I Want My FrontRow-on-TV

Apple’s recent hardware announcements including Video iPod have caused a stir, but in reality it is Front Row software that should be getting all the headlines. While not as expansive as Microsoft’s Media Center platform, Front Row has the potential of easing us into the computer-television convergence. I think for those of us who are not early adopters, FrontRow is all about baby steps, while Media Center is for the do-it-yourself crowd.

“Apple is a company that takes complex technology and makes it easier and simpler to use,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs tells Fortune magazine’s Peter Lewis. “Our goal is to stand at the intersection of technology and the humanities.”

Front Row, is one of those products. It is a piece of software that runs on the new iMacs, and when fired-up gives an easy access to Music, Photos, Videos and DVDs and Video Podcasts. A little hackery could give us access to movies we have ripped as well. You can control these with the new Apple Remote. Such solutions have been available for the Windows world for a while, though none of them have been made this easy, and haven’t worked as well as Front Row seems to work.

I wonder why this program is not being offered as a standalone product to other Mac owners? Given that I just bought a brand new Power Book, I am unlikely to spend another $1700 on an iMac, which frankly is the only Mac product I hate. But Apple could still make some incremental dollars selling FrontRow to folks just like me.

I have an extra Powerbook, which I can plug-into my LCD display television using DVI-connector and enjoy the FrontRow on a big screen. It helps me find new use for my old Mac. Of course, it could prompt many of us to opt for buying a Mac Mini and just place it next to the television, or our A/VC set-up. I would gladly pay $49.95 for Front Row. In addition, they could dip into my wallet and charge $79.95 for a bluetooth version of their remote. Alas, Jobs is the new Howard Hughes, and who knows what he will do. This is all wishful thinking of a NyQuill-addled brain.

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