Front Row hacks circulating on Web

Front Row, a media center application that lets users manage movie, music, and slideshow playback, is at the centerpiece of the new iMacs unveiled by Apple last month. But despite the company’s insistence that Front Row would remain an iMac-only application in its initial release, some users have figured out ways to install the software on other Macs.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog, for instance, has posted a video on its Web site of a user in Switzerland who installed the application on his Mac mini. Other users have taken the matter beyond merely promoting the hack—the McMac Web site is offering copies of the Front Row software for download. The site also posted a copy of Photo Booth, a utility that allows users to take snapshots with the new iMac’s built-in iSight camera and add visual effects.

Apple declined to comment for this story. But instances of users illegally distributing its software is likely to attract the company’s attention.

Front Row lets you play DVDs and navigate through DVD menus; browse and play back any QuickTime-compatible movies in the Movies folder; play back slide shows from iPhoto books, albums, and slideshows; browse and watch movie trailers from Apple’s Web site, and watch video content purchased through the iTunes Music Store. These activities are controlled via a remote control that ships with the new iMac.

The hacked versions of Front Row circulating on the Web offer the same features, without the remote control.

The application has garnered growing interest since the iMac’s launch. More than 6,600 Mac users have signed an online petition asking Apple to bring the application to other Macs.

Editor’s Note: This story updates an article posted on the site earlier today.

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