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To play divx videos or movies in QuickTime / Front Row on Mac OS X, you need to install a divx codec. If you open an .avi file and see only black, you likely don’t have a divx codec installed.
This will be painfully obvious to the old school Mac crew, but having been a recent convert from twenty years of PC’ing, I recently discovered how cool it is to play movies and videos from my Macbook Pro. It’s like having a digital entertainment suite in your computer, complete with remote control that wows the crowd.
Pressing Apple key + Escape key will fade out your screen to black and then Front Row will show up with selections such as Movies, which lists all video files in your Movies folder within Finder. If you’ve got your remote handy you can navigate this menu using the + and – buttons to go up and down the list, using Play/Pause to make a menu item selection. To go back or Up a menu selection you can either press the Escape key on the keyboard or the circular small Menu button on the remote.
If you haven’t already, consider install a DivX decoder and Perian so that you get great video format playback capabilities on your Mac. Otherwise you may run into the situation where videos you’ve saved on your Mac play without sound and possibly without video either.