should I scrap that idea and sell the 733 and buy an intel Mini? Any CPU upgrade worth it's salt will put me back $300 US for the 733.
I have a Keyspan Remote, so a G4 mini could also offer the same "features" as well...

What would you do? The lack of a dedicated video card on the intel Mini makes me wonder what the best solution is... Selling the 733 will mean a $300 investment in a Mini, so it's a bit of a wash...

The 733 has a Radeon 8500 or 9000 for video. Both 64 MB. Using the 733 as a Movie Server is slow, sometimes taxing the CPU to endless beachballs, and Front Row makes it even worse...

The small form factor of the Mini and the lack of fan noise is a consideration, but not a must have...

Cheeers

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
Posts: 316
well...

which version of Front row did you install? and did you do it manual or use something like FrontRow Enabler... The new version of front row (right on the apple site) is a little faster, but front row all around is kind of a dog, and really a little slow for my tastes. I have it installed on my 1.42GHz G4 Mini (which is overclocked to 1.58GHz) and it is quite a bit too slow for me. It is also installed on my GF's G4 (both with its orig. 400MHz sawtooth processor and the 733MHz Digital audio processor that i modified to run at 800MHz in her Sawtooth) and it runs just as fast on that... in fact that is the same speed it runs at on my friends supported G5 iMac....

So, for a movie server... upgrade your drives on your machine... do a processor upgrade if you feel the need, but i think money would be better spent on a controller card. or go to the Mac Mini, but factor in the cost of an external HD enclosure and a new 7200RPM or better drive. either way, Front Row is going to be slow on whatever you install it on, or if you buy a supported machine with it.

FR was a nice try from apple, but its not really all the way there yet. As much as i hate to admit it, theres almost no turnkey, shipping product for this application that can beat Windows XP Media Center edition 2005. MythTV can compete, but then your building a whole new (non mac) machine. it may have been the only thing, but MCE 2005 is very close to perfect.

/Bill

(Flame Protectant Suit Disclaimer: I am NOT a Windows "fanboy" nor am I a Mac "fanboy" i use OSX, Windows Server 2003, MCE 2005, and several flavors of Linux daily, and it is MY OWN PERSONAL opinion that each definetly has its purpose. For daily non work use I am on my mac's most of the time. Please, no attacks because my opinion is that MS did something right. /end disclaimer)

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Joined: Mar 12 2004
Posts: 57
Front Row

Greetings!

I installed the lastest version via an enabler. The 733 has an ATA 100 card and the drive is a 7200, in addition, there is an external 320GB firewire drive. I also have a Dual 1GHz QS but I didn't want to mess with that set up, as the 733 sits next to the TV as a test bed for this kind of stuff... Thanks for the info! It seems that FR is just SLOW. I use this set up with MplayerOSX to view most of my movie files and iTunes for music... I thought I'd give FR a try since it is Apples solution to MCE 2005. Yep, it's not quite there yet... A processor upgrade seems to be a mute point if it doesn't do any better on the G5 iMac!? I guess I'll wait it out, or consider an intel Mini running MCE? Would that be a dog as well? The intel Mini's specs are rather unsatisifying/limited. Oh well, perhaps next year...

Cheers, and thanks again for your input!

P.S. So, should I sell the 733 while I can still get some $ and get the intel Mini solo and MCE? Or just wait it out? The CPU upgrade option with the Mini may pay off in the future, assuming a CoreDuo2 will work AND it drops in price... I really dont want to invest in an OS limited box (Mac or MS) if I can.

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
Posts: 316
well...

OK, more problems... not unsurmountable though. MCE is not directly available off the shelf, you either have to buy it with a piece of hardware or get it as a member of MSDN. Not a big deal really. The mac remote does not work when running windows and would not be supported by MCE... Solution, buy a windows MCE USB remote/reciever combo to run under windows. MCE also installs support for specific TV cards that wont be present in a mini and MCE currently does not support external TV boxes. (however, this may change in upcoming MCE versions, or be a moot point if the new MacPro line will let you plug a windows compatible tuner card into its bus) This isnot too big of a deal as MCE runs just fine without any tv tuner at all. And finaly, which actually should have been firstmost: MCE 2005 is on 2 Discs, the first one being an almost bone stock XP pro CD (latest MCE 2005 from MSDN has SP2 integrated) and the second disc containing the MCE files and TabletPC files (the liscence key determines wheter the discs install MCE 2005 or XP for TabletPC's) Apples current version of boot camp will only let you install from 1 disc (so no swapping when it asks for disc 2) You can get around this but you need a PC with a DVD burner and you would have to "slipstream" the two install cd's into one install DVD.

So, agaiin, not an unsurmountable problem, but one with a unique set of challanges that would make me question if (time and finances allowing) it might not be a better plan to wait until the MacPro's are shipping and install on that.

Also, this stuff is somewhat nit-picky, i.e. MCE runs fine w/o a tv tuner, MCE doesnt require a remote you can use mouse/keyboard, and there are about 6000 sites out there that give you step by step instructions for making a slipstreamed disc.

The core solo processor.... well.... now thats just MY preferences, so it doesnt matter... lol

So, i would say that if these established conditions meet your needs, then go for the mini and enjoy OS freedom!!!

