distantDVD, I’ve found my DVD launcher

distantDVDWell after my ‘The sad state of Mac HTPC front-ends’ post, I’m happy to report I’ve found my full-screen Video_TS launcher. As you know I’ve mentioned distantDVD here several times before, but the early versions only supported 1360×768 which made testing the app out on my projector somewhat difficult.

Not to worry however as Tom over at distantDVD recently finalized support for my particular resolution namely 1280×720. For those who have missed my earlier references to the app, distantDVD is a VIDEO_TS launcher which also supports MPG, MPEG, and AVI files. This app was about as easy to set up as could be.

Simply extract the contents of the .dmg file to the directory of your choice and select the launcher for your resolution. The first time the app is run it will prompt you to specify the directories where your VIDEO_TS files are located, click save and viola there are your DVD’s displayed very nicely, in the span of just of a few minutes.

You’ll want to drop a .jpg of the individual DVD covers, into their respective folders to get the full effect.

Navigating through the on-screen GUI can be accomplished with just about any device that can repeat keyboard commands. Both my wireless keyboard and Keyspan remote worked like a champ.

As I’ve indicated before I really prefer dark colored themes for my HTPC applications and distantDVD definitely fits that bill. The look of Tom’s GUI is exactly what I was after. To be honest with you it almost feels like Front Row’s long lost cousin of a Video_TS launcher, but in lieu of Front Row supporting TS files, this will do just fine thank you.

In all honesty if distantDVD supported movie trailers I would lock the app into my startup preferences and I wouldn’t ever have need to see my desktop again, baring the occasional maintenance. My mini stays in our home theater, in case that last statement sounded odd.

About the only complaint I can think of in regards to distantDVD is that the GUI is so clean and professional looking, I wish it would remain in the foreground after the DVD is finished playing, in its current state the app closes once the DVD is launched.

Speaking of that DVD launch, distantDVD can launch either Apple’s DVD player or VLC Player. distantDVD works with any G3, G4, G5 or Intel Mac running OS X 10.3 or later. Display resolutions of 1360×768 and 1280×720 are currently supported.

If you’re searching for a great looking VIDEO_TS front end for your mini, I highly recommend giving distantDVD a try.


3 Responses to “distantDVD, I’ve found my DVD launcher”

  1. Erik Ableson Says:

    Just a quick aside on this one. I’ve been hoping that Front Row would put the same interface on their trailers for browing locally stored VIDEO_TS folders, but given the potential media industry backlash this doesn’t seem very likely.

    However, I have found that the perfect interim (or long term) solution is Salling Clicker. I just tried out a quick test using MacTheRipper to copy a DVD to my Movies folder, and then using Salling Clicker to run the DVD Player. There’s an option to list all available VIDEO_TS films in a given folder. It’s not as pretty or interactive as displaying the jackets on screen, but it works perfectly, and no fiddling with resolution issues.


  2. Murph7355 Says:

    Looks like Tom has just sorted distantDVD to not quit once a film ends (v0.05b).

    Nice thing about this is that you can now activate Front Row whilst distantDVD is running. When you then exit Front Row, it swaps back into distantDVD.

    It all looks pretty seamless which is very nice.

    Be nice if Apple allowed the options in Front Row open any app (e.g. Movies to open distantDVD), but you can’t have everything.

    One step closer to the Mac Media Centre for me 🙂

  3. Dan Lynch Says:

    I too have looked at all front end video media programs and really like Distant DVD…Tom keeps improving!

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