iFlicks: The Ultimate Way to Handle Movies, TV Shows & iTunes

With iFlicks, you can manage your entire video collection through iTunes. iFlicks imports video files of almost any kind (.avi, .mpeg, .mkv, etc), tags them with all the meta data you could wish for and even converts videos into a different file type – but only if necessary!

The days of searching for files across drives and spending hours with conversion processes are finally over. In this review, we’ll be taking an in-depth look at how iFlicks makes managing your digital TV shows easy!

Obvious Questions & Getting Started

Now, some of you might ask: why do I need an extra app for importing my files to iTunes? Users with the pro version of QuickTime 7 can simply create a reference file manually and import that into iTunes. Or you could convert your files to a format that iTunes can handle more easily.

All of these arguments are completely valid and, of course, those are methods that work perfectly for the average iTunes user. But if you are a video junkie like me with an average of 68 TV shows and 860+ episodes plus 350+ movies (yes, I do have a life as well!), the manual approach is quite daunting. I for one have no intention of converting every episode to an mp4 or mov file and adding the metadata by hand. iFlicks is the elegant solution for automating the entire process.

Since iFlicks needs QuickTime to handle all the video files, you need to download and install Perian before you can use iFlicks properly. Perian adds native support for many different file types to QuickTime.

After that, it’s time to open iFlicks and you’ll be presented with the main window. It provides you instantly with all the options you need to manage your files: what to do with them, where to put them, edit and preview them and setting up rules for easier handling.

iFlicks Main Window

iFlicks Main Window

Importing Files

You can either add files via the bottom left button to iFlicks or – very conveniently – simply drag and drop them into the main window or over the dock icon. If you don’t even want to to that, just add a folder action to the folder you usually store videos in that you want to import. Upon installation, iFlicks adds a script for just this purpose.

The instant files are added, iFlicks plays out its greatest feature by starting to look up data for the videos on either themoviedb.org for movies or thetvdb.com for TV shows (if iFlicks can’t find any data on your files or is extremely slow, check those sites first, they are sometimes down).

All the information provided on these sites – actors, writers, release date, description, genre, cover art etc – is added automatically to your files. You can check the data for each file and of course you can edit it any way you want.

Files ready to import in the main window

Files ready to import in the main window

View and Edit Metadata

View and Edit Metadata

For the easiest way to import, you’d be good to go now, but it will pay off to take a closer look at some of iFlicks import settings before you hit ‘Start’.

Import Settings & Rules

As mentioned before, iFlicks does not need to convert your files in order to import them into iTunes. If you have a file that iTunes doesn’t natively understand, you can choose the option ‘Flatten to QuickTime movie’ from the Preset options and your .avi, .mkv, .mpg etc. file will be put into a container that is readable for QuickTime without the entire conversion process. That is especially useful with high definition MKV files, which retain their quality and are now accessible directly from within iTunes.

Through this import process, iFlicks is able to write all the acquired metadata directly into the file’s container so it will be displayed in your iTunes library and in FrontRow. The downside is that you can’t copy those files to your iPod or iPhone since they are still in their original format.

There are many other import options available to choose from, among them conversion options. The speed of conversions depends on the file and your hardware, with normal .avi files being converted with almost the same speed as Handbrake’s, while MKV files are converted extremely slowly (a limitation of QuickTime and not iFlicks).

Import Options

Import Options

iFlicks plays out it’s real strength when it comes to the use of rules, a feature that has been added only in the latest version. It allows you to set up rules for file handling based on a number of different characteristics as file type (movie, TV show), show name, season etc.

When iFlicks recognizes a file that you have set up a rule for it can, for example, automatically change the file name, art work, and move the file to a location you have previously specified. I have my huge library spread across four external hard drives and it’s incredibly convenient to not have to go looking for a specific folder every time I import a TV episode or movie; also, I like to add artwork of a specific size – 600x600px – so it will look correct in iTunes.

Creating and Editing a Rule

Creating and Editing a Rule

Adding Metadata to Already Imported Files

So, now that you may be considering giving iFlicks a try, you will have realized that you already have lots of files in iTunes that are not properly tagged. Do not fear, iFlicks has a script for that!

Open iTunes, select your video file to be tagged and then choose an option from the script menu. You can either convert files or update their metadata – automatically or through the iFlicks GUI. I recommend the latter option, as it gives you the opportunity to check if all the data is correct.

