iTunes, Apple TV, and MP4 files on FireWire drive?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by gwsat, Apr 19, 2008.

  1. gwsat macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #1
    I am terribly confused by the creation and sharing of libraries issue, and the use of playlists. I was doing well after I learned to rip my movie DVDs with Handbrake, converted their files to MP4 format, loaded them into iTunes, and synced them with my Apple TV. But I soon realized that I had made a big mistake when the hard drive on my brand new MacBook Pro got full because I had foolishly left all of the MP4 files on my computer, in the movies folder, which is a subfolder of the iTunes folder.

    In an attempt to free up hard drive space on my computer, I moved the MP4 files to my external FireWire drive but discovered to my dismay that I had lost the synch and my movies had been deleted from my Apple TV. This meant that I had to start over and re-sync all of those movies so that they would be on the Apple TV. Not good.

    As a stopgap, I would like to create my MP4 files on an external 250 gig FireWire drive, which I connect to my computer and sync them to my Apple TV from there. How do I setup iTunes so that the MP4 files themselves are only on the FireWire drive and the Apple TV’s drive but not on my computer? I would certainly appreciate it if someone could tell me how to do this in words of one syllable.

    Ultimately, I would like to get a Time Capsule and store my movie files there to sync to my Apple TV with iTunes via my wireless network. But that is a problem for another day.

    All I have learned so far is that my understanding of the interaction among iTunes, Apple TV, and saved MP4 files is woefully lacking.
     
  2. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    #2
    Put your movie files on the external drive. Then, holding down the Apple+Option keys, drag and drop the files into iTunes. This will solve your problem.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  3. gwsat thread starter macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
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    #3
    Thanks for your response. Until I saw your post, which caused me to do a little research, I did not know about the Apple key + Option key combination’s ability to create an alias of dragged dropped files. That should do just what I need. Thanks again!
     
  4. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #4
    You're welcome.

    FYI, you're not creating an alias of the file. All you're doing is telling iTunes to add the file to its library but not to copy the file to the default library location.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  5. gwsat thread starter macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #5
    Michael – Thanks for your feedback. Actually, the Mac Help page entitled, “Shortcuts for working with items in the Finder” states that the result of the Apple key-Option-drag the file's icon combination is to “Make an alias to a file instead of moving it.” So I don’t know what happens but I am happy to know that it works.

    While we are on the subject, where in iTunes should I drag the file icons?
     
  6. northy124 macrumors 68020

    northy124

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2007
    #6
    Music Or Movies. It still add's to the right part of iTunes
     
  7. gwsat thread starter macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #7
    Great, thanks! I am beginning to dare hope that I can tame all of this. It hasn't been easy.
     
  8. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 26, 2006
    #8
    Yes, this method also works for creating an alias in the Finder. For example if you want to make an alias to a file on your desktop then you can drag and drop the file using the Apple+Option keys. However doing this into iTunes is not making an alias, it's just telling iTunes where the file is without moving or copying the file. It's a subtle difference.

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  9. gwsat thread starter macrumors 68000

    gwsat

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    #9
    Yeah, the trick seems to be that the Apple + Option key combination creates a placeholder rather than copying the entire file, which was just what I needed. I have now done this with a couple of movies and synced them to my Apple TV. Thanks again for the tip.

    Now that the actual movies have been copied to my Apple TV’s hard drive may I assume that iTunes no longer needs to see the other copy of my movies on my FireWire drive? If possible, I would prefer to leave that drive dismounted except for the times I need to use it.
     
  10. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2006
    #10
    If the movies are synced to the :apple:TV then you probably can leave the drive unmounted except when you want to sync new movies. I've not tried this so I can't tell you any personal experience, though. Perhaps someone else can?

    Regards,
    Michael
     
  11. gwsat thread starter macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
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    #11
    Based on the limited experiments I have done that seems to be the case. I did learn, though, that I couldn’t Get Info from one of the placeholder files unless my FW drive was mounted. When I tried this with the drive unmounted, it showed a 3 KB file and immediately changed the name of the file from the name of the movie to something else, which caused the Apple TV to delete the movie. I had to create a new placeholder in iTunes and resync it to clean up my mess. Seeing how much stuff you have to do to simultaneously keep iTunes and Apple TV happy and not fill up your hard drive is kind of depressing. :)
     
  12. spamdumpster macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    #12
    In iTunes preferences, advanced tab, there are two options that are relevant to this thread. (1) iTunes Music folder location; and (2) "Copy files to iTunes Folder when adding to library."

    Changing either or both of these options will solve the OP's problem. For example, one could change the default iTunes folder to a location on an external drive. If "Copy files to iTunes Folder when adding to library" is checked, adding files to iTunes from anywhere will cause iTunes to create a copy on the external drive. However, the downside of this method is that the external drive must be mounted at all times to use iTunes.

    I prefer to keep the iTunes folder at the default location, but to uncheck "Copy files to iTunes Folder when adding to library." This way, I can keep my media anywhere I want, and the drive need only be mounted if I want to access that media.

    One flaw with the Apple TV, is that there's no way to disable automatic syncing, so that, no matter what, if you store media on an external drive and the external drive is not mounted when you open iTunes, the files will be "unsynced" from the Apple TV if you run a sync and don't find the files. If anyone has a way around this issue, I would love to know it.
     
  13. gwsat thread starter macrumors 68000

    gwsat

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2008
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    #13
    Thanks to all of you who contributed to this thread, I needed your help. I’m now reasonably comfortable with the solution that I am using. I have Handbrake save the MP4 files it creates to my FW drive, Then I create an alias, or whatever it is, in iTunes by dragging and dropping the MP4 files on the FW drive to iTunes, using the Apple + Option key combination. I have iTunes setup so that it only syncs to the Apple TV when I tell it to. This seems to be working.
     

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