Squire Is Not Your Average Media Center
I like pretty things and I like to keep them organized (as much as I can). Which is why my iTunes library is complete with album art and metadata and my movies folder is organized with proper names and release year. Yes, I said folder because right now, that’s what works for me. I’ve tried using XBMC and Plex (back when I was a Windows only guy) but both programs were too complicated to use. At first, it was fun customizing and managing content in there, XBMC was so big it felt like an OS on its own. But soon, it got boring and I moved on. I went with a simple branched folder system.
Squire is a Mac app that’s much like XBMC and Plex, except not really. It is a media center, but as the website proudly proclaims, “not your average media center”. Squire is lightweight, simple, focused and also, it’s in beta. The last bit is important because it took me a solid 20 minutes session and a reinstall to get it working. I don’t know what the problem was, may be it was because I forgot to drag it to the Applications folder.
Squire is a two part app. There’s the menu bar utility that allows you to add source folders, manage your movies and TV shows, customize settings and subtitles, and fix wrong information. The app is only for viewing media. Talking in cinematic terms, the menu bar utility is your projector room and the app is your projection screen. From the menu bar utility you can specify the source for your movies and TV shows. I’m glad my movie collection was already organized in folders and given recognizable original names. This made it really easy for Squire to index the content. Once in a while, Squire will get something wrong but you can easily search for a title and reassign any media file.
This is the most minimal media center I’ve ever seen. There are no controls, no guides, no arrows, no nothing. Launch the app and you see two options, Movies and TV Shows. Pick one and your entire library is catalogued along with DVD covers and half faded backgrounds. Navigation wise, you are dependent on the keyboard (or an Apple Remote if you have one). Enter to select, Esc to go back and M to bring up options like subtitles and audio tracks during playback. As I said, you don’t get many options here. There’s no way to customize subtitle playback, or select a new source.
While I love how minimal the app is, I’d like to see more features added over time. A bit more control over the presentation and playback may be, some theme options or even support for established seeking options. Clearly, there’s a lot Squire can do, if it wants to do that. What to include and what to leave out will depend on the vision of the developers and will ultimately decide Squire’s destiny. Again, the app is in beta so there will be bugs here and there but in my testing the playback was never affected. So don’t let the beta tag stop you from trying this beautiful media center.