/Bill

EDIT: also, feel free to try FrontRow out on your QS, its likely hood of messing anything up when installed using "that guy's" (you know Mister Escobar's) FR Enabler program is almost nonexistant when installed according to his directions. And, if anything does act funny; go to apples site and download the most recent Combined Update File (i.e. 10.4.6 Combined Update... somewhere around 100megs..) (or whatever version of X your running) and install that; The combined update replaces all of the files changed whrn using the enabler and will put you right back where you started. Smile

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Joined: Mar 12 2004
Posts: 57
Front Row

Wow!

Thanks for the indepth reply. I have "read" the articles concerning the obsticles installing MS on the intel Macs but as I haven't been "forced" to understand all the particulars via an install on an intel Mac myself, I haven't given it my full attention... I am sorry for that. The details of installing MS, in all it's flavors, is my next topic of interest, and I'll do my research! The final idea was to sell ALL my Macs for a Mac Pro when avaliable... My collection is rather obscene... I'm sure many others can relate... I have many "donated" very capable Macs that were given up on (door stops) and alas, work just fine after a little heavy petting...

P.S. I installed FR on the Dual QS and got System UI failures, but I have to admit I don't know what that means! Most likely, nothing to do with FR... I did the mentioned OS 10.4.6 update again, and still had a few instances of the same... None lately. In my small circle, I am the Mac Guru that brings Mac's back from the dead, but that usually involves a total teardown with an incremental reassembly including a few CUDA resets or some simple OF commands... No expert here... But hey, if it works...

Thanks again.

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 832
FR+old style IR port+ Apple remote control=???

If I install Front Row on my 500Mhz TiPowerbook (G4), will it recognize the built in IR port for use with a modern Apple remote control? Any guesses? Anyone try it? I'm running OS 10.4.7.

Mutant_Pie

gobabushka's picture
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Joined: Apr 26 2004
Posts: 494
i dont think so, i installed

i dont think so, i installed it on my pismo, and i had to use the enabler software. but i havent tried the remote. if anybody has an apple remote and a palm with omniremote on it, they could just learn the codes and email me the omniremote.pdb file. I would be more than happy to try that out!

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
Posts: 316
not sure...

Im not sure, but im going to guess no. that port is IrDA right? i believe that and standard IR use different carrier frequencies, and the IrDA might not be compatible with it. I also dont think it will work, because the Macs with built in IR, if you look in system profiler the IR recievers show up as being on the USB bus, with a specific device and vendor ID. Im poretty sure this is what FR looks for when checking for a remote. I was trying to spoof another IR reciever i had so that the system would think it was an apple one, but i lost interest after an evening of tinkering. I hope to get back to it again soon and when i do ill be sure to let you all know how my results turn out.

Smile

gobabushka's picture
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Joined: Apr 26 2004
Posts: 494
i would have to disagree, bec

i would have to disagree, because the port on a palm is a standard irda port, and it can read ir remotes, you can even use a palm for a universal remote with special software (ie. omniremote, and noviiremote).

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
Posts: 316
Not the IR Format...

I said i wasnt sure about the carrier freq. not that it wouldnt work because of that.
My concern was the Identification of the port by FR. Without some tweaking, which i havent figured out yet for USB IR recievers {which is what front row wants},FR is not going to acknowledge the IRdA port. If you had some software that could learn IR from that port and use it to emulate keypresses, you could learn the remote buttons and map them to the keys and that WOULD work.

/Bill

TheUltimateMacUser's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 615
OS issue

Is it possiblt to install FrontRow on a mac running 10.3.9 ?

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 566
Re: OS issue

TheUltimateMacUser wrote:

Is it possiblt to install FrontRow on a mac running 10.3.9 ?

I wouldn't think so. AFAIK it's 10.4 only.

TOM

TheUltimateMacUser's picture
Joined: Jan 28 2004
Posts: 615
Dagnabbit

Dagnabbit

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coius's picture
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Joined: Aug 25 2004
Posts: 1975
i just installed front row with the enabler...

And I REALLY like it. It runs really smooth on my 1.2GHz iBook with 768MB Ram and 32MB VRAM. I never tried the earlier version, but it runs really good on my iBook. this is one thing I am most likely going to use on a daily basis Smile glad i learned of the hack

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dankephoto's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 1900
wt heck is the big deal with FR?

I've not had a chance to play with FR, but from Apple's vague description it sure must be the best thing since sliced bread. It's a remote control and a video/audio/photo player. [shrugs] That doesn't sound all that mindblowing to me. I mean, it can't even deliver or control live TV, right? You have to buy an EyeTV or similar to get TV, and those products have their own remote. And heck, for (for example) remote movie playback contol I have a compact wireless keyboard, that's lots more useful than a simple start/stop/pause/etc. remote.

Can anyone explain to me the FR appeal? I just don't get it.

dan k

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Joined: Sep 23 2005
Posts: 316
frankly...

its "shiny"

...thats about it.

well, i believe you can use it for networked files too... and it looks nice watching itunes from bed... and the remote prob. has better rang ethan your keyboard... as long as ts line of sight.

but, thats about it. Smile

/Bill