Metadata and Cover Art

I just got a new external HD (2.5TB woo!) and I’m going to start the long, arduous process of renaming everything I’ve downloaded as I move it to the new drive.

Few questions about metadata and cover art, I’ve read the guide here:

In the guide, I was thinking of using option 1;

Recommended Option #1

Has anyone done this before? How important is the title of the episode? Will Dexter.S04E02.avi still work? Or which naming convention do you find works the best?

Finding the episode names isn’t that hard, but makes batch renaming them next to impossible.


I don’t think the name of episode is real important as long as you have the season number and episode number.

You could you a program like The Renamer to make it easier. It will rename and move the files for you.

Thanks for the info… about the Cover Art though… wont folder.jpg just mean the containing folder of the TV shows get the cover art. and not each individual show? 

I have all my individual shows show a snapshot from the episode itself, instead of the show cover art, which is annoying me. 

Correct, the folder.jpg in each folder is just so in the Media Player interface you’ll see high res cover art instead of boring grey folders. What I did, was put a folder.jpg in the root folder, and also copied folder.jpg into each Season’s folder so they all have the same cover art.

Ex: /Fringe/folder.jpg, /Fringe/Season 1/folder.jpg

You could use one image for the main folder, then actual Season X cover art for each subfolder, but finding high res copies is harder then you’d think. I’d like to do this eventually but I haven’t found a good source and until I do I’d rather see high res images from theTVDB then pixelated junk from Google Image search results.

If you want a specific image showing for each individual episode (this will be painful to do), do this:

  • In the folder containing the episode, put an image with the exact same name as the movie file
  • Eg. 30 Rock.S01E01.Pilot.mkv and 30 Rock.S01E01.Pilot.jpg

I did not do this lol. If you have the right file names to get meta data, you will see the show actor/director/synopsis and a thumbnail image of the show. But, on the home screen where you see what you’ve watched recently it will show high res cover art and not thumbnails of the video liked it used to. The images I’m seeing in the recently watched list don’t match the folder images I manually added so I’m guessing it’s scrapping them from theTVDB.

You shouldn’t have to do this for movies, as long as you have them named so the scrapper can get their meta data you should see the actual movie poster and not a thumbnail of the movie.

Thanks jeremyf.6009!

Quite impressed with The Renamer, it fixed a lot of them automatically! For anyone else doing this, 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 select and pick “Reload Metadata”

10 hours later, I’m done and the results were well worth it!

Troubleshooting tips:

  1. First and foremost, make SURE you have the folder’s content type set to “TV Shows” or it won’t work. To do this highlight a folder and hold the Select button on your AppleTV remote. In the dropdown pick “TV Shows”. ATVFlash defaults to “Movies”, so folders with movies in them should be ok by default but the content type has to match what’s inside the folder so it knows which scraper to use.

  2. Don’t include special characters in show names.

  • Remove /, -, etc. and do not replace with spaces, just remove them all together

Ex: Fate/Stay Night becomes FateStay Night, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air becomes The Fresh Prince of BelAir. On theTVDB Fate/Zero is actually Season 2 of Fate/Stay Night, when all else fails check the series page on theTVDB and look for any mismatch between your season/episode list and theirs. You have to match their format to get their meta data.

  1. If you can’t get The Renamer to find a match, or the proper match, do this:
  • Find the show on
  • Copy the Show ID (it’s in the search results, and URL bar when on a shows page)
  • In The Renamer, click the TV Manual Scraping button in the bottom toolbar (it looks like a glove)
  • Paste the Show ID into the box, while the flyout box is open, drag the folder containing the show into the app
  • The Renamer will do a manual scrape and correctly identify the program

Ex: Battlestar Galactica is actually scrapped as Battlestar Galactica (2003), if you don’t have the (2003) on it ATVFlash won’t pick up the right metadata

  1. Specials are all labeled under Season 0 (S00EXX in the filename).

Ex: Robot Chicken - Star Wars episodes are actually labeled like this: Robot Chicken.S00E04.Robot Chicken- Star Wars Special

  1. Bonus: High Res Cover Art for Folders
  • Find the show on
  • In the Posters section, find one you like (view all for more)
  • Click the Poster
  • Click View Full Size Image in the area that expands under the Poster image when you click it
  • The high res version will open in a new tab, right click and save the file as folder.jpg, put it in the folder that contains your episodes
  • Eg. /Fringe/folder.jpg, /Fringe/Season 1/folder.jpg

Hope this helps!

Movies Tips: The only movie I had trouble with was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It’s two parts, and initially it wouldn’t pick up meta data for either part. That damn hyphen haunts me again!

Here’s what I did to fix it!

  1. Renamed the files like this:
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows- Part 2

At this point it picks up meta data, but shows both as Part 2. Highlight the first file, hold the select button and go to reload metadata. A popup appears since it can’t find an exact match, and lists both movies as options. Pick Part 1 (you can see the release year in the popup results).

Edit: updated all posts, you want to hold the Select button NOT Menu as I initially had written. My bad!

If you want a specific image showing for each individual episode (this will be painful to do), do this:”

Yes this is what I wanted. 

I have done this for a folder that has sub-folders and I can see the image in the list! Which I would not want. So I hope these images would not show.

But anyway, seems like too much hassle. I just want the perfect media player and aTv Flash is not there yet. When these