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CenterStage open source media center updates, offers preview of future interface

David Chartier
06.11.07
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The Mac media center market is heating up lately, with a healthy collection of competitors to Apple's Front Row offering unique features and different UI experiences. This is great news for anyone who wants to turn an older Mac into a media center, or if Front Row simply doesn't float your boat. CenterStage, while still very much in alpha and under heavy development (they're always looking for more developers to lend a handy, by the way), is a promising open source media center that brings a strong style, some exclusive features and the promise of an impressive UI down the road.

For now, CenterStage covers the meat of what a media center needs to be pretty well: it can play movies, music and your photos; nothing too much to write home about there. CenterStage can already do interesting things like play TV shows recorded with EyeTV, but highlights from the planned features list, however, is what might peak more of your interest:
  • Bonjour support is coming to allow access to the media of other machines on the network, which will include viewing photos and slideshows from other computers (take that, Apple TV)
  • Subtitle support for playing movies
  • Live TV viewing
  • Live and scheduled TV recording
  • Game support - playing CD-ROM, Flash and emulation games
For now, CenterStage has released a significant v0.6.2 update which the team calls the "most fully functional release to date." For the future, however, the CenterStage crew have also produced a slick video of what the interface will eventually become, with demonstrations of browsing the library and a few other choice features.

Like I said though, CenterStage is still very much an alpha product so if you give it a spin, definitely treat it as such. Still, the project seems to be progressing nicely and it will be great to see the day when it is a formidable competitor to the likes of Front Row and equinux's MediaCentral.

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