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Sofa Control, or how to operate your Mac from the sofa

When I decided to buy my first Apple Computer, a MacBook, some months ago, I was planning on using it as a Media Center, connecting it to my HD Ready TV. And one of the features that I expected to use the most with it was the FrontRow. However, I was a little disappointed on the lack of configuration options you have on that software, specially when playing movies (I found it extremely useful anb beautiful for iTunes and iPhoto integration).

One of the first problems I encountered was with some codecs. FrontRow uses the QuickTime player, and that program seem to have some problems with video formats. I had to install some third party plugins for it to be able to play such a [now] standard video format as WMV. Another big problem I found was the lack of subtitle rendering option. English is not my native language, and although I’m improving every day, I often need to have my English spoken videos bundled with subtitles that come in external files such as SRT or SUB files. As far as I know, QuickTime player does not have support to render those files.

So one of the features I expected to use on my MacBook was ruined for some of those reasons, because using another video player in a FrontRow style was impossible… until I found Sofa Control. I’m not the kind of man to believe in the typical company “mottos”, but I firmly believe in this one: “Applications that should have been in the box”. This is the motto of CASE Apps, people responsible of Sofa Control, and I have to absolutely agree with them.

Sofa Control is a software that takes out the best use of the new Mac Family Remote Controls, which allow you to use FrontRow. Sofa Control goes further and allows you to absolutely control almost every typical piece of software for Mac OS, including some popular video players such as VLC, the one I use on Mac OS and one that supports almost every video coden and has builtin subtitle support. With Sofa Control you can use you remote to play/stop/resume multimedia files, slide pages on PowerPoint, Keynote or PDF presentations, use it as a virtual mouse moving with the control arrows, and a lot more. This is exactly what you need to simply be able to fully control your Mac when you’re laying on your bed or your sofa. The perfect software for lazy people like me! And it has a builting script manager to allow you to write your own scripts for new applications.

The only thing I miss from it it’s that it’s not free, but it costs only $14.95, and to be honest, it’s worth the price.

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