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Leopard Front Row subtitle blackout


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 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.

Posted By Muzo B

3 Responses to “Leopard Front Row subtitle blackout”

  1. tom says:

    VideoDrive, a tool to put videos in iTunes (and Front Row) without reconverting them, has released a version that finally displays SRT and SUB subtitles in Leopard Front Row! It’s available at and works great!

  2. Mads says:

    I have the same black screen issue. However, when i uninstall Perian the screen is still black when the subtitles kick in. Any ideas how to fix this?

  3. André Nozawa says:

    I am using Snow Leopard and Quicktime X.

    This is going to be embarrasing for Perian’s Dev Team. Sorry. You guys can also download and see what were missed. This proves that the problem was actually Perian and not Apple.

    I found a modified version of Perian, so first you have to uninstall the current version of Perian. After installing it you don’t have to do anything on Preferences Panel just leave all the settings as it is.


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