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iFlicks Improves iTunes Imports

If you’re invested in the Apple ecosystem, watching video can be a challenge. Sure, it’s easy if you purchase all your TV shows and movies through iTunes or stream them with Netflix, but what about all your other movies and TV shows? The ones you’ve ripped, recorded via an Elgato EyeTV device, or obtained through, um, other means?

DVD rippers like Handbrake can convert your DVDs to an iTunes-friendly MP4 file, but it isn’t always a sure bet. Movies I’ve ripped in Handbrake don’t always work perfectly on all my devices. They might play fine on my Apple TV but be choppy on my Mac, or vice versa. And even if they do work smoothly, what about the cover art and metadata? There’s little worse than staring at an iTunes window full of missing cover art. Subler is a popular metadata editor, but it can be a bear to use and has known issues with OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion. Who wants to go through so much trouble just to watch a movie?

That’s where iFlicks ($19.99) comes in. Simply drag and drop your movies and TV shows into iFlicks and it does the rest, wrapping them in an Apple-friendly format, automatically pulling in art and metadata, and importing the videos into iTunes. You can add several at once, which is handy if you’re digitizing your entire library.

I’ve been using iFlicks for months, and it’s nearly flawless. For any video encoded in H.264, which is the Apple-preferred video codec, conversion is fast and simple, taking only a couple of minutes even for high-definition videos. Most MKV and FLV video files, as well as most Handbrake-ripped discs, are encoded this way. For these, I use the default “iTunes compatible” preset, which doesn’t alter the video quality, instead merely wrapping the content in an Apple-friendly format.

For videos not encoded in H.264, like many AVI files, the process can take longer. For these, I often have to use the Universal preset, which uses the Perian QuickTime plug-in to re-encode the video to the standard definition resolution of 720 x 576 (Perian is no longer being updated, but an iFlicks update is due soon to remove its necessity — see “QuickTime Format Extender Perian to Cease Development,” 16 May 2012.) Fortunately, high-definition videos not encoded in H.264 are few and far between.

A tricky aspect of video conversion is subtitled content, but iFlicks has no problem handling subtitles. If you have a subtitle file (they usually have a .srt file extension) in the same directory as the video, iFlicks adds it automatically. You can then enable subtitles in the video as usual: in iTunes, you can click the word bubble while watching a video, and on the Apple TV, by holding the center button on the remote while watching a video.

How does iFlicks recognize your video? Automatically, based on the video’s file name, and it does a terrific job of finding the right metadata. iFlicks uses and for its information. I dropped a brand-new episode of a TV show into iFlicks, and it automatically recognized the episode and even pulled in the cover art for the current season. If iFlicks doesn’t get it quite right, it allows you to edit the metadata manually by double clicking on the video in the main window.

But what if your video is already in iTunes? No problem, iFlicks comes with a Services menu accessible from within iTunes. You can either update the existing metadata or re-encode problematic videos without leaving iTunes.

iFlicks is the easiest method I’ve found to create iTunes-friendly video files. It takes the headache out of digitizing your video collection, and even makes your collection beautiful to look at. iFlicks is worth every bit of its $19.99 price, though it has gone on sale for as low as $2. If you want to organize your movie collection in iTunes, iFlicks is a must have.


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Comments about iFlicks Improves iTunes Imports
(Comments are closed.)

etienne.grosjean  2013-01-12 14:12
It is not as easy than it look. To put a DVD on iTunes you need to rip it first before using iFlicks. I would like a discussion about the best method to put your collection of DVD in iTunes the fastest way possible.
Josh Centers  2013-01-12 14:20
Yes, that' s correct, iFlicks unfortunately doesn't rip DVDs. You have to use something like Handbrake or RipIt to decode and extract the video, then drop the resulting video file into iFlicks.

I personally use Handbrake for most of my rips, but if I ever set out to rip my entire collection, I'll probably shell out $24.95 for RipIt from The Little App Factory. It's the fastest and easiest DVD ripper I've used.

I haven't tried it myself, but I'm sure you could use RipIt, Automator, and iFlicks together to automate the entire process.
m0t0rbr3th  2013-01-12 17:59
I've been using iFlicks for more that a year now. Nothing else (that I've found) comes close to added metadata to movies.

However, users should be aware that since v1.4 the "iTunes Compatible" preset re-encodes movies before adding metadata to it. This is not acceptable, for myself and plenty of other users.

If you use Handbrake to encode movies and would like to _just_ add metadata, use iFlicks v1.2.3. If you use v1.4 (or higher), you might as well not use Handbrake.

see these links for more information:
David Frith  2013-01-15 05:48
I use the export option in EyeTV to create mpeg2 files (could be mpeg4) into a file system on an external drive. Then I import this structure into DVDPedia, add the Amazon links to get all the metadata (usually with manual assistance to find the right data). This gives me a front end in DVDPedia where I can double click the link to get EyeTV to play it back. Beauty of this system is that by mounting the external drive on my other Macs across the network, they can also use DVDPedia looking at the same database to open and play the mpeg2's from the mounted drive. The source of the files can also be DVD's ripped through Handbrake (I've only done this once or twice) or my own recorded videos from my vidcam. In addition, with EyeHomes connected to the TV's I can watch the same video files on my TV screens (hence my video archive is mpeg2 rather than mpeg4.) As a result I've bypassed iTunes completely for my video collection. All this with technology that is several years old!
JohnB (SciFiOne)   2013-12-16 11:45
Unfortunately version 2.0.1 didn't work on my test EyeTV file. I tried to convert a 4 minute video to the preset iPad and iTunes and 1080P compatible formats. The iPad did the conversion but the result was 16 minutes long so when played in iTunes the video was way behind the sound. The iTunes compatible preset would not load into iTunes at all. I even tried exporting to 1080P from Eyetv first but that failed entirely. I emailed the support for feedback