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macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 18, 2008
I admit, I've tried. I have done everything I can to accept iTunes and integrate it into my life, but it's just not working.

The problem specifically is TV shows and movies.

My girlfriend and I have a collection of media that is mostly MKV format. We spent a great deal of time debating whether we should continue to rip our media in this format, or switch to M4V and import into iTunes.

I spent a lot of time convincing her that this was the way to go, but now I'm not so sure.

See, the problem is that iTunes kinda sucks for organizing TV and movies. With the iTunes 11 update it has (in my opinion) become even worse. In addition, the amount of time it's taking me to convert all our MKV's to iTunes format simply isn't worth it.

In the past I have started threads on various forums asking if someone could please help me find a solution for storing reference files in iTunes, but would play MKV's in VLC when clicked. I never got any answers.

So, here I am. I'm in the middle of converting my library and on one hand I like that we can now organize our media with album art, and other info, but I'm so tired of converting videos to iTunes format.

I'm begging you. Help me find a solution!

Here is what we want to do.

1. Organize our media with album art, info, etc.
2. View this media using iTunes, or a Mac/Win compatible software that looks awesome.
3. Be able to play the media we have without converting to iTunes format

Seems simple right.... :/


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Sep 18, 2008
I only use iTunes to sync my iPad's. I'm not a big fan of it either. It's a convoluted mess IMO especially since I first used it on the first release of OS X.

If you're running boot camp i'd give Mediamonkey a try. It handles pretty much every format.

I used to use MM a lot back when I was Windows only. After switching to OS X a few years ago, the only reason I ever boot into Windows is for gaming.

My girlfriend uses Windows, and she might appreciate using MM, but the problem is I would like to avoid us having to maintain multiple software. It's already a pain that she has to use Windows as her primary OS.

That is why iTunes was a good idea at first. She has iTunes, I have iTunes, we I can tag the M4V and she can import them and we have the same library. It does work, but as I said, converting all the MKV's is a super pain.

I tried MM for OS X, but that was a disaster.


Nov 22, 2007
Aalborg, Denmark
Perhaps Usher in combination with a Github version of Perian will be something that could work. Perian was known for being able to read many formats.



I have not yet tried this version of Perian so I can't verify that this actually works.

EDIT.. so I dabbled a little and Usher + Perian works quite nicely together - even on Mavericks. Usher is probably a little heavy to work with on a MacBook Air but it can play MKV files nicely - I've done some tests with files from and the Monsters Inc. videoclip is buttery smooth.
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macrumors 68020
Jan 1, 2008
That is why iTunes was a good idea at first. She has iTunes, I have iTunes, we I can tag the M4V and she can import them and we have the same library. It does work, but as I said, converting all the MKV's is a super pain.

If your MKV movies are h.264, repackaging them into m4v files should take about 10 minutes/movie with Subler or MP4Tools. As soon as tools to remux movies became available I converted everything and stuffed it all into iTunes. It is not perfect, but smart playlists keep things manageable.



macrumors 6502a
Jun 14, 2012
Columbia, MD
Try plex. Its free and gives you access anywhere. Just point it to your folder and it will take care of cover art, descriptions, Star ratings, heck on my roku it even plays the theme songs to the tv shows while I browse.


macrumors 604
Dec 19, 2004
I would recommend using Plex for your TV shows and movies. It pulls media information from IMDB to get movie posters, description, cast, &c. Actually it pulls from The Movie Database which I think pulls from IMDB.

On your server you will need to install Plex Server then Plex Client on all client devices (other computers, Roku box, android, &c). If you also want to watch movies on the server it will need both the Plex server and client installed.

To add more media you manage the server through a web interface. Which you can also use to change posters, edit info and fix an incorrect match.

For music I would continue to use iTunes just switch the layout Songs. Then in the view options Show the Column Browser, Status Bar and Sidebar. Then change the import settings to Apple Lossless.

- For accurate matches in Plex title the media correctly. Movies should be title, year in parenthesis and any extraneous info after TV shows should be show, season, episode, extraneous. For example Soylent Green (1973) 1080p DTS.mkv or I Love Lucy S02E01 Job Switching.avi.

- If you use devices like a Roku with Plex you will need a quad core computer to handle transcoding (changes format and bitrate to something the device can handle on the fly). If you are just connecting computers delete the transcoder. Even though it is not supposed to turn on when not needed that doesn't seem to be true.

- In the server use separate scanners for TV and Movies.

- The first scan will take a long time to download media information.

- When you add or delete media on the server you will need to rescan the folders to update Plex.


macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
XBMC or Plex are easy and nice free software that should handle your needs.

Most likely you should also be able to use items like VLC or MPlayerX.
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