An in-depth comparative review between Apple's Front Row and Microsoft's Windows Media Center declares the latter product to be the leader, but declares that, "Front Row will turn into a true Media Center challenger over time".

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows took the time to compare the two, with the author taking pains to say he uses Macs as well as Windows.

Microsoft is 'scared to death' of Apple

"One has to think that Microsoft has feared Apple's entry into the Media Center market for some time. Publicly, Microsoft says all the right things about Apple being a great competitor, and so on, but the truth is that Microsoft is scared to death of Apple," he writes.

When Apple CEO Steve Jobs launched Front Row (which has already been hacked and made available through some file-sharing networks, but isn't a whole bunch of use in Macs that don't have an infra-red control), he compared its iPod-like remote control with the far more complex Media Center one. The only hint of the intended target of the move - the front room PC.

Front Row - all front but low on function

"Front Row is pure Apple: Lots of style and flash, but not as functional as the competition. Not yet," Thurrott writes, accusing Apple of "copying" Microsoft (for a change).

He proceeds to examine each of Front Row's features: Music, movies, DVDs and pictures.

He concludes: "There is so much for Apple to do. Front Row needs more functionality, including TV recording features. It needs to work on its own and not load other applications each time the user wants to display various digital media content types. And Apple needs to make this software and the required hardware - the Apple Remote and an IR interface - available to all Mac OS X users."