Please help me figure this out (re: HD TV Show duplicate listings)

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sonictonic, Sep 16, 2008.

  1. sonictonic macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2006
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    Central Coast, California
    #1
    Hi,

    I've been buying the HD version of Season 4 The Office all week, and it's been working great, up until tonight I just downloaded the last 3 episodes of the season, and just these three episodes, show up as duplicates on my Apple TV. Both the HD and SD versions are copied over. All the other episodes, it seemed to automatically sync the HD one over to ATV, and use the SD on my iPhone and iPod. So why now all of a sudden is it treating the last 3 episodes like they are each individuals?

    This is kinda minor yeah, but pretty damn annoying. how does this happen? I can't figure it out... And how do I fix it? Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance :) I'm trying to avoid having to call Apple support tomorrow. :p


    EDIT:
    my iPod just warned me too, that these 3 particular episodes cannot be synced because they are not compatible. The SD ones sync to my iPod, but I get a warning for the 3 HD copies. GRRR. :(
     
  2. sonictonic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2006
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    Central Coast, California
    #2
    I guess my issue is maybe pretty isolated. Of course :p

    I called Apple and they had never heard of this happening. They told me to email iTunes support for credit and to try and re-download the last 3 shows. So hopefully they will write back soon...
     
  3. camarobh macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #3
    Same issue here

    I am having the same issue, only with all of The Office season 4 episodes. 30 Rock and other HD shows work correctly (although I have a different issue with that series as one of the episodes is mislabeled and actually the same as another episode). I tried changing the smart playlist I use to not sync season 4 (only HD season I bought) and once it was off the Apple TV I put it back and have the same problem.
     
  4. ManWhoCan macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2003
    #4
    Exact same problem here. The HD TV shows i downloaded in the first few days only show once on Apple TV but those I have downloaded in the last few days show twice with no indication which one is the HD copy.

    It seems not to matter what the TV show is, just when it was downloaded.
     
  5. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #5
    We are all having this problem, unless you happen to be canceling the SD downloads (like me) and manually syncing.

    The Apple TV needs a software update to beef up its compatibility with iTunes 8. Apparently, that's coming sometime within the next month.

    As of now, it has no way to distinguish between the HD and SD versions of the file—and is just grabbing whichever (or in some cases both).
     
  6. camarobh macrumors 6502

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    Jul 17, 2007
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #6
    One solution

    The solution I came up with is to put the letters HD in the comment field for each HD episode, and then to add that to the smart playlist I use to sync content to my Apple TV. Works great, but not real elegant.
     
  7. sonictonic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2006
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    Central Coast, California
    #7
    Well I hope you guys have emailed into iTunes tech support for this like I did. I've exchanged a couple emails with them now and the rep credited my account twice to try again 2 new times, and when the issue persisted, he forwarded it to the engineers and said it will be further investigated because it seems very odd and this should not be happening.

    So, if you haven't already, please email into iTunes Support! I'm hoping for a fix soon because not only is the handful of dupes on my Apple TV annoying, but getting the error when syncing my iPhone or iPod that the HD copies cannot be syncd (duh) is annoying.

    Oh, and the same issue just happened with the free Knight Rider episode 1 show too, btw.

    When I hear back from iTunes support again I will post back. You guys too ok? :)
     
  8. RumMunkey macrumors 6502a

    RumMunkey

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Location:
    Canada
    #8
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5F136 Safari/525.20)

    what I want to know is, for that brief time when this WAS working, HOW was it working??

    What was it in the SD version of the show that kept it out of the Appletv menu?

    There's a bunch of stuff I'd love to apply this kind of filtering to.

    Anybody know how this worked?
     
  9. zedsdead macrumors 68040

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    Jun 20, 2007
    #9
    I don't know, but I hope the people at Meta-X find out soon!;)
     
  10. jaw04005 macrumors 601

    jaw04005

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    AR
    #10
    So, I woke up this morning to find iTunes complaining because my Apple TV's hard drive was completely full. :mad:

    Apparently, it decided to sync both the SD and HD versions of House Season 2. I had to unsync (delete) the entire season to make the Apple TV even remotely operational again.

    Now the device is running extraordinarily slow—despite freeing up disk space. I wonder if it's fragmented?

    We need an Apple TV update and now. It's sort of ridiculous that the software update wasn't ready with iTunes 8.
     
  11. jhollington macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2008
    #11
    I suspect the problem actually exists with the content/headers of the TV show episodes themselves as they are distributed by the iTunes Store.

    I'm having the same problem here with any new content now being downloaded... The series' which I downloaded the week of the announcement are all fine, including BSG S4, House S4 and Heroes S2. Now, over the past few days I've started seeing this problem with the first episode of House S5, the first TWO episodes of Heroes S3, and the Knight Rider 2008 first episode.

