With this basic setup, you can play back basic media using software you probably already have, such as iTunes, DVD Player, or Preview. That’s all well and good, but what if you want to do more by making things a little bit more integrated? The answer lies in using one of two applications: CenterStage, an open-source late-alpha media center front end, and MediaCentral, a more modest, but more polished media center front end.
CenterStage, with its companion BackStage, is an open-source project under active development. It’s a big project with an interesting interface, and it’s free to download and try out. It still has bugs and isn’t yet feature-complete, but it’s under active development, so check back for new versions. This software shows a lot of potential. It will cover video, audio, images, and more, but as of this writing, only the movie module is functional. Even if you don’t use it as a front end for your media center, do visit the Web site for the forums and the active discussion there.
MediaCentral is somewhat smaller in scope, but it’s also somewhat more complete. It also features support for a few of the EyeTV television devices by ElGato. Give it a go—especially if CenterStage isn’t doing the trick for you.