The possibilities of Front Row

Fahrvergnuugen

I am the law!
For me, the most exciting part of today's event was Front Row. I have been waiting since the mac mini came out for someone to create software that will provide integration with iPhoto, iTunes, Videos & home entertainment. iTheater looked promising, but the project is taking forever and in my opinion they have made some critical design errors. Center stage is another, but that too falls short.

Now Apple has given us Front Row. But it appears to be iMac only :mad:

This is the setup I would like to have:
Mac Mini driving a 43" plasma display via DVI.

An Eye TV or something similar will provide video input and will allow the mini to act as a DVR. iCal will control video recording schedule, videos will be put into a directory so that Front Row has access to them.

The mini has a DVD player. The only thing it lacks is an optical audio jack and the IR port for the remote. The whole mess would be controlled from Apple's 6 button remote.

So the questions are:
1) Will front row work on other Macs besides the iMac
2) Can the new Universal Dock act as an IR receiver for the remote or does the iMac have its own separate receiver?
 

kainjow

Registered
Fahrvergnuugen said:
1) Will front row work on other Macs besides the iMac
2) Can the new Universal Dock act as an IR receiver for the remote or does the iMac have its own separate receiver?
1) Who knows. Apple hasn't said anything about it yet. I wouldn't be surprised if they allowed you to buy it later on.
2) The new Dock does have the receiver for the remote, and the iMac has the receiver built-in.
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
So it's not Bluetooth, I guess, but some RF thingie. This would mean you'd have to add some kind of USB-stick if you wanted to enable your PowerBook or Mac mini or PowerMac for Front Row. Theoretically, they could just make a package: "Front Row software with Remote Control and USB adapter for Mac" ... If they price that nicely, it'd be a huge success in my opinion. My guess is that the Front Row software will be a regular part of Leopard, anyway. Might be able to control it via your Bluetooth mobile phone even. We'll see. :)
 

9114619

Registered


What's this in front of the new Universal Dock? An IR sensor? Does it control only the iPod or could it control the computer as well (through FrontRow)? A simple possibility with no answer from Apple...
 

crcr2003

Registered
Front Row is great but the sad thing is that it looks so much like the media software on vaio PCs. My friends are already bothering n they r right at least on this, front row looks and works exactly the same as the remote/software from vaio computers that came 1 year and a half ago in japan. anyway i m glad apple decided to "copy the idea of" a software like this for mac.
 

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
it does sort of appear to be sort of like XP Media Centre, but as he said in the keynote, so much more... apple

i thought it was an amzingly well done piece of software. it.. just.. works.
 

senne

Registered
This looks like IR:



Maybe the IR sensor of the iMac is located in the iSight webcam? There's also a light sensor inthere, so why not?

In low-light environments, a sensor detects the room’s ambient light and adjusts the sleep light to match — so you and your iMac G5 can both catch some Zs.
 

fryke

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Staff member
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Doesn't record anything, though. So it's a bit of a joke to compare the two systems, their remote controls etc. I think it's good. Perfect sample of how Apple can do things simple and good. But it's not a direct competition to the media centers in my opinion. And with Apple selling TV shows through iTunes, I don't see them integrating any kind of TV reception and recording into the iMacs anytime soon. That's what eyeTV etc. are for. But those _ain't_ as beautifully simple as Apple's software.
 

Fahrvergnuugen

I am the law!
fryke said:
Doesn't record anything, though. So it's a bit of a joke to compare the two systems, their remote controls etc. I think it's good. Perfect sample of how Apple can do things simple and good. But it's not a direct competition to the media centers in my opinion. And with Apple selling TV shows through iTunes, I don't see them integrating any kind of TV reception and recording into the iMacs anytime soon. That's what eyeTV etc. are for. But those _ain't_ as beautifully simple as Apple's software.
I agree. I'll tell you what... if all of my favorite shows were available on iTunes for 1.99, I would cancel my digital cable. I think Apple is testing the waters here with these 5 TV shows that they're offering. They need to convince the HBOs, Cinemaxes and Showtimes that offering content through the store is a viable option. Once that happens, DVRs will be obsolete.
 

fryke

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My feelings exactly, although I think 320*240 just won't cut it in the future. I mean: People _are_ downloading those shows in high resolutions illegally, and I think if Apple wants to do for the "TV market" what they've done for the music market, then their offer would have to be at least as good from a technical standpoint. On the other hand, high res would mean less DVD sales, whereas the real fan might watch it on TV, download it to the iPod in 320*240 AND buy the DVD box at the end of a season.
 

