And then I read it was audio only with lots of bugs. and you have to pay for it. Sorry but that is pretty ridiculous, in my opinion!
It's an alpha release for the cut rate price of $24.98, and JRiver has taken great pains to warn anyone considering it that it will be a long road to an eventual finished product and that even the audio only alphas and betas will not work seamlessly for the first year. That's hardly ridiculous, it's downright gentlemanly and transparent. It's completely up to you whether to support the product and company now. In return for $24.98 you essentially wager that JRiver will continue to develop the product and that eventually you'll get something that rivals the full featured Windows version. If you're not interested in paying $24.98 now and waiting for something that looks like a Mac app should, you can wait and pay $49.98 later. You'll end up in the same place, with the same full featured version; in the former instance JRiver will have earned the interest on your $24.98 for 12 months or so, in the latter you'll have the option to spend $49.98 12 months from now.
There's no way you should consider this for your parents, and the owner of JRiver would probably be the first person to tell you that! If your parents are brand new to HTPC and would like to watch a video, obviously they need something else. Start them off with iTunes and an Apple TV, get them conditioned with baby steps.
why would anyone waste their time with jriver on the mac...to play FLAC files?
Supporting FLAC natively will attract some people to JRiver, no doubt. Not me, because my library is ALAC, and there are other very good OS X audio players that already offer FLAC playback plus a whole lot more that work and look like Mac apps should..right now. I suspect a greater hope for JRiver on the audio side is for those who find iTunes a little unwieldy with very large libraries of music because JRiver is both player and manager--it can manage files itself instead of piggybacking on top of iTunes file management like other OS X audio players do. The much greater hope for a JRiver in OS X around here is that it can eventually do what the Windows version can with audio AND video, in other words that it can eventually supplant XBMC or Plex.
Some people like getting in on the ground floor of a product, helping to work through bugs and suggesting changes. Think of paying $24.98 right now for a JRiver OS X version like it is a kickstarter campaign...you're being asked to invest in a product to help get it off the ground with the full knowledge that it might not turn out to be what you want it to be.