Leopard’s new Front Row look great and acts great and all, but there is a very crucial problem with it. If you have Perian, which is an open source QuickTime component that adds native support for popular video formats suchs as DivX and Xvid, installed on your system; you used to be able to see the subtitles (.srt, .sub) in Quicktime and in Front Row 1.3 – the old one in Tiger. With the new Front Row in Leopard, when the subtitles kick in all you get is a black screen.
I’ve been tinkering with this issue for a while now and boy, have I tried! I tried using Submerge to merge the subtitles with the movie. When you use the Save to disk option in Submerge, it throws out a .mov file that includes a .png layer that is the subtitles on top of the movie. It works in Quicktime, but you get the same black screen in Leopard.
I tried installing the old Front Row (1.3, forTiger) to Leopard. Front Row sits in /System/Library/CoreServices. If you have a machine running Tiger, you can copy the old Front Row from that to the machine running Leopard. Remember to back up the one you’re replacing though.
If you don’t have a machine running Tiger, you can download Front Row 1.3.1 from Apple, but you gotta fool the installer to install it on Leopard. I strongly recommend backing up your system before attempting this. Here’s what you gotta do:
-Remember to back up your current Front Row that is sitting in /System/Library/CoreServices.
-Copy FrontRowUpdate1.3.1.pkg from the .dmg you downloaded to your desktop.
-Right click on FrontRowUpdate1.3.1.pkg and select Show Package Contents.
-Extract Archive.pax.gz and copy the resulting Front Row.app to /System/Library/CoreServices
-Restart your machine and you should be able to launch old Front Row from your Apple Remote.
In my testing it worked most of the time, but it spurts out an error here and there. I can’t say that it’s very stable, but I’ll keep tinkering with this. Also, there is a discussion about this on the Apple Support Forum which you might want to check out.
If any of you reading this has any info or ideas about how to circumvent this subtitle black screen thingy, please sound off in the comments.