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
but how long would a series of lost take to download if it were in 720 HD? or even 1080?

even on higher speed dsl, it would still take days (?). it takes about half an hour to download a little HD preview from quicktime.
 

Fahrvergnuugen

I am the law!
Encoded video resolution is meaningless

What matters is the bit rate and codec used. The fact that these videos are 320x240 means nothing. Apple's videos appear to be encoded at ~500KBs with H.264. They look great at 1024 x 768. They would look equally as great if they were encoded as 160x120 or 1024x768 at 500KBs. The only thing the resolution setting does, is tell the player what size to default it's window to when the movie plays (as well as what aspect ratio it is).
 

steven_lufc

Registered
senne said:
Maybe the IR sensor of the iMac is located in the iSight webcam? There's also a light sensor inthere, so why not?
On the iMac, the IR sensor is in the Apple Logo on the front under the screen.
 

quiksan

awesomer...
I don't see HBO and similar networks selling their exclusive shows on iTunes. For exactly the reason FARV states - You'd cancel your cable/satellite subscriptions and just grab the iTunes shows.

I think the networks would much rather have a monthly inroad to your home/wallet rather than the occassional show you purchase from iTunes.

THAT SAID, I agree, it'd be awesome if you COULD buy HBO shows and the like from iTunes. I just don't see it happening to that extent.
 

mightyjlr

Registered
Fahrvergnuugen said:
Encoded video resolution is meaningless

What matters is the bit rate and codec used. The fact that these videos are 320x240 means nothing. Apple's videos appear to be encoded at ~500KBs with H.264. They look great at 1024 x 768. They would look equally as great if they were encoded as 160x120 or 1024x768 at 500KBs. The only thing the resolution setting does, is tell the player what size to default it's window to when the movie plays (as well as what aspect ratio it is).
no. resolution is very important. if I want to watch a show on my mac mini hooked to my 60" plasma, 160x120 or 320x240 will not look nearly as good as 1024x768. and that is with them all being at 500kbs.

i desperately want Front Row to put on that mac mini. Apple is dropping the ball here by not allowing it on other macs. who is going to sit and watch a movie in front of their computer at their desk. nobody I know. it is the paerfect application for the mac minis that are connected to my projector and to my plasma. why Apple doesn't realize this is beyond me.
 

Captain Code

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Lt Major Burns said:
but how long would a series of lost take to download if it were in 720 HD? or even 1080?

even on higher speed dsl, it would still take days (?). it takes about half an hour to download a little HD preview from quicktime.
It wouldn't take that long. TV shows around 624 x 352 that are available through alternative methods are only around 300 MB at about 1Mbit/s.

The data rate does make a big difference in the file size though.
 

texanpenguin

Registered Penguin
I foresee a demand for higher-res clips in the future (give it a year) that will cost much more (5 or 6 dollars), and they'll be like 640x480 or so.

320 x 240 H.264 scales *remarkably* well; certainly well enough for a TV show to only cost 2 dollars (that's craziness).
 

fryke

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Staff member
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I'm watching some videos on my video beamer. The beamer itself does 800*600. Videos start to look 'okay' when they are 512*x, better if they're 640*x and they're really, really good if they're 720*x. But 320*x blown up to a picture that is 5 metres wide... Nope, would harm my eyes. ;) ...
 

gwynarion

I stole the Sun
Fahrvergnuugen said:
I agree. I'll tell you what... if all of my favorite shows were available on iTunes for 1.99, I would cancel my digital cable. I think Apple is testing the waters here with these 5 TV shows that they're offering. They need to convince the HBOs, Cinemaxes and Showtimes that offering content through the store is a viable option. Once that happens, DVRs will be obsolete.
You must watch a lot less tv than I do, cause if I were to do that it would end up costing me about twice as much per month, at least.
 
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