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Review: Do You Miss Front Row? Try nessMediaCenter

5 January 2014 6,127 views 2 Comments

Steve Jobs introduced Front Row (video below) on October 12, 2005. However, with the release of OS X Lion in July 2011, Front Row was dead. Although Apple won’t bring it back, Finess Software has created nessMediaCenter, which is a fair Front Row substitute.

First of all, nessMediaCenter is über compatible as it works on any PPC or Intel Mac running OS X 10.4.11 and up. Second, it presents iTunes and iPhoto content plus DVDs, which pretty much covers the Front Row side of things.

However, as advertised in the lede, it does a whole lot more.

nessMediaCenter 1.4 (download)
— easy to use with a clean look and feel
— direct access to movie / picture folder and volumes
— support of iPhoto albums and iTunes media including DRM
— comfortable selection of DVDs, EyeTV movies, PDF documents, pictures and videos in all common formats
— Media center and media presentations can be controlled by Apple remote control, NV Remote for iPhone / iPod touch or keyboard
— Mac OS X 10.4.11

The whole lot more is internet content from a wide range of sources, including YouTube, BBC, SkyNews, Spiegel, etc., including a nice variety of A, B, C and D list Hollywood films (image above). Haven’t seen Nina Hagen doing her version of White Punks on Dope in a while, or ever? nessMediaCenter can scratch that itch.

However fun nessMediaCenter is, and it is fun, the interface tends to bog down when browsing internet content. Another drawback is that this Front Row substitute isn’t multi-display aware, meaning it will only play on your Mac’s main display.

Although your mileage could vary, I dragged nessMediaCenter into the space I’ve assigned to my second display and it would software hang. C’est la vie.

It’s fun and costs €9.50. Or, if you don’t mind the occasional nag, free.

So, if you have been missing Front Row, give nessMediaCenter a try and then come back to tell us, in the comments, if you like it…

Look for Front Row at about 8 minutes in.

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  • nessMediaCenter said:

    The 64 bit version of nessMediaCenter (based on “AV Foundation”) is now available in the Mac App Store: nessMediaCenter - Finess UG

    Please note that the internet content - described here - is not available for the App Store version. But support of multiple displays / screens has been added shortly after this review.

  • nessMediaCenter said:

    Owners of multiple screens will love the nessMediaCenter improvements made on 12/15/2015: several presentations can now be displayed in fullscreen mode on multiple screens.

    On “Tips & Tricks” (http://www.nessmediacenter.com/en/html/tips.html) we added a step-by-step description how to handle this.

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