I’ve tried a lot of different ways to get all my TV Shows and Movies into iTunes, on both Windows and Mac. And there are a lot of different programs that can do it, or at least say that they can. But there are a few that stand out, and in this review I’m going to tell you about iFlicks; my favourite app that I use to convert all my media into iTunes.
Don’t you love it when you’re looking for an application, trying to find the one that does what you need it to do, then you actually find it? Well, when it comes to getting your media into iTunes, we have iFlicks. It’s my favourite because it’s extremely simple to use, looks great and automatically gets the TV show and movie artwork as well as meta data.
The problem I have found with most video converters is that I have no idea how to properly use them and usually end up spending 8 hours converting my video, only to end up with a 30GB file with horrible picture quality. Not to miss-credit those other more complicated applications as I’m sure when you know how to use it properly, it works great. Which brings me to my first point about iFlicks; it’s simplicity.
iFlicks has a simple drag & drop interface, it automatically imports the successfully converted video to iTunes and also deletes the original video file once it’s done converting, if you so choose. Select all the videos you’d like to convert, drag them into the iFlicks window, and watch as all the artwork and meta data are automatically added.
One important note however is, iFlicks will only automatically add the artwork and meta data if it can understand what TV show or movie your adding. The media that you add to iFlicks has to have a file name that iFlicks can understand. For a movie it pretty much just has to be named what the movie is called. For TV shows, it also needs the correct TV show name however it also needs the season # and episode #. Below are instructions on how to get it setup correctly:
So lets say for instance you add the movie Batman Begins, and it’s named “batman.begins.”…, it will then automatically get the artwork and meta data. Now if it’s named, “vid1000x0.”… iFlicks will have no idea what movie it is and therefore won’t automatically get the artwork or meta data. Not to worry though, you can manually find the movie title even if the media you have has an unsupported file name. While your movie is in iFlicks, select the movie and click the little magnifying glass at the bottom of the window. A small window will slide down. Here you can type in the title of the movie and iFlicks will automatically rename it and add all the artwork and meta data.
Adding TV Shows are for the most part the same as adding movies. The only real difference is how the TV shows are named. Even if your TV show is called “the.big.bang.theory.”…, iFlicks won’t know which season or episode it is unless that’s also written in the file name. iFlicks will understand “the.big.bang.theory.s02e05.”… as “The Big Bang Theory season 2 episode 5″. This is the most common file name format you’ll come across from downloaded TV shows. It will also recognizes a file name formatted as “the.big.bang.theory.2×05″ as “The Big Bang Theory season 2 episode 5″.
On a side note if you have a bunch of TV shows that are incorrectly named and you’d rather not rename them one by one. I’ve made a simple automator script that will allow you to drag all your TV shows in and select the output of the file names. All you need to do is drag your TV show into the “Get Specified Finder Items” box, and write the TV show name in, then input the season number. After filling in the info, check what the example file name will look like so you’re happy with how it looks before you rename. Download my Automator Script if you need to here:
And now for my favourite feature. The Presets:
- Reference File
- iTunes Compatible
- Apple TV
- Apple TV 2
- new Apple TV & iPad
I’m only really going to talk about the highlighted presets since they are the only ones you’ll most likely need to use. The “iTunes Compatible” preset will simply put the video and audio into a container that iTunes can support (muxed). The benefits to using the iTunes Compatible preset is that it’s VERY fast. Since the video isn’t actually converted, the end result is a video with the exact same picture quality as the original media file. In my experience I can convert a 720, 2 GB video file in just under 1 minute. This method will support Apple TV 2+, iPad+, iPhone 3GS+ and iPods. Also this method may not work for every video file. Here is a link to the developers support site that will explain why not all videos will support this method: iFlicks Support.
The “new Apple TV & iPad” preset will actually convert the video and audio, making the process of converting your video take a lot longer. That same 720, 2 GB video could take anywhere from 40 minutes to 2 hours+. However it does have its benefits. Using this preset will usually output a video of smaller file size, without loosing any picture quality (or so minimal you can’t even notice). Also from what I’ve seen Apple TV and iOS devices seem to play nicer with files that have gone this route where as I have noticed some occasionally slight “jumpy” playback with the “iTunes Compatible” preset. Also if your video isn’t working for the “iTunes Compatible” preset use this preset as it will more than likely work for it. Even though the preset says “new Apple TV & iPad”, the method will also work for newer iPhones and iPods.
If the above is worrying you, let me just put it this way. I have 3TB of media all of which was converted with iFlicks. Every video looks and works great. I can play everyone of them on my Apple TV, iTunes and iOS device.
iFlicks supports these formats:
- File formats: avi, divx, flv, m4v, mkv, mov, mp4
- Video types: MS-MPEG4 v1 & v2, DivX, 3ivx, H.264, VP6, H263i, VP3, MPEG1 & MPEG2 Video
Important: You need the plugin called Perian installed (iFlicks will remind you if don’t have it installed). Even if you aren’t planning on using iFlicks to convert your videos I highly suggest installing Perian. In my other article I explain why you should have Perian installed: perian-lets-your-mac-play-most-video-formats