iTunes/Front Row TV Shows - EXT HDD

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by digitalpencil, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. digitalpencil macrumors 6502

    digitalpencil

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #1
    Hi,

    I've ripped a load of DVD movies and stored them on my EXT HDD. I then created an alias for this directory and dropped that into the 'Movies' folder on my internal. Presto, I can now see my external movies via front row.

    I could do the same with my TV Shows however, I would like these to be accessible via the 'TV Shows' pane in Front Row. Is there any way I can point this to my EXT HDD's 'TV Shows' directory?

    I've never downloaded any shows from iTunes store and can't find a TV Shows folder in iTunes/Music anywhere..

    Any ideas are more than welcome, thanks!
     
  2. themachatter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #2
    I would also like to know this, I just set up front row then spent about 10 minutes trying to find a TV Shows folder that FR would've read from.
     
  3. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Location:
    Balham, London
    #3
    The TV Shows folder is definitely in the iTunes music folder... it might not show up until you import a compatible file into itunes and change it's movie type to TV Show... that or just create a folder in there.

    I spent a few days converting all my shows to h.264 and importing them into iTunes so they show up in the TV Shows heading on Front Row. I haven't tried putting an .avi file in their to see if it'll work but it should.

    I'm converting and putting stuff in iTunes because I'm planning on getting an AppleTV at some point.
     
  4. Padraic macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2007
    Location:
    Somewhere between here and there...
    #4
    The TV Shows directory is under /Music/iTunes/iTunes Music/TV Shows on my system. They're then arranged by the name of the show.

    Hope this helps!
     
  5. ironring2006 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #5
    I believe you have to actually add the file via iTunes manually, not just put it in the folder. If you don't add it via iTunes, the library database won't see the file and it won't show up in Front Row. I've just (re) tried this myself to verify.

    I have a FamilyGuy episode in my home/Movies/TV Shows/Family Guy/ folder. I opeened it and saved it as a reference file in quicktime (now file extension is *.mov). I imported this in iTunes and edited the info so that it is of type TV Show.

    I also have a Family Guy episode on an external drive that is attached in extdrivename/Vides/TV Shows/Family Guy. I opened that file directly in quicktime and saved the reference file to the same directory. I then imported the reference file in iTunes and edited the info so that it is of type tv show.

    I quit iTunes (to make sure the database was updated) and started front row. Under TV Shows, I know have a Family Guy folder that shows both episodes, and they both play.

    You can't just directly put an avi file in the same folder or have an alias point to a folder with avi files in it. In order for the files to properly show up in front row, you have to be able to see them in the TV Shows portion of iTunes.

    Also, transcoding your material will usually result in a loss of quality. If you have a file type that you can't import into iTunes, but can play back in quicktime and you want it to show up, you can open it in Quicktime and then save it as a reference file. The reference file will be small, and will simply tell iTunes to use the appropriate quicktime plugin to play it back. You then import the reference file into iTunes, and the reference file will then look for the source when it is played. You then change the file info/database entry in iTunes for the reference file so that it is type "TV Show".

    Your source file can be on an external drive, as long as the reference file was created when the path to the source file was the same. For instance, if you have the show as "ExtDrive/videos/tvshows/FamilyGuy/FGS03E01.avi", the reference file in iTunes knows this.

    If you change your folders around on your external drive so its now at "ExtDrive/media/tvshows/FamilyGuy/FGS03E01.avi", then you'll have to make a new reference file and reimport that into iTunes. It may be a bit tedious getting everything done, but its a lot better than transcoding a bunch of videos and losing the quality. However, a stock AppleTV will not make use of external Quicktime plugins, only the codecs that the system is shipped with (which does not include xvid).
     
  6. digitalpencil thread starter macrumors 6502

    digitalpencil

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #6
    Thanks ironring,

    That's a big help, I've tried the reference files and they work great!
    Is there anyway of batch saving a directory of movies as reference files?
    I've had a look for an applescript but can't find one.

    Thanks again
     
  7. themachatter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2007
    #7
    This really helped me out thanks!! Also looking for an applescript to do this work for me (gone through 3 seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm and it's starting to get tedious).
     