Things to Know

  1. If you are like me and store your files on separate hard drives, you don’t want your files moved into the default iTunes folder. To make sure this doesn’t happen, you must disable this option within iTunes. Go to the iTunes preferences, select advanced and remove the checkmark in front of “Copy Files to iTunes Media folder”
  2. iFlicks acquires all meta data from the two sites mentioned above. If, for some reason, no information for your video is found, it’s always good to check those sites first to make sure there is no naming conflict. The new Battlestar Galactica for example is only found if the show name is ‘Battlestar Galactica (2003)’.
  3. iFlicks recognizes automatically from the file name if the video is a movie or a TV show. In the unlikely case you have trouble, use one of the following naming schemes for your files prior to import: “Show.XXxYY.extension”, “Show/Season X/Y.extension” or “Show SeasonEpisode Episodename.extension”.
  4. As the developer let me know, the next bugfix release of iFlicks will support writing metadata directly into existing m4v, mp4 and mov files. If you import those files, they will no longer be put into an extra container, but simply tagged and copied. Already imported files can be easily updated.
  5. iFlicks looks up certain ID’s in the US iTunes store and adds them to your files. That makes it possible to have HD and SD version of the same video file as one entry in iTunes and also, once you log into your US iTunes account, Genius for TV shows and movies is supported.

Conclusion

For everyone with a big video collection and the desire to manage it easily through iTunes and browse it comfortably through FrontRow, iFlicks is the tool to go for. Through it’s automated processes and the use of rules, importing even a very large collection of files becomes almost a matter of simple drag and drop.

The short time needed to familiarize oneself with the application is nothing compared to the hours or days it would take to manually import and tag complete TV seasons or movie collections.


Summary

iFlicks offers a simple way to import your video - movies and TV shows - into iTunes, and will automatically find and download all the relevant data for each video to save you hours of hard work.

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  • http://webneedz.com webneedz

    Thanks, I will definitely give it a try.

  • http://homescreen.racemat.de Marco

    sounds nice …

  • Paul Natsch

    Any need for this if you already use Plex? Could I make “wrappers” of all my Plex media on my external HD so they’re also viewable in Front Row without duplicating everything? What about the Eye TV recordings on my external HD as well?

    • http://www.twitter.com/L1TheProducer L1

      Exactly what I was thinking. It would be good if I could add meta data using this, and it would import over into Plex.

  • http://mosotomoss.wordpress.com/ Mosotomoss

    Hmmm, I have to look into that. Thanks!

  • Mowses

    Looks pretty good but as mentioned above doesn’t seem like an upgrade to Plex, especially if you don’t like itunes that much…

  • Mowses

    Plex is free…

  • http://www.mrcorse.net Miguel Machado

    I have used boxee, but didn’t like the last version.

    Can I import movies with subs, with the app?!

    • http://www.iflicksapp.com Jendrik Bertram

      Yes. If the Subtitles play fine in QuickTime they will also be included in the videos encoded by iFlicks.

      • Konstantinos

        In Mac OS X Lion external subtitles are not included in the videos encoded by iFlicks, although when the same files are played with Quicktime the subtitles are shown in the video picture.
        Is there any bug or fix?

  • http://josephsart.net Josephs

    Yeah I bought this the other day, I used it before by my trial expired, it’s just a really simple way to get your movies organised!

  • Curtiss

    So here is an interesting question… My AppleTV can stream from iTunes. If I keep my movies on an external media instead of in the iTunes folder can I stream them to my AppleTV? Especially files that I currently can’t play like MKVs? Also, I looked on the site and it looks like there is no try-before-buying option. Am I missing it?

    • http://www.iflicksapp.com Jendrik Bertram

      Just download iFlicks. It is fully functional for 15 days without a license. That way you have enough time to figure out if it does what you want/need.

  • http://www.smashingbuzz.com Anupama Rao

    amazing….let it try now!

  • http://www.alittlephotoshop.com/ Greg McAusland

    i’m having serious trouble getting this to work remotely with front row.

    i’ll paint a picture, I have my main machine, and a laptop. Everything I import to my main machine’s itunes fails to show up in frontrow, remotely on the lap top.

    At first I thought it was just the king of suck, front row doing it’s level best to live up to it’s title. However, after testing with a random video that I resaved as a .mov and drag/drop imported by hand in to itunes I have discovered it appearing in front row on the laptop in real time, with 0 delay.

    Yet alas, when importing anything with iFlicks, it just fails to show up in the remote front row, at all. If thats not bizarre enough it DOES show up remotely in itunes, and it DOES show up in the local machine’s front row. Only remoting and only in front row does the iFlicks import seem to fail.

