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Let Front Row Access Other User’s iTunes Account on the Same Computer November 17, 2010

Posted by Robert Harder in Utility.
Tags: , , ,

I wanted to set up my main iMac in a central location to replace an aging “half basketball” iMac that’s used for playing kid cartoons and music. I would like for this computer to play all the content in my iTunes library, but I do not want my account wide open for (little) people to muck about in.

Fast User Switching to the rescue! Kind of. If I leave iTunes running in my account and switch to the Kids account, their iTunes can see my shared library; that’s a good start. I want Front Row to be able to see that item under “Sources,” but it does not.

People seem to appreciate my post about Streaming iTunes over SSH, and it turns out that the trick there helps us solve the Front Row problem as well. Running a single dns-sd command takes care of the problem (all one line):
dns-sd -P "Local iTunes" _daap._tcp local 3689 localhost.local. "Arbitrary"
How you run that is up to you. If you want to always, and sometimes falsely, advertise that you have an iTunes library shared, you can make this command run permanently with launchd. One way to do this is to create a file in ~/Library/LaunchAgents called something like net.iharder.shareitunes.plist:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
<plist version="1.0">
		<string>Local iTunes</string>
		<string>Arbitrary Text Record</string>

You can log out and log back in to kick start this, or you can get it started from the command line:

launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/net.iharder.shareitunes.plist



1. Steven - September 15, 2011

You are a genius. This allowed me to get Front Row back on Lion when I thought all hope was lost. I posted my solution here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/3195183?start=167

2. Louis - September 21, 2011


I tried this, but it didn’t work. I used vi to create the file, copied it to ~/Library/LaunchAgents/net.iharder.shareitunes.plist

When I run the command launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/net.iharder.shareitunes.plist I get the following.

launchctl: unknown subcommand

so I tried to run it manually from the terminal. when I do this, it doesn’t file the filename (autocomplete) when I hit the tab key to complete the line, even though it shows up in finder. When I hit the tab key at the end of launchagents/ it shows files that are not in my finder window.

Not sure what that means.

I then moved the file to my Desktop and re-ran the command from the terminal and below is what is showing.

dns-sd -P “Local iTunes” _daap._tcp local 3689 localhost.local. “Arbitrary”
Registering Service Local iTunes._daap._tcp.local host localhost.local. port 3689 TXT Arbitrary
11:27:31.231 Got a reply for record localhost.local.: Name now registered and active
11:27:31.231 Got a reply for service Local iTunes._daap._tcp.local.: Name now registered and active

but when I go into frontrow / sources / local itunes, it does it’s thing and comes back to my computer name ituens lib and a local itunes lib. I go out and back into sources and file the computer name itunes, and it still shows no content, and if I pick the “local itunes” it looks like it is stuck in a loop. showing just the round circle “hour glass”, and I have to etc out of it.

Any Suggestions?
TIA Louis

3. JYF - September 30, 2011

Doesn’t work for me. I’m using a French-localized Front Row taken from Snow Leopard, could it be the explanation?

4. JYF - September 30, 2011

Details: in “Sources”, Front Row only shows “iMac”. No “Local iTunes” at all (and iTunes local sharing is enabled).

5. subhash chi - October 1, 2011

hi Robert. my problem is same as Louis….please…………find some solution….

6. Eng Gian- Malaysia - October 5, 2011

It’s working! Thanks Robert

7. Jonathan - December 28, 2011

Umm I am not trying to step on anyones toes or anything, but I did a little playing around with Frontrow and found that my iPhoto library worked without any issues already and I also found an easy way to make my iTunes video library (or any video folder) work with Frontrow as well.

In the end, all I did to make the video portion work was to create an alias (shortcut) to the iTunes movies and tv shows folders and then place them in the Movies folder that pops up as an option for Frontrow.

