When to make the iTunes switch?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by whoiare, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. whoiare macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    So some background first. my house is all apple: apple tv 2, apple tv 3, various ipads, ipods, airport extreme, and a 2010 mac mini hosting itunes in an external firewire 800 3tb drive.

    i currently, run ALL my music through itunes, stream it anywhere with airplay, upload wireless to ipads, and wired to ipods. Play whatever i want through airplay enabled speakers, pioneer receiver, or apple tvs. So music being handled by itunes is PERFECT. i maintain a meticulous libray - fanart, info, sorting etc.

    my movies and tv shows however are in their own separate folders on the external drive. I, again, have sorted them meticulously. Each movie or tv show has its own folder...nfo file...fanart, background etc. All using a media manager for mac.

    Now....I keep all my movies/tvshows in whatever format they are in. However, mostly mp4/mkv.....with a lot of older stuff or hard to find at avi. i have over 1000 movies, and probably as much in tv shows.

    my main tv is using the ATV2 with xbmc. The bedroom and theater room are apple tv 3's.

    Right now this is my usage. When really want to watch something in either the bedroom or theater room i convert whatever it is we want to watch with identify and then use either apple tv 3 to to find it and watch. My main tv usage is the apple tv 2 jailbroken with XBMC.

    Continuing thoughts of mine. 1) i may be adding two more tvs - inlaws moving in. So i would like to have each room able to watch as much as the main room. Right now since its just me and my wife its easy to convert when we are watching something in an off location. 2)Pros and cons of XBMC - pros:, love its usability in terms of searching, displaying info, and general sorting also able to play any file, but solely im converting all my avis to mp4s. Cons: apple tv 2 only, takes minutes to scrape movies - because of my large library, doesnt use itunes library. 3) apple tv 3 pros and cons: basically the reverse of the XBMC ones.

    So here is the dilemma: When do you guys suggest going to an ALL itunes library and why?

    Given that most of my movies are mp4 or mkv - maybe 200 or so are avi. it would take a a bit of time to convert all with identify and send them all into my itunes library. Then all again with all the tv shows. Now this would satisfy the issue of getting access to these files with every apple tv in the house. especially when i add more tvs and apple tv 3s are all you can buy. This would also allow me to sell my apple tv 2 and make enough on it so i can purchase 2 apple tv 3s. BUT BUT BUT, the apple tv 3 interface on how to get to a movie/tv show is ENTIRELY lacking when compared to XBMC especially in the WAF. Going to computers to find movies then to not be able to list the movies by latest added will drive the wife insane. Here is where i am stuck. Because if i add over 1000 movies to itunes she will HATE searching for the latest added and it wont go over well. So im stuck...and im looking for advice.
  2. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    If is mp4 or mkv run them thru iflicks using the iTunes compatible settings. Select the option to add to iTunes
    It should only take30 seconds for each video file & it will add the metadata for you

    Those avi files your probably gonna have to convert , a 300mb avi takes about 15 ,minutes to convert in iflicks for me

    If I have a tv show series in avi , I just drop them all in iflicks overnight & by morning it should all be done and in iTunes
  3. whoiare thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    i totally get the work needed to make the switch. im just asking the forum what they would do/are doing in this situation. Bottom line is that a jailbreak for the atv3 would solve this issue since it would cover: 1. WAF 2. All video formats 3. on a device thats still being produced/sold and is available at a reasonable price. But we all know this probably will never happen. Im totally satisfied with what my atv3 does....and im not sure what more apple could add to a device that would make it that more appealing to me...apps...siri...facetime...none of these are important. what is important is how it displays content and lets me sort and choose it...and right now...going to computers...then movies...and having only 3 options of sorting wont cut it with the amount i have.
  4. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    I long ago gave up the notion of torrenting or acquiring content outside of iTunes. Too much hassle - I don't even think its worth it to buy a BluRay and rip it - I'd rather just buy stuff in iTunes and have it work - I hate managing storage and where files live. I used to juggle this stuff around and have MKVs and AVIs, but in the end it was too much of a headache.

