How meta data is retrieved

I’m considering getting the new Apple TV specifically so I can use aTV Flash to watch movies from my NAS. I just had a question about how it gets the covers and meta data. So all of my files are m4v files from ripped DVDs. Does it just use the file name to get the meta data? What does it display if meta data can’t be found?

For TV shows I noticed that there is a knowledge base article with several suggested naming conventions. I have used a different convention and I already have hundreds of files. Would something like this work “South Park 04-12 Trapper Keeper.m4v”? Basically it is (show name season-episode episode name). Without any periods or anything.

Metadata fetching is done in a few ways, but will always start with the embedded metatags for your files. If no metatags are found, then the actual filename will be used. In the unlikely event incorrect metadata is downloaded, you can easily fix it by selecting the correct title from the ‘Reload Metadata’ item found in the popup menu.

I just tested the filename ‘South Park 04-12 Trapper Keeper.m4v’ and the correct metadata was downloaded just fine.

Any ideas how I can fix the metadata for my only TV Show which doesn’t work.

The files are:

Hawaii Five-0 S01E01.avi  etc

This is the official title used by and works with all my other software which detects metadata so I don’t really want to change the filenames but media player cannot seem to find any metadata for it.

awesome! I can’t wait for the new aTV Flash version to come out that support the new Apple TV. aTV Flash is the main reason why I am buying the Apple TV in the first place.

Hawaii Five-0 is a bit tricky as the dash is part of the series title, whereas dashes are usually used to separate words. This means Media Player is sending ‘Hawaii Five 0’ to TheTVDB, which yields in no results.

A workaround for now would be to name the files ‘Hawaii Five0’ until we work out a better solution.

I have around 1400 titles in my library, and so far I’ve uncovered about 15 instances of incorrect metadata without even looking for them.


For example, I have two movies, one labeled “The Flyboys.avi” and the other one just “Flyboys.avi” which both were assigned the same metadata for “Flyboys.avi”. Is it ignoring the word “The” from the titles? (I realized the importance of adding the year to the title a few years too late! :P)


What I really need to do is get a program like “My Movies” to help me manage the collection, rename files correctly, embed metadata, etc. Any other suggestions? (Mac only)

If there is more than one title returned, then it will pick the one that it deems the best match (usually ranked by popularity). Obviously this leaves a few cases of incorrect metadata, but you can easily fix these instances by highlighting the file, holding the center (select) button, and choosing the ‘Reload Metadata’ option. Doing this will present a list of possible matches and allow you to select the correct title.

Sorry for hijacking, but I am also intersted in this. Specifically where the data comes from. You mention TVDB. Well, I have loads of postman pats for my kids, about 50. Only two show the thumbnails. If I search TVDB for “Postman Pat And The Bollywood Dance”, it comes up no results, but they do actually have it listed when searching for All episodes…

So, is the issue with no meta data because TVDB have an issue in this case (no search results, even though they have a page about it), or aTV Flash not getting all the data? 


I have a Mac so can’t use TheRenamer. Instead I tried FileBot… it renamed all the episodes but did not add any META data like description, dates etc. Also, no thumbnail. Is it normai to not add a thumbnail as part of the META data? So each episode is a snapshot of the video rather than a cover. 

I’m going through the process of renaming about 1.5TB of files to show proper meta data as I move to a larger external HD, here’s the steps I’ve found worked for me.

  1. Download The Renamer (free!) -
  2. Run it on a folder
  3. For any files it wasn’t able to match, go to the folder and do the following;
  4. Rename the files to Show.S01E01 (you can do this really fast by putting Show.S01E01 in the clipboard, then upping the last digit as you rename each file, eg 30 Rock.S01E01, 30 Rock.S01E02 …)
  5. Run The Renamer again, it will pickup episode names for all the ones it couldn’t match before
  6. Select the folder on the AppleTV, hold the Select button and pick “TV Shows” as the content type
  7. If you still don’t see meta data, hold the Select button and pick “Reload Metadata”

I can’t believe how much better it is with meta data for every episode! Stuff like this is why aTV Flash is better then every other set top box!

Thanks again to jeremyf.6009 for tipping me off to The Renamer. Saved me HOURS.

10 hours later and I’m done! I added some tips to my post in the Features and Troubleshooting forum, outlining how I got correct meta data for all of my movies/shows (1.5TB) and high res cover art. There are some quirks with how theTVDB names shows that can prevent you from getting the right match!

If you choose folder type as Movies or TV Shows it does try to get the names online. I found this fine for Movies, but TV Shows it seems to fail. And then if you have home videos its bad. e.g. we have a holiday video called Australia 2007. So it fetches some random title and description from online. I also named any episodes I have after the episode, and some episodes have the same name as movies, so it was fetching the movie meta. 

So what I do is set any proper movies folder to type Movies. Picks them up OK. Then TV Shows and Home Movies I set to None, so I can then control my own. 

I found an app for the Mac called MetaMovie. This allows me to easily insert my own images, titles and descriptions. 

If I set a folder type to None, then it shows my own custom Meta which is great. 


Is there a better way? I know I had it working for a while, but it seems to be broken again. If I rename it like you suggested than everything on trak will be broken.

Is this solveable using a metadata file? And if so, how to proceed?


Is there a better solution? I know I had it working for a while, at least as far as I can recall. But it seems to be broken (again). If I rename it like you suggested than everything on trak will be broken, so that’s not an option I think.


Is this solveable using a metadata file? And if so, how to proceed?

trakt syncing will actually still work as the matched (correct) name will be sent to trakt and not the actual filename.

It's working. Thanks, James.

For some TV series, It doesn’t recognize the title. And if I search for the meta tag searcher than It won’t find It. Usually It happens with TV series. In this case, with Person of Interest.


Can you provide an example of how your show(s) are named?

Movies have never been an issue with Metadata so far. Some i have had to rename to make the metadata work accurately but that is not a big deal.
Over all the ATV2 has been great with the jailbreak…until the latest update at least for me.
90% of the music metadata is no longer working. Was working perfect but recently stopped.
Been trying to get help from firecore to correct it but no luck yet.
Over all though great box and the ATV Flash opens a world or possibilities.

Apologies for both a hijack of this thread and a cross-post (I’ve put this in the Bugs subforum for ATV Black as well).

I’ve ripped an R1 DVD of Hero (2002, Jet Li, Maggie Cheung). As sometimes happens it is mis-recognised as another film in Infuse - Accidental Hero with Dustin Hoffman.

But when I try to edit the metadata, both in iOS and TVOS, the 2002 Hero isn’t coming up in the list of films returned by the word “Hero”. Nor is it coming up as Ying Xiang,

Is there a trick to finding the right metadata? It’s not like it is an obscure film.