    The distinction between the problem episodes and the working ones, however, is that iTunes 8 seems to have a "link" or "association" between the HD/SD pairs for those episodes that work, whereas the ones that are problematic are being treated as completely separate episodes.

    With the working episode pairs, watching one version of an episode will mark the corresponding other version as watched also. Likewise, if you right-click on the HD or SD version of a "good" episode and choose an option such as "Mark as New" or "Mark as Not New" you should see both episodes change status.

    With the problematic episodes, this doesn't happen... Only the specific episode that you're touching is actually affected -- the other one is ignored.

    I can't find exactly how or where this "link" between the two episodes is supposed to exist... I suspect it lives somewhere in either a hidden header or an iTunes database entry, but at the same time I suspect iTunes 8 is supposed to get this information from the iTunes Store, and perhaps the episodes are not being flagged or associated properly at the original source, so iTunes sees them as two completely separate episodes rather than two versions of the same episode.
     
  12. sonictonic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2006
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    Central Coast, California
    #12
    Exactly. I hope Apple finds and fixes this asap. I have gone in a full circle with iTunes email support. The rep said they passed it on to a tech to investigate, but the most recent email from him said he has credited my account for all the paid for episodes, and that's all he can do. He pretty much admitted the rest is over his head. What is annoying, is that he said to CALL Apple tech support. Well, I already did that first thing, and THEY said to email in for the support. WTF?

    So guys, please call and email in. They need to know this is an issue and it isn't just the few of us I am sure. But we have to be the voice. :D

     
  13. CBlakeston macrumors 6502

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    Jan 31, 2008
    #13
    Me too

    I have the exact same problem (the first free episodes only show as HD on the Apple TV and now both are showing up) and thought I was going crazy so I'm so glad I'm not the only one :)

    I think so much content has been added to the iTunes store lately some things have slipped. The premiere of Chuck season 2 for example, someone forgot to put a '2' in the Season number box in the info so it shows up as season less. (added it myself)

    Here's hoping that an Apple TV Update will sort things out! Or Meta X comes to the rescue!
     
  14. jhollington macrumors newbie

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #14
    I've tracked down what seems to be the cause of the problem, and there is a fix for existing episodes, but it's not necessarily for the faint of heart, as it involves hex-editing your video files.

    The key is the cnID atom. This is an atom that seems to reflect an internal unique catalogue ID from the iTunes Store for each item in your iTunes library. For HD/SD episodes that are properly "matched" in my library, the cnID was the same for both versions. For the unmatched stuff, however, the cnID is different between the two.

    AtomicParsley and related tools can display this atom, but I don't think they can actually change it, however you can open both episodes in a hex editor, search for "cnID" and ensure that the hex values about 4 bytes after the word "data" match between both episodes. In all of those that I've looked at thus far, this seems to be as simple as changing the first value of "51" in the HD episode to "11" to match the SD version (of course, I suppose you could do it the other way, but since the HD cnID number is so far out of the usual range I'm thinking that the SD is the more "correct" one).

    Once you've made this change, you may need to reimport the specific episode into iTunes so that this value is re-read, but after that things should work as expected.

    I'm speculating that perhaps this cnID change was to fix the other issue that users were having with HD/SD episodes overwriting each other during download.... It makes some sense that if they had the same cnID that iTunes might sometimes get confused if they're both arriving at the same time.
     
  15. CBlakeston macrumors 6502

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    #15
  16. jhollington macrumors newbie

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #16
    While an Apple TV update would certainly be welcome, I doubt very much that it's going to fix this particular issue, particularly since the problem exists in iTunes itself and not merely on the Apple TV. The problem is merely most visible on the Apple TV as it's the only device that supports both formats (and hence shows duplicates). As mentioned by others above, the iPod will simply generate an error when trying to sync the HD version of an episode, although if you have previously checked the box to not show these warnings when syncing your iPod, you simply won't see that particular issue come up.

    In every case I've observed thus far, the cnID for the HD episode is exactly 0x40000000 higher than the cnID for the SD episode (ie, the first hex octet is 51 vs 11). I suspect that iTunes 8.0.1 will solve this issue simply by "matching up" these episodes based on that difference.
     
  17. gtrogue macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2008
    #17
    This works great. Just ran into one issue.
    Season 4 of LOST doesn't have the "51" or "11" in the files like all the other files I looked at. Pretty weird because every other file is exactly the same but all the episodes of LOST are different.
     
  18. sonictonic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Central Coast, California
    #18
    Hoo-rah new iTunes version is out! I can't download it yet, I will tonight, but if anyone beats me to it please post here if our dupe issue is fixed!

    *crosses fingers*
     
  19. NightStorm macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2006
    Location:
    Whitehouse, OH
    #19
    In iTunes, HD and SD versions are now combined into one entry. The HD plays by default unless you set the option in preferences to play the SD one. There is also a versions menu if you right click on the library entry.

    The AppleTV now only shows the HD version along with a shiny HD logo on the Show Title and all HD episodes.
     