    But - I do understand why some prefer to do it this way - it just wasn't for me
  5. bearcatrp macrumors 68000

    Sep 24, 2008
    Boon Docks USA
    Until apple gets off there ars and fixes itunes, your stuck with what you see. One of the reasons I am considering something else. No luck yet as itunes is almost the perfect streamer. What I am looking for is a box that pulls from a nas and does all the work. OUYA and WD Live is what I narrowed it down to. Am hoping for a hack for the ATV3 but not holding my breath. You will have to put everything in itunes with the proper format, and deal with the short coming of ATV for now. Seems more they update itunes, the worst it get.
  6. whoiare thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    Despite all the negative "home sharing/airplay/ apple tv cant find itunes" threads you see posted, im actually having quite amazing success with it all. My mac is hard wired to my extreme. my atv 2 is also. but the atv 3 and obv ipads are wireless. They find my entire library fine and stream within seconds. Airplay is the same. people come over..join my wireless and instantly mirror ipads onto my tv. im not sure what will happen once i have more users onboard....but for now its perfect and im running 1080p AAC files over it no problem. i also do get that having an always on computer is a hassle for some. but the mac mini is the lowest consuming mac there is...and its best practice to always leave desktop PCs on. Since its our main PC its always on regardless. What i do find helpful is a quick close and open of itunes every now and then. Plus i never let my apple tvs sleep.
  7. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    Do it sooner rather than later, before the library gets too big.

    I'd recommend, and prefer, handbrake. When I converted over my home videos and a few dozen DVDs I used a combination of ripit and handbrake. Use ripit to create images, and stack them up in the handbrake queue, set it to the Apple TV preset and let 'er rip. It takes a while, but it's worth it.

    For ongoing purchases, I just leave them in the cloud. When I want a movie on an ipad (for trips or kids) I just pull it down from purchased items and store it on the iPad/phone/mac/whatever. Keeping stuff in the cloud poses some small amount of risk, but i'm okay with it...it keeps me from worrying about backups, maintaining multiple HDD arrays or buying big NAS enclosures.

    I have 3 TVs with aTVs on each, all fed through iTunes/The Cloud. iTunes gets TV shows from EyeTv recorded OTA and dumped into iTunes using the EyeTV Apple TV preset, comskip marks commercials, iflicks tags them automatically using hazel and a homegrown script. I'm not a hoarder - a script runs each night that deletes any TV Show with a playcount of 1 or more. Between EyeTV recordings, Netflix, a couple of iTunes season passes (Breaking Bad and Mad Men) and some (free) airplayed Hulu we're in hog heaven and saving about $1,000 a year on cable.

    Works like a champ, and extremely easy.

    But i'd agree with some other folks here - for the most part, with purchases, it's just easier for me to go through iTunes. I struggled for a long time trying to justify paying essentially the same price or more for a film I could buy on DVD/BluRay then rip. For me, it all came down to convenience..I'd rather pay the premium than drive to a store or wait for amazon to ship, rip, transcode, metadata tag, etc. Not knocking those who do that, heck I have...but it's just easier *for me* the other way.
  8. shyam09 macrumors 68020


    Oct 31, 2010
    in essence they sort of equal out (overall wise). on one hand you have to do a bunch of work, and the other is extremely simple. i might look into buying straight from apple. thnks
  9. FreakinEurekan macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2011
    Eureka Springs, Arkansas
    As someone who uses iTunes, my advice is - let iTunes do what it does, in terms of file organization, directories, names, etc. The more you try to force iTunes into your "preferred" method of file storage, the more likely you are to encounter difficulties.

    I have some media purchased through iTunes, and quite a bit more converted from my DVDs via Handbrake. I convert to the desktop (which is excluded from Time Machine), drag files from there into IDentify for art & description, and IDentify is set to automatically add it to iTunes upon saving. Once iTunes is done importing it, I can just drag the desktop files to the trash.

    I absolutely love the convenience of everything in iTunes. I can pull anything from home movies to P90X up on any ATV in the house - and if I want some videos on my iPad or iPhone for travel, it's all handled as part of the sync. Everything behaves intuitively and glitches are rare & easy to sort out when they happen.
  10. Hail Caesar macrumors regular

    Mar 2, 2013
    iTunes works great for me and my ATV3. I use handbrake to encode, and then iFlicks to tag and then it ships it over to iTunes stream ready. :apple: make the switch it will be so much easier.
  11. maxosx macrumors 68020

    Dec 13, 2012
    Southern California
    It's largely personal preference. There's no right or wrong way.
  12. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    What sucks is you can't search for a movie on your Apple TV library, you have to use your ipad/iPhone
  13. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I think I have come to that understanding as well, especially if iTunes Extras are added to a movie. I was considering going BD on The Hobbit but then saw that it had iTunes Extras. Plus it was $6 cheaper than what Amazon has listed -- when it is released next week.

