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10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac Apps
If you are running a Mac that does not have an infrared sensor (such as all the older Macs, or even the latest Mac Pros), you cannot run Front Row out-of-the-box on Tiger. The Keyspan Front Row remote also does not work.

In fact, many of the the Macs running Tiger that do not have a built-in IR sensor do not even come with Front Row pre-installed. The big exception is the Mac Pro, which comes with Front Row pre-installed with Tiger (but it does not run, since it does not have a built-in IR sensor). Note that if you upgrade to Leopard, Front Row is installed and runs, even if your Mac does not have a IR sensor (just use the keyboard to navigate). If you want to use a remote (and your Mac did not come with one), the Keyspan Front Row remote is one option. Just plug in the USB RF sensor that comes with it into a USB port, and use the RF remote. It's that simple!

But if you want to use Tiger, Front Row (with or without a remote) will not run unless your Mac came with a built-in Infrared sensor. There are a number of solutions to get Front Row to run on these Macs running Tiger.

Before we start, note that if you are really lazy, you can download a program called Activate Front Row from MacUpdate. Apparently, it does all of the following for you. However, I am always a little nervous with closed source software that installs kernel extensions. With my approach, you manually install an open source kernel extension, which is safer in my view. Here's how to do just that...

[robg adds: I would agree with the above statement on Activate Front Row -- somewhat strangely, there's no home page associated with the software that I can find anywhere. Download links on MacUpdate, Softpedia, etc. aren't linked to a developer site. With something as low-level as a kernel extension, I would be a bit hesitant to install such code without more information about where it came from. The step-by-step solution below is definitely a safer solution, even if it does require more work.]

First, you will likely need to install Front Row on your Mac running Tiger (unless you are using a Mac Pro!). You can download Front Row (version 1.3.1) directly from Apple. But Apple has crippled the installer, so it will not install on Macs without an IR sensor.

There are ways to get around this, but depending on where you live, you might be violating Apple's copyright or license agreement. Check your local laws first. If it is legal, then check other hints on this website or use Google to find out how you can install the Front Row software. (Since I was using a Mac Pro, I did not need to install Front Row. It just doesn't work).

Second, you will need to fool the Mac into thinking it has a built in IR sensor. (Unless Front Row sees an IR sensor, it will not run). Once Front row is running, you can use the keyboard to navigate the menus, or use a Front Row capable remote. There are three ways to fool Front Row into thinking your Mac has a built in IR sensor:
  1. Patch system files. This solution is used by Front Row Enabler. Unfortunately, that project appears to be abandoned, and no longer works on the latest version of Tiger. I am also not a big fan of modifying system files
  2. Modify an existing Kernel Extension (or driver) to fool the mac into thinking there is a infrared sensor. This solution is outlined in this older hint. However, it's a pain to implement if you are using a non-Apple mouse. (You must find the right kernel extension or driver that your mouse uses). It could also be risky, as you are modifying a system file.
  3. Add a new kernel extension (or driver) to fool the Mac into thinking there is an infrared sensor. I like this approach the best; read more below on how to do it.
Here are the steps required to add an IR-fooling extension:
  1. Download IRKeyBoardEMU from brandon-holland.com. (It is free and open source; version 0.3 was latest as of this writing.) However, do not install it!
  2. Mount the DMG in the FInder. Control-click on the Installer Image and click Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Double-click on the Contents folder, then double-click on the Archive.pax.gz file. At this stage, a new folder called Library should appear on your Desktop.
  3. In the Library folder on your Desktop, navigate into the StartupItems » IREmu folder. In this folder, you should see the file IRKeyboardEMU.kext.
  4. Copy IRKeyboardEMU/kext to /System » Library » Extensions (via Finder or Terminal).
  5. Control-click on IRKeyBoardEMU.kext in the Extensions folder, then choose Get Info from the pop-up menu. Make sure IRKeyboardEMU.kext is owned by root (or admin), and has the group set to wheel.
  6. Control-lick on IRKeyBoardEMU.kext in the Extensions folder, and select Show Package Contents from the pop-up menu. Control-click on Contents folder and select Get Info from the pop-up menu. Make sure the Contents folder (and ALL enclosed items) are owned by root (or admin) and has the group set to wheel.
  7. Open Terminal and type this command in a user account that has Admin privileges to rebuild the kernel kext caches when you reboot:
    sudo touch /System/Library/Extensions
  8. Reboot
To run Front Row, you can use the keyboard -- Command-Escape activates Front Row, or you can use the Keyspan Front Row remote, or other Front Row capable remote.

Note: For a couple of boots, you might see Keyboard Setup Assistant at startup. This is normal, since Tiger thinks the Keyspan Remote is a wireless keyboard. (It is a type of wireless keyboard. But one with only a couple of keys!). Just cancel the assistant, since I do not think there is any way to finish the assistant. After a couple of reboots, Tiger finally understands that you do not want to run the assistant, and you never see the assistant pop up again.
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10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac | 7 comments | Create New Account
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10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: sd on Mar 04, '08 09:35:04AM

Installing the whole IRKeyboardEmu does not work?



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10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: RobK on Mar 11, '08 06:44:54AM
Well, I have found that just installing IRKeyboardEmu causes problems since it installs MORE than just the kernel extension. It also installs some LOGIN items that run each time you boot the Mac. These login programs intercept EACH key press on the remote or when you press a key on the keyboard and just mess things up. e.g. Press the down arrow key and you go down TWO items NOT just one item. You quickly get very frustrated.

It is better just to install the kernel extension. The method outlined above does this and so does the "Activate Front Row" application found on www.macupdate.com

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: fritztoch on Mar 04, '08 09:56:08AM
I simply used FrontRow Enabler: http://andrewescobar.com/frontrow/
Worked on my G4 Mac mini and iBook G4 800MHz.

[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: ATHStudios on Mar 04, '08 10:24:50AM

I have also done this many times by downloading Front Row (version 1.3.1) directly from Apple. and then using Pacifist to install it.
hope this helps.
~ATH



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: RobK on Mar 11, '08 06:55:39AM

Front Row Enabler was the first widely distributed program that enabled front row on Macs without an IR sensor. But it appears that Front Row Enabler is no longer being developed. Pity!

As a result, Front Row Enabler does NOT run on 10.4.11. If you were using Front Row Enabler and you upgraded your old Powerbook to 10.4.11, you will find that Front Row will no longer work.

Front Row Enabler also does not support the latest version of Front Row for Tiger, version 1.3.1 - unless you do a hack.

I would also be nervous with the approach used by Front Row Enabler. It patches system binaries.

Personally, I prefer the approach outlined in this hint which just adds a new OPEN SOURCE Kernel extension. It is much safer and more reliable in my view.



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10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: hazkid on Mar 04, '08 01:47:00PM

"There are ways to get around this, but depending on where you live, you might be violating Apple's copyright or license agreement. Check your local laws first. If it is legal, then check other hints on this website or use Google to find out how you can install the Front Row software. (Since I was using a Mac Pro, I did not need to install Front Row. It just doesn't work). "

Ooooh, I'm scared now.

Pacifist is the way to go.

---
Naren Hazareesingh



[ Reply to This | # ]
10.4: Another way to run Front Row on any Mac
Authored by: c0nsigliere on Jan 10, '09 03:52:00PM
Very nice! This hint enables you to install front row (see also my comment there).

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