Media Player Metadata Storage

Does anyone knows how and where the metadata for Media Player is stored on the Apple TV 2? I have a M4V with embedded metadata and Media Player read in the description and genre but only part of the cover art!?!? I changed the embedded cover art in the M4V and still no go. I tried using the reset metadata in Media Player and no change.

I would like to look at the metadata storage file itself to see if I can figure out what the problem might be.

Which program are you using to change the cover art? Are you reloading (correcting) metadata after the cover art has been updated?

Metadata on the Apple TV is stored in the following location: /private/var/mobile/Library/Preferences/Media

The cover art and other metadata are entered manually with Subler 0.19. All metadata shows up properly in iTunes 10 and iTunes 11.

I am using embedded metadata so I turned off the external fetching. I did reload the metadata after change with the same negative result.

As a test, I sent the same M4V to Apple TV via Home Sharing and all the metadata, including cover art, show up properly.


Ah, you may actually want to re-enable metadata fetching. This will use a hybrid approach and show metadata that is embedded within the file, then download any missing bits from the web.

I went into the .thumbnails directory and located the problem files. It seems the Media Player metadata parser choked on converting the embedded JPG into the PNG thumbnails. I manually generated the 132x200 and 266x400 PNGs and put them back into .thumbnails directory and Media Player can display them with no problem.

Thanks for following up.

It would be interesting to try and replicate that issue here. Any chance you could PM me the embedded image you had trouble with?

Just PM’ed you.

No, I really don’t want to enable metadata fetch. So far I only have two M4Vs with problems. I tried fetching and it added genres to the movies that are inconsistent with what I see on iTunes. I honestly think Media Player is very good and can be made better with a more systematic approach to organizing metadata. Just off the top of my head, priority of metadata should be embedded, external file (xml/nfo/etc.), then online. Programmatically you should parse into the metadata database of Media Player according to this priority.

Really, I don’t see any reason why we should use external metadata instead of embedded. You can fire up a great number of metadata tools, download metadata from online or enter manually, and have a self-contained media file that is portable any where. But I digress…


OK, I did a test and imported the metadata set from the problem M4V to another M4V that has no problem. MP can read and display the metadata set with no problem. So it seems the metadata set, including the cover art is fine.

Next I re-ripped from my original DVD with Handbrake and attach the metadata set to the new M4V. Strangely, I get the exact same problem as before!?

Lastly, I have noticed any M4V with embedded genre as Comedy, the genre will fail to display in MP. There is definitely some bugs in MP’s metadata parser.

Media Player will actually limit the embedded metadata it extracts from your files. Right now we’re just taking the title and poster art (if present) and pulling everything else from TheMovieDB or TheTVDB, depending on the media type. This works well for the vas majority of our users, but obviously would fall a bit short if you prefer to embed and use your own metadata.

By chance, are you able to provide a few examples of where this isn’t provided ideal results? The more we know about your specific scenario, the better we can tune the metadata fetching to work.

Thanks James. Just PM’ed you a link to the trouble M4V.

BTW, it would seem Media Player read in more than just artwork and name. It picks up the description (short) as well as genre and the program length (time). I have external fetching turned off.

Really, isn’t it a bit archaic to have the metadata depends on how the file is named!? I guess at least we don’t have to use 8.3 filenames.

Thanks, we’ll take a look and see what we can do.

With regard to the title, we first look at the embedded title tag, and only fallback to the actual filename if the embedded tag is missing or unusable.

James… I’m having lag issues in the menus of my ATV2.  I have a few hundred movies on my home server and am wondering if the lag could be due to running out of space on my ATV2 because of a large amount of metadata?


Also, is there any way to change where the metadata is stored?  I’d love the option to host on the local server instead of the ATV2.

James, I would also like to know if there are limits to the metadata that Firecore can handle if the files are externally tagged. A buddy of mine (whom I also turned on to Firecore) and I have been consolidating our video libraries, and we both use NAS drives to stream them. Everything was fine when we were using ISO files and your metadata fetching, but we found that self-contained MP4/M4V files are much smaller and can be self-contained. We used a metadata search engine called MetaZ to encode them all. Now, however, Firecore gets into a permanent state of “Fetching Metadata” and even if you allow it to finish, it doesn’t stick. Artwork never appears and as soon as you go into or out of the subfolder with the movies, it begins looking for metadata again. Are there limits to the size of the artwork? Or how much metadata Firecore can handle? Do you have reccos as to the best file type to maximize quality/minimize HD space and work with metadata? I know this is a lot of questions, but we have hundreds of movies in limbo right now, and want them to get corrected. Thanks!

There are some limits (artwork size 600KB and 1920x1080 resolution) though if you run into them Media Player should just revert to add its own metadata and cover art.

Hi James

I have had a similar problem.  I have been storing my movies on a NAS device and streaming to an ATV2 utilising Media Player to watch them.  Things have been going well with fetching meta data and coverart until about 10 days ago when metadata and coverart now does not download at all.  I have the settings set to fetch metadata and havn’t changed anything but all Media Player does now is use a frame from the movie to display on the thumnail and no description of the film.

Is there anything I can do to fix?


Sorry, this is related to a change at TMDb which we are working to address.

In a nutshell, if your files have the year in the filename then metadata fetching is broken at the moment, unfortunately.