One of my favorite features of Apple’s Mac OS X is the clean and simple media players bundled within. QuickTime and Front Row are so much easier to use than Microsoft’s Windows Media Player, and Front Row presents a “10 foot” interface complete with a remote control. But I often find myself wanting to watch a movie without my remote in hand, and was distressed to see that Apple implemented entirely different keyboard shortcuts for the transport controls in QuickTime 7, QuickTime X, and Front Row.
Here’s my simple cheat sheet to Apple’s various media players.
For a company that prides itself on user experience and consistency, these controls are maddening. The only consistent control is the space bar as a play/pause toggle, and that’s pretty much universal in media players.
The mix of rewind and forward transport controls is just insane!
- The arrow keys are easy and obvious to press, yet they are mapped to a generally useless feature (step or frame rewind/forward) in QuickTime 7 and X! Why not use them for rewind and fast forward?
- Why doesn’t QuickTime 7 have a nice easy rewind/fast forward control, Apple? Command-arrow plays forward or backward, a totally useless feature.
- Front Row has the most intuitive (to me) control set, and includes a nice graphical indication of the three levels of fast reverse/forward offered by holding down left or right arrow.
- QuickTime X’s fast reverse/forward is a two-key combination with Command and arrow, making it difficult to remember and execute. I keep mixing it up with the chapter controls (which use Option and arrow) and losing my spot in the video.
I have seen lots of lists of QuickTime and Front Row keyboard shortcuts, but many seem wrong. Perhaps Apple eliminated some commands over time? For example, OS X Daily claims J, K, and L are rewind/fast forward transport commands for QuickTime 7, but these don’t seem to work in Snow Leopard.
Note that Final Cut Pro uses another different set of transport controls. J, K, and L are rewind, pause, and forward, and multiple presses change the speed. It uses the arrow keys for frame advance, too, but adds a 1 second advance with shift-arrow. So an Apple power user has to learn four different transport command sets? Give me a break!