    Now, normally that circumstance wouldn’t be an issue. I don’t particularly use front row very often, I don’t particularly use it on my lap top at all. But, since its essentially the same system that apple TV is running on, I am worried frankly that after spending a couple of hundred dollars on the box, the app, and countless hours importing a ton of media using it that I would sit down with popcorn in front of the TV, turn it on and find an empty media browser.

    I don’t know if this is the case, I’m only basing my assumptions off of what my laptop is doing when remotely connected via front row. It seems epically temperamental!

    I’d be very interested if anyone could shed some light on this bizarre bug, if they get it, if they fixed it or ultimately if it was the same on apple tv.

    I thought you’d introduced me to the answer to all things media, but instead its a whole new can of woe :(!

  • Jay

    great app! i have been looking for something like this for a while. two days into the trial and it already has a permanent place on my dock. i will definitely be purchasing iflicks.

  • Mike

    I prefer VideoDrive (available at http://www.aroona.net). I have purchased both iFlicks and VideoDrive, but VideoDrive has the upper hand in batch processing. It has more features when dealing multiple TV show episodes etc. The interface of iFlicks is a bit nicer for single movies.

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  • JP

    Like some others commenting here I’d have to say Plex does this and more and won’t cost you a dime. It has its share of bugs, the TV episode scraping isn’t always working and the playback codecs aren’t as good as QT, with sound sync issues on some old DivX movies. Besides that, it’s a great HTPC solution, considerably better than most. What makes it awesome is its wonderful integration with web-based broadcasting and the myriad of apps/plugins that let you watch TV from all over the world. Further, Plex lets you browse content over FTP or AFP! That’s right, you don’t have to keep your media on a hard drive in your home but can use FTP to browse your friend’s media library from your own couch!

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  • http://freelanceswitch.com Joel Falconer

    After a couple of hours with this app, the idea is nice, the UI could use a few tweaks for batch processing TV shows, and it could do with some bug testing. This app is quite buggy.

  • Nathan

    Don’t know if anyone will make it on here. Has anyone had any luck making reference files this way and apple to watch it on their apple TV 2gen

  • CTShop

    Checkout Usher. THE iPhotos for Videos.
    http://manytricks.com/usher/

  • dev

    just use plex.

  • Grant BG

    I have a movie (.avi) and the associated subtitles file (.srt), both with exactly the same prefix, which I processed using iflicks (downloaded for the purpose) and now the film is in iTunes, but without the subtitles, and neither does it show in Quicktime with subtitles. As yet I haven’t come across any really clear and specific instructions about how to do this, and having failed several times, I would appreciate some helpful guidance!

  • mario

    Just learned something more about iFlicks reading this article ! Thanks !

    I indeed have a lot of previously imported movies/TV shows in my iTunes library.

    Here’s the problem: I have a movie, which was initially released in 1951 and a remake came out in 2010. When I use the “automatically update metadata” script of iFlicks in iTunes, I get the data from the 2010 release, but I need the 1951 version.
    So I went for the manual approach using “update metadata using GUI” script.
    I manage to select the right movie, but what do I do then ? When I click “Start” I start again a conversion of the file, which I do not want/need. What do I need to do to only update the metadata and nothing more ? Must be overlooking something…

    Thanks !

  • badmac

    Great tool. I also use Plex, but if you want a truly automated setup, IMHO you have to have iFlicks in the conversation. there are guides on how to automate with plex, but most have you hobbling together freeware. I understand free is good but sometimes you have to pay a little.my fully automated setup is: automate>vuze/transmission>iflicks. with the iflicks rules, everything is sorted , Plex updates the folders. when i get in from work, all i do is turn on the TV and watch

  • Kerry

    I LOVE iFlicks. it is as good as you said it would be. The thing is that I want to add the movies I have on DVDs to my library. I can’t work out how to do that, as it won’t let me drag nor add it to the iflicks window.

  • Kerry

    ok, I am just a spaz. I worked out how to do that and now I am even happier with iFilcks. Sorry for being such a …

  • Tulcan Alexandru

    Hey, it’s a very nice app, i like it because it’s fast but it needs some improvements. Please add the posibility to edit the language of the subtitle and of the audio. I think that’s all. Thank you. Sorry for my bad english.

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  • http://www.jensenrvdirect.com William

    I am impressed both with the functionality of the app as well as the in depth review you put up detailing its strengths in a convincing manner. I personally have a huge media library too and this will come in handy when I decide to finally tidy up my hard drives.

  • http://www.rvstoragedepot.com rv storage orange county

    Hey, you used to write great, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your tremendous writings. Past several posts are just a little out of track! come on!”The smaller the understanding of the situation, the more pretentious the form of expression.” by John Romano.

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