    Aside from the ownership rights issues, which I think will get fixed over time, my only real issues are lack of better audio -- DTS-HD -- and inability to upgrade an SD purchase to HD. I'm figuring if Ultra HD ever takes off, there will be a 1,000,000 percent greater chance of being able to upgrade an iTunes HD purchase for maybe $5 or $10 instead of buying some upgraded BD and then having two more boxes sitting around.

    But yet I sit here without a BD ripper and a lot of BD movies. Maybe 80. Eventually I want to buy that so I can just store all my BDs and buy stuff in the future from iTunes. If iTunes really wants to win me, the audio upgrade would do it along with some better ways of sharing with family. Maybe something like Kindle loans where you can loan out one video you have purchased to another iTunes account for a week.
  14. musicpenguy, Mar 13, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2013

    musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    With HD purchases there is hope that we get free upgrades to higher definition and better audio. Apple did provide free 1080p versions to 720p owners.

    I should also note that a few months ago Apple updated their agreement with the studios. If a studio pulls a film from sale the new terms allow that film to stay in iTunes in the Cloud available for streaming and re-downloading. Aliens and Anchorman are two examples in my library of this - content ownership used to be a big issue - now it seems Apple has addressed this one big problem that used to exist.
  15. whoiare thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    This is what im trying to get at with this thread. Yes i know how to convert/script/automate and all that....but is it TRULY the best idea to do NOW?...

    i agree...itunes handles things perfectly but SORTING them...FINDING them..on an apple tv is a night mare...i cant tell me wife " oh, if you want to use the apple tv control it with your ipad first" that wouldnt fly...
  16. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    The loop hole I found was to simply use the iTunes Store search - since movies are streamable if you own them you can search via the store on Apple TV and stream from the movie info page - but yes more search options would be great.
  17. cdavis11 macrumors 6502

    Aug 31, 2009
    I'd agree with that to a point. There are ways to filter your search when looking for things in the local libraries - setting up genres has allowed me to filter down to just home movies, just family movies, etc...

    But - the biggest issue we have is knowing where things are in terms of "is that in the cloud (purchased movies/tv shows) or is it in the local library (my computers, home sharing)?".

    All in all, it really hasn't been as big an issue as I thought it would have been. The WAF for the aTV setup is high in my home, and my 6 year old has figured out the lay of the land and can find things with ease.
  18. whoiare thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    thats quite encouraging. i dont do cloud so much, but my biggest issue is the size of the library and when adding new movies/tv shows. i do have everything proper in genres as well. but XBMC just does a better job at letting me see what i want when i want it. an apple tv 3 jailbreak would solve everything...but its not going to happen...hence the dilemma.
  19. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    Possibly never. You say you have about 1000 movies and about as many TV shows. How many of those movies/shows do you honestly watch often enough and in different parts of the house to warrant always having online? Now subtract all the ones that are available on Netflix that you don't necessarily care about having absolute perfect Blu-Ray quality. What's left? If I did that math, it would be a small subset of my entire collection.

    I went through a similar dilemma a year ago and just stopped bothering. Now, I hardly even ever rip a movie I buy anymore. I definitely stopped with TV shows.
  20. whoiare thread starter macrumors regular

    Aug 30, 2011
    you are completely right in a way. There are definitely a handful of movies id ever rewatch....but who is to say id never rewatch ANY....and then there are repeats....as in ...LOTR....LOTR extended.... i would agree with tv shows....there are VERY few that i ever see myself watching again. Netflix is tough because movies come and go on there. you cant say im gonna delete X movie because it will always be available on netflix.

    i really dont want to give up my movie collection, id rather just have the apple tv handle it better.
  21. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    I'm talking about inside the computer icon , the movies you buy are located in the movies icon under purchased section
  22. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    Oh yea for that the iPhone/iPad app works - but yea no search is a bad thing on ATV

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