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About Front Row

You are probably familiar with Front Row, but here’s a quick overview. Front Row combines the digital media power of iTunes, iPhoto, Apple’s QuickTime, and the ability to watch DVD movies from a single, easy-to-navigate interface. That interface, which is reminiscent of the iPod’s interface and the interfaces used by Tivo and many digital cable and satellite providers, make it easy to navigate all the media on a Mac using only Apple’s IR remote control. With each update, Front Row has become easier to use, is more stable, and offers new features.

Front Row itself is very easy to use. Simply press the menu button on the Apple remote and your desktop will be replaced by the Front Row menu, which includes icons for DVD, Music, Photos, and Movies. Use the right and left buttons on the remote to cycle through the options. To select one of the four, just press the play/pause button in the center of the remote. Then use the up/down buttons to navigate through the available selections by using the pause/play button to select items and the menu button to go back to the preceding menu. To exit Front Row and return to Mac OS X’s normal interface, click the menu button on the remote (or the escape key on the keyboard) while at the root menu (the four icons).

You’ll find that all your iPhoto albums and folders are represented under Photos as are all your iTunes playlists (including smart playlists) and music under Music. Any movies that are stored in either your iTunes library or the Movies folder inside your home folder are available under movies (folders in your Movies folder appear as menus that you can browse through). Playing content is as easy as locating a playlist or song or photo album or video and then selecting it.

Aside from being easy to navigate, Front Row’s interface makes use of Apple’s Quartz Extreme graphics layer to deliver a stunning 3D look, complete with previews of videos and photos within folders or albums as you browse. When playing music, album art is displayed, along with other song information (provided that the album art for songs is stored as part of your iTunes library). Equally nice is the oversized text Apple uses in Front Row that makes it easy to read from across the room (even if you are using an analog CRT television).

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