This way all I have to do is open Frontrow, then select the Movies Folder, then go to either the iTunes movies alias or the iTunes tv shows alias and it opens up the actual folder containing the video files themselves which sidesteps iTunes all together. Frontrow doesn’t need iTunes permission to play the video files…it just needs the right video file format. So as long as the actual video file is friendly with Frontrow, it can be played without going through the hassle of involving iTunes.

Doing it this way worked like a charm for me and it is just as user friendly as it was with previous to all of the changes that Apple made. If your curious…I am running a 2008 15″ Macbook Pro with OSX Lion 10.7.1 and iTunes 10.4.

The only catch is that I couldn’t figure out how to make the music work. Granted I didn’t really spend much time working on it because I never really use Frontrow for music. If you are someone who uses Frontrow for videos and photos like me then you might give this a try.

1. Go to iTunes music folder
2. Locate the Movies and/or TV shows folder
3. Right click on that folder and select “make alias”
It will then make an “alias” (which is just a shortcut to that specific folders location)
4. Drag that “alias” into the Movies folder
5. Then start up Frontrow to check that its in the Movie folder, which it should be…
6. Then select that “alias” and it automatically go into the iTunes video folder that you made the alias of and allow you to play any video file as you normally would with front row
7. Enjoy being able use Frontrow again.

I hope this helps.

8. Teo - Rome, Italy - January 3, 2012

Hi Jonathan, Hi Robert and Hi everybody,

I have found and tried the same you explain above just few minutes before discovering this thread. It’s perfect with video files. The problem for me is that MUSIC in iTunes doesn’t like to be played in Front Row. I recently updated iTunes to the 10.5.2 release and it seems not to work with the trick used by Robert.

Does anyone know some updated informations about the issue?

Thank you so much

9. Kiz - January 4, 2012

Wow!! That tip about creating aliases worked for my movies so well chuffed.

Not worried about my music. Can stream it from my iPod/ipad or macbook to external speakers connected to an Apple Express.

Also got an Apple TV and iTunes Match so can stream them through that. But Front Row for movies is awesome cos much better interface for watching movies.

So thanks guys

10. Dave - January 20, 2012

Great actually got it to work, only one slight gripe in as much as it does not seem able to pick up the artwork for any movie, TV Show or music any thoughts anyone?

11. Front Rowを割と復活させる for Lion | Some neighborhood - February 12, 2012

[…] そんでログアウトアンドログインで常に有効に。 上記の任意で名前変えて良さそうなところは変えてオKです。 参考サイトは以下。 http://blog.iharder.net/2010/11/17/frontrow-access-other-users-itunes-account-on-the-same-computer/ […]

12. Pete - February 12, 2012

This works for music, but not my video files.
I used ‘Movie2iTunes’ to get my AVI files into iTunes, small MOV files to represent the AVI. Works great to get my AVI’s into iTunes, but when I share on network, they don’t show. Any idea how to get around this?
Works great for sharing music though.

13. Robert Harder - February 12, 2012

@Pete I can’t speak to your situation directly, but I’ve had trouble with AVIs in iTunes too, even wrapped in a QuickTime movie. For instance even sharing with Windows iTunes on another computer, MOV-wrapped AVIs give me grief.

Frankly I’m disappointed in the whole industry when it comes to media centers. Plex (plexapp.com) is nice, but it gives me a whole other set of trouble.

14. Peter - February 13, 2012

@Robert I’ve now taken to using Quicktime Pro 7 or Handbrake to convert my AVI collection to MOV or M4V files. These share just fine in iTunes, and so with your script they show up in Front Row. Not perfect still but very acceptable.
Question: Is the new iTunes unable to communicate with Front Row or is Front Row unable to communicate with the new iTunes? Or is it that the mac-hatter installer of Front Row missing something vital that is needed to make the whole thing work again?

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16. Mountain Lion - May 2, 2013

Is there a way to undo this and get the “Local iTunes” share that points to I gave up on Front Row shortly after doing this, and now I want to remove this useless share from showing under my shared libraries in iTunes. Thanks.

17. Mountain Lion - May 2, 2013

CORRECTION to my prior post: I want to remove “Local iTunes”, not get.

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