How To Get TV Shows On Your AppleTV
For most Canadians, the selection of TV shows we have access to online is very limited. The iTunes store does not allow you to rent any tv shows in Canada, and to buy them is extremely expensive. Because of this I have developed a nice workflow for my Mac that I would love to share.
The mileage of this method may vary from person to person, but I believe this workflow should work without any hassle. If there are any issues with it or if you have any questions about it feel free to leave me a comment or send me a message on twitter @jonpilon.
Getting The Shows:
The first problem needing to be solved is finding the shows that you want with minimal hassle. I recently found a program for the Mac called TVShows 2 by Embercode. This is a preference pane that let’s you easily “subscribe” to any tv show (the list is absolutely huge) and set it up so that it will automatically download from the .torrent file from the internet. You can set it to check at regular intervals so that you are always up to date with what’s on TV. You can also select whether you want it to download the episode in HD or SD, but I might suggest SD so that you don’t drain out your bandwidth caps, as well as they take much less time to go through this process.
Downloading the Show:
Once you have the TV show torrent file you can simply open it up in your favorite torrent client. I recommend that you use the program Transmission for this task though. The great part of Transmission is the amount of automation that can be set up through the program itself. I set up TVShows to always download the files to my videos folder on an external drive and then told Transmission to watch that folder for anytime a torrent file is added to it. Transmission simply starts up and starts downloading as soon as it has downloaded. Another great feature of Transmission is the ability to have it send downloads to specific folders based on your own preferences. Since there are only about 7 or 8 shows that I watch on a regular basis, I have set Transmission to check the filename for certain keywords and sort the file into specific folders based on the series.
Converting Your TV:
Unfortunately for us iOS users, most downloads from torrents come as .avi files, which are not very compatible with iDevices. To the rescue comes a program called iFlicks, which recently became available in the Mac App store for $24.99. What this program does is converts any of the video files you put into it into files compatible with iTunes and then adds them to your library. Where this program shines is that it also searches online databases to add the metadata for your tv show or movie. If your a stickler for neatness in your iTunes and don’t like to see shows missing art and descriptions, this feature is worth the price alone.
If you’re a little bit more cash conscious however, Apple has a built in tool in the Automator app that can convert files into .mov files which can then be added into iTunes. However by going this route, you do not get any of the metadata available.
Another perk of the iFlicks app is that it provides you with some AppleScripts that you can set to watch a folder for a new file and then have them automatically process in iFlicks, similar to how Transmission automatically added files.
Once all this is done and set up, it is a completely automated process, meaning you won’t have to touch it again to get your favorite TV shows on your iOS device. All this work is done behind the scenes on your computer so all you have left to do is figure out when you’re going to have time to sit back and watch all these shows on your Apple TV or iPhone.