If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.
The above quote is from Ed Rendell, Governor of Pennsylvania regarding the moving of the Eagles/Vikings game from Sunday to Tuesday due to the snow storm hitting the East Coast. <sarcasm>Of course, all Asians are "very good at calculation"</sarcasm> but it was pretty damn funny. I'll give him a pass for at least being witty in his semi-racially insensitive remarks.
I've been tweaking the home theatre settings the past week or so (see hardware specs in my previous post on this topic). Through a bit of trial and error I think I've perfected my configuration. Here's my journey to that ultimate destination...
Quicktime is an excellent overall media player. That coupled with Front Row was my initial choice for navigating the media center. However, out of the box, it doesn't handle all types of video files well, especially 1080P. I had to download Perian (awesome product) to get the right components for Quicktime to play the video smoothly. Even still, Front Row seemed to stutter and choke on large video files. I could play the files in Quicktime from the desktop but the experience just wasn't ideal. I didn't want to have to initiate video playback from my desktop as it wasn't a clean media center experience.
Upon a little more research, I found a great alternative - Plex. A free and open system based on the XBMC code base, Plex has a nice user interface and was able to play all the video files I threw at it flawlessly. No stuttering, dropped frames, or hiccups. Another bonus was that Plex reads the video files in your library and then pulls content like movie posters, background images, and cast info from sources like IMDB to enhance the media center experience. Below are some sample screens of some popular movies in my library. The third picture in the below gallery is a DVD rip of Triumph of the Nerds (one of the best tech documentaries ever). It even handles DVD menus (Picture 4) though the navigation of said menus is a little clunky with the Apple remote.
Below is a quick video of me navigating through the Plex menu and playing back a 1080P video file. Pardon the poor lighting of the video, which does not do justice to how beautifully Plex plays HD video. Wife gets credit for her camera work on this video.
For my next task, ripping Blu-ray discs so I can avoid having a disc player completely. Stay tuned...