  20. sonictonic thread starter macrumors 6502a

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    Mar 25, 2006
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    Central Coast, California
    #20
    Yup looks like it's fixed! THANK YOU APPLE! :)

    Having the episodes in iTunes listed as one SD/HD episode instead of 1 SD + 1 HD makes things much more neat and accurate as far as episode count too. This is really nice.
     
  21. jhollington macrumors newbie

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #21
    Not necessarily an issue any more, since iTunes 8.0.1 has solved the problem, but with LOST, the cnIDs are simply lower numbers, so you're looking at 10 for the SD version and 50 for the HD version, as opposed to 11 and 51.

    Of course, if you downloaded Lost Season 4 the first week, they'll all be 10, since Apple started out with the HD/SD versions having matching cnIDs. My guess is that they decided to change them after receiving numerous reports of the SD/HD versions clobbering each other during download.

    Regardless, however, the new system has them offset by exactly 0x40000000... iTunes 8.0.1 simply recognizes this offset as a legitimate version pairing and now links these episodes up properly.
     
  22. me3head macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2008
    #22
    Diy

    So if I change the cnID to 0x40000000 higher on shows I ripped myself, will iTunes combine them?
     
  23. jhollington macrumors newbie

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #23
    Theoretically, that would work. Howver, since the cnID doesn't exist on content not purchased from the iTunes Store, you would need to add it yourself to both tracks. Further, you would need to ensure that the numbers are unique from any other tracks in your library.

    The other question would be whether iTunes needs any other tags that are typical of purchased tracks before it reads the cnID tag.

    Of course, if you're ripping shows yourself, there's generally little to no point in ripping in HD resolutions unless you're actually getting the content from a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD or recording it from an HD broadcast signal. If you're ripping normal DVDs, you will gain nothing by ripping them in an HD format.

    There might be some advantage to trying to combine iPod and SD Apple TV format episodes in this manner (so you could have a higher bit-rate Apple TV version), but in my own experience there's rarely a point in bothering with this for most DVDs, particularly now that the iPod supports anamorphic encoding so that you can get a proper 854x480 presentation.
     
  24. me3head macrumors newbie

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    Sep 10, 2008
    #24
    Mainly, I wanted to combine a 854x480 Main Profile h.264 rip (as the "HD" one) with a iPhone screen-width limited Baseline Profile h.264 rip, so that I'd get the nice quality one in iTunes and auto-sync the iPod version as needed.

    I also have a hdhomerun, so HD recordings are also on the table.

    I just downloaded the free HD Ugly Betty short that has both HD and SD versions, and ran both versions through AtomicParsley. Turns out that the cnID is identical, but the info on which is HD and which is SD appears to be contained in an XML plist embedded in to the itunMOVI atom.

    Unfortunately, AtomicParsely doesn't seem to be able to edit this Atom. I wonder if I were able to just use the exact data from that Atom in my files before iTunes import if I'd be successful. Anyone know of any tools that allow you to edit any arbitrary atom of an mpeg4 container?

    Alternatively, could I use the existing container from the free show, replace the video and audio with mine, and then just change the metadata?
     
  25. jhollington macrumors newbie

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    Sep 23, 2008
    #25
    Depending on what you're encoding, that would make some sense. Modern content that's in a 16:9 aspect ratio can benefit from this somewhat, but since you can go anamorphic on the baseline profile (albeit only from a 640x480 source rather than a 720x480), you're not really losing all that much. The vertical resolution is the important point in that regard.

    In fact, most of the newer iTunes movie downloads and almost all of the rentals using a 640x480 -> 854x480 anamorphic presentation, and I've found that the quality, even on my 62" DLP HDTV is not really that noticeable from an upconverted DVD unless I'm really looking for it.

    HD recordings, or course, will definitely benefit from the 720p resolution available on the Apple TV.

    Yes, iTunes has changed over their approach a couple of times on this one.... Initially, the cnIDs were the same, and then they started adding the 0x4000000 increment to them, likely to eliminate the problem with HD and SD downloads stomping on each other. Now they appear to have gone back to the original method, for at least some of their content, likely due to iTunes 8.0.1 fixing the original SD/HD conflict bug that caused the whole problem in the first place.

    Regardless, iTunes 8.0.1 does recognize the 0x4000000 cnID offset as representing an HD/SD pair in purchased content, as all of the legacy content in my library from the late iTunes 8.0 period is still tagged in this manner with nothing else in the itunMOVI atom, and they retain their proper HD/SD pairing even when imported into a new library.

    This is just off the top of my head, but I think you can edit the iTunMOVI atom via the Atomicparsley reverseDNS switches.... This is the same way that cast and crew information gets embedded into iTunes movies, and there was a bunch of hacking around with that in AP before tools like Lostify and MetaX started providing direct GUI access to those "fields" (which are really just part of the same PLIST).
     

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