Ever since I got my MacBook Pro, I’ve been dying to play content that I’ve recorded off of BeyondTV on my PC. Thing is, Front Row will only play the MPEG4 format natively. If you want to play BeyondTV’s files, MPEG2, you have to purchase QuickTime Pro for $30 and then purchase the MPEG2 plug-in for another $20! Why do I have to pay $50 for the most common video format that Windows and even VLC play for free?
I figured there had to be a hack somewhere that would let me use someone else’s codec for Front Row. But after countless Google searches and forum reading, I found none. Front Row is tied in really tightly with QuickTime. “Oh well, I’ll just use VLC then,” I pouted. That was until I did one more search and found MediaCentral.
MediaCentral is a godsend from equinux. It not only replicates Front Row’s look and feel and ease of use, but takes it a step further and adds TV viewing! Further adding to the already great multimedia experience of Front Row, MediaCentral will also play VOB files in addition to DVD discs. No need to tell MediaCentral where those files are either, it’ll find them. Also added to the mix is a large selection of streamed movie trailers. Better iPhoto integration as well as iTunes are on tap, too. Heck, equinux even improved the remote control part. Not only can you use the Apple Remote, but you can also use ATI’s Remote Wonder and the Remote Wonder II along with any other remote. You can even use your Bluetooth phone!
But what about the MPEG2, you ask? Well yeah, that’s what led me to the find. Yes, it supports MPEG2 in addition to AVI, DivX, DV Files, Xvid, MP3, AC3 codecs, MPEG1, and Apple’s beloved MPEG4. Did you catch Xvid and AVI? Crazy, cool support, huh? It’s also cool to watch raw DV files sitting in your Movies folder that still haven’t been edited into an iMovie yet. Oh yeah, if you have SRT (subtitles) files, MediaCentral will display those, too.
I could go on and on about how great MediaCentral is, but I have other things to do… like watch movies! Unlike Front Row, this will run on any PowerPC and Intel Mac (yes, it’s Universal).
I was (grudgingly) willing to pay up to the $50 Apple wanted for its cheap Band-Aid fix since this does so much more, but I was floored to find that equinux doesn’t want a single penny! Dude, download this now before these guys wise up to what they’ve got and start charging for it!