  8. digitalpencil thread starter macrumors 6502

    digitalpencil

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #8
    Overall Guide

    Hi,

    After crawling the web i've found what I think to be the most hands-free method to being able to access you're ripped/downloaded TV Shows stored on your EXT HDD via the 'TV Shows' tab in both iTunes & Front Row.

    1) As irondog pointed out, you need to be able to play all the movies in quicktime before iTunes or Front Row will be able to read them.
    Therefore i'd advise installing Perian which, provides Quicktime with various codecs allowing better compatibility.
    & Flip4Mac to enable WMV/WMA playback

    2) Next, download Movie2iTunes. This drag&drop applescript enables you to import mov, mpg, mp4, avi, wmv & swf files directly into iTunes but instead of duplicating your movies, it creates & saves reference files (4k(ish) a piece)) pointing to the location of your TV Shows on your external drive.

    3) Movie2iTunes stores all the imported TV Shows under the 'Movies' category in iTunes. To change this you can go through and change the video type for each file to 'TV Shows' using 'Get Info' but i'd recommend using SetVideoKindOfSelected V2.0 which, allows you to batch process the info of all selected files, changing video type, show name, season and even incrementing episode numbers!

    Presto, the ripped/downloaded TV Shows on your EXT HDD are now accessible via the TV Shows tab in iTunes & Front Row, correctly titled & everything!

    Hope this helps anyone else wondering about this :D
     
  9. LouisBlack macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    Location:
    Balham, London
    #9
    It's information like this that makes me happy I sit on forums all day at work :D I've been really hating manually changing movie type of all my shows...
     
  10. krissvl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    #10
    Really slow?

    Hi guys i spent all last night doing this to my archieve of TV shows and Movies. i think its great but runs really slow in Front Row 2.0 whats up with that?
     
  11. krissvl macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    #11
    embedding art work for movies in itunes with reference files

    I have worked on this an am now very happy but still unsure on putting Artwork into my movies, when i place the art in the get info window it does stay in there, is this something to do with the reference file? can i embed artwork another way prehaps out of itunes
     
  12. thenetstud macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2007
    Location:
    Saskatoon, SK
    #12
    I am in the same boat, I use movie2itunes to move .avi files into iTunes but the album artwork doesn't stick.
     
  13. theorracle macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #13
    I have tried this prescribed method above. Taking the look at the reference file batch script (Movie2iTunes), I've found it simply creates an XML file which links back to the original. However, I believe this isn't a true reference movie that you'd get from going into QT and saving as a reference movie.

    These XML files are called Quicktime Media Links.. or something like that. Does the same job, but I think there's something more to normal reference movies that allow you to save artwork and other options.

    Either way, I personally haven't found a way to automate the process AND get artwork.
     
  14. pieterdhondt macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2008
    #14
    Has anyone still movie2itunes somewhere? I tried looking for it, but it seems all servers are down... :(
     
  15. bjriffel macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2009
    #15
    Ok, I've taken the time to recode all my avi files to m4v to play back on my AppleTV. I've also been ripping all my DVD's to m4v as well. I pointed the default iTunes location to a folder on an external drive, and them imported all the movies. It copied them all to the drive and they show up in iTunes as well as aTV. However, they don't show up in Front Row. Yes, I can make an alias in the Movies folder, but as describe previously, I lose the functionality of the TV Shows menu option in FR. So I tried to undo some of this. I set iTunes back to the default locaiton, clean out the iTunes library. All the folders are now in my user directory. I imported a movie and a TV show, and edited the meta data accordingly. They show up in iTunes where they should be, but FR still won't see either of them. So where does FR get the list of shows from? I know that Movies is listing them from the user directory movie folder, but there is no TV Shows folder except for inside of the iTunes folder.

    ARRRRGGGG!
     
  16. theorracle macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    #16
    bjriffel, your setup is very similar to mine. However, all of my iTunes entries show up in both FrontRow and on my AppleTV. The one difference I see immediately is you say you're using m4v files. I've been using mp4. I can't say I really understand the difference between the two, or if it's really only just the extension. I might try changing the extension to mp4 just for the hell of it.

    Wondering what you're using for DVD rips. Handbrake has been very successful for me.
     
  17. dotheDVDeed macrumors member

    dotheDVDeed

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #17
    I'm another having difficulty with this.

    I've got an ancient B&W 300 G3 that I'd like to serve videos to a G4 mini with Front Row. (Tiger OS on both)

    If I could get this working I'd buy a SATA card and drives for the G3 and load up on divx shows.

    I've used the movie2itunes script and the tv episodes appear in the B&W's iTunes. After I installed perian I get a preview picture and the poor computer can attempt to actually play the video. (one frame for every 15, maybe?)

    The G4 mini has just enough muscle to play standard def. divx files. But when I go to Front Row the shared tunes are available but if I click on shared videos I get a strange message like this: "iTunes is unable to share videos at this time." Huh, maybe a little later after it's morning coffee?

    Anybody got any guesses? Nothing changed with iTunes 8, right?

    TIM

    P.S. This link at Apple Support just added to my confusion.

    http://support.apple.com/kb/HT2358

    "....What can be shared
    You can share video, MP3, ..."

    "....What can't be shared
    ...QuickTime sound files, and QuickTime movie files..."
     
  18. dotheDVDeed macrumors member

    dotheDVDeed

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    #18
    Ahh, after a little fiddling....

    ... a lightbulb goes off.

    There's program that handles all of this--called VideoDrive.

    15 Euros.

    I came across this table which explains things.


    http://www.aroona.net/VideoDrive/Im..._Questions_files/VideoDriveDeviceOverview.png[​IMG]

    Notice that Shared Front Row has different functions than Regular Front Row.

    Divx files must be saved in a "compatible container", movie2itunes creates a "reference file". It works fine on the host machine but it cannot be shared.

    Hope this helps.

    TIM
     
  19. reinisb macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2009
    #19
    TvShowToItunes

    Hei guys!

    I just love that nice iTunes artwork so much, that I decided to spend 2 days to learn AppleScript a bit, and made my first Applet from scratch!

    IT IS FOR FREE AND WORKS EVEN BETTER THATN OTHER STUFF! You also can add multiple files!

    It is quite similar to Movie2iTunes, but it uses a bit different method regarding QuickTime referencing, so now IT IS POSSIBLE to add artwork!

    Check it out here - http://code.google.com/p/tvshowtoitunes/

    ENJOY!

    P.S. Will be waiting for feedback - rnz@apollo.lv
     
  20. hagar macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
    #20
    I prefer VideoDrive to handle my DIVX movies
     
  21. digitalpencil thread starter macrumors 6502

    digitalpencil

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2007
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    #21
    I've noticed this thread keeps getting resurrected as others are obviously trying to achieve a more fluid Front Row experience.

    I thought i'd share my thoughts and where i've ended up. After playing around with Front Row and coming to terms with its shortcomings, I decided to branch out of the Apple garden and am now using a mac-specific port of XBMC called Plex.

    This is a MUCH better solution than Front Row and, imo aTV. Due to XBMC's origins, this platform is completely extensible via a large catalogue of Python scripts that allow you to customize to your own desired experience.
    I'm currently using this on a Mac Mini, connected to my TV, which pulls media off a 3TB Linux server I keep in the back. It's completely skinnable and there are some superb looking themes out there, readily available including a Front Row skin.

    The real power of this platform is the scripting possibilities. I currently have panes setup for searching popular Bittorrent trackers like mininova and TPB which allow me to locate torrents for TV shows etc. and download them directly though the TV menus. What really sets this solution apart though is the 'scraper'. Basically, once your download is complete. Plex scrapes the title i.e. Lost.S01E04.avi against imdb/tvdb and automatically downloads all the correct titling information, plot synopsis, cast and all associated artwork including posters for series background art and updates your library accordingly. Meaning you have every tv show/movie available on the internet, correctly titled, with artwork and all without leaving your TV.

    This really is, imo an infinitely better solution than Front Row and the best media center platform available. If you're regularly downloading TV shows, it will pull off your favourites automatically, as soon as they come out and categorize/title everything accordingly.

    Worth checking out at least if you're getting tired with Front Row's inadequacies. :D
     

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