aTV Flash + ISO / VOB Files


I am a current Apple TV 1st Gen owner, interested in this software specifically for the ISO / VOB playback capability. 

Few questions I had before moving forward with procuring the software -

  • Being that I will have a 2 tb external hd attached, storage will not be an issue for my media collection.  I still have to rip my DVD's to digital yet, however was wondering with the ISO / VOB capability, would it be better to rip the DVD's as ISO and place them on the external hd or would you suggest compressing them to an itunes (apple tv) friendly format such as mp4? With storage not really being an issue, my main priority is video quality. I am assuming I would get the best video quality from the uncompressed ISO, is that correct? Having to convert video to apple tv format is not a problem for me. With that being said, are there any positives or negatives in having my media in the apple tv format as compared to a direct rip such as ISO? 


  • For TV shows, I currently have been ripping them and separating the episodes out such as (S01E01.mp4) This has been working out nicely with metadata software collecting the information specific to the exact episode. For example pulling the description for episode 1, pulling the description for episode 2 etc. My question here mainly deals with ripping a TV Series as ISO / VOB and how plugins such as Saphire will display these TV Series in the UI. For example, ripping a TV Series with 5 total disks for Season 1 of the series. Let's say disk 1 contains episodes 1-5. How will this specific file "Disk 1" be displayed in the UI of Saphire? Will it be able to pull all metadata for each episode 1-5 on disk 1? Or will the UI just reference a generic file name (Dexter Season 1 Disk 1) to display and be clicked on to launch "disk 1" ? 


Sorry if my explanations are not the most clear, just trying to pull this idea from my head.  Please let me know how this specific experience has been for you guys or any insight / suggestions into a better workflow or options. 



DVD files can be played in their native format (VIDEO_TS is preferred) on the ATV1. Metadata and cover art will be fetched automatically when using Sapphire.

The choice of which format to use comes down to a few key aspects.

Native VOB format

Pros - highest quality, full access to menus & special features, quick backup time

Cons - requires more storage space, cannot be played on an iPhone/iPad

Convert to MP4

Pros - more universal format, requires less storage space

Cons - Loss of some quality, no menus or special features, longer backup/conversion time

With regard to TV shows, your best option may to extract them to individual episodes. This will give you the best metadata, and make browsing through the files much more enjoyable.

Thank you James, very helpful. I will be purchasing because of your comment. 

I have been ripping to VIDEO_TS as an exploded directory, but I was wondering if Sapphire for Apple TV Gen 1 even supports ISO images.  Some DVDs won’t rip as an exploded directory without taking up over 50GB of space because of a copy-protection scheme that Disney and others seem to employ.  My options here are to rip a full disc image or to just rip the main movie.

If I do a full disc image, it seems that the ISO files are not recognized by Sapphire.  Should they be?

Unfortunately ISO files are not supported in Sapphire, but they can be played through nitoTV.

Hi James,

I have been using this software for a couple of weeks and really enjoy it capabilities. I wanted to try streaming ISO files but got this error…“Playback Error. An error occured loading this content.” the movie was ripped using AnyDvd . Any thoughts on what it can be? All of my mkv files work including a mkv file of this movie.

Thanks for your time.

It sounds like you’re using a black Apple TV. If so, your best option will be to send in a bug report.

Thanks for the reply, I will send one in.

I am not up to speed on this type of file, can the media player actually play the iso file like a DVD or do you need to separate the files so that it can read them? I ask this because I wanted to get the media info for the bug report, and the info that came back was just one line indicating that it was an ISO file?


Thanks for the info.  I was wondering if the “Media” player in the ATV Flash Black solves this short-coming.  I know the new media player operates similarly to Sapphire regarding meta-data and cover art, but will it play ISO files?
Thanks in advance for the response.


Yes, Media Player (Media menu item) on the ATV2 will play ISO, DVDMEDIA, and VIDEO_TS/VOB DVD files.



Hi James,

I am about to start ripping DVDs to a NAS. I have ATV1 with ATVFlash. From what I gather reading this thread, I can rip in ISO format, then use nitroTV to view movies. Question is, will they run at native resolution? I do not want any loss of fidelity on playback. Also, is there any benefit to using ATV2 for this same purpose? I’d rather not buy a second device as long as ATV1 is up to the task.

Your clarifications and suggestions for optimizing playback would be appreciated!

If you’re starting fresh and using the ATV1 you will want to use VIDEO_TS/VOB instead of ISO. Movies will be played in their native resolution, with no loss of quality.

ISO and VIDEO_TS/VOB work equally well on the ATV2 if you feel like upgrading.

Hi James,

I tried both formats for storing the movies on my NAS. They both seem to play through nitro, but not in full screen mode. Rather, they display compressed with black bars top and bottom. How do I get movies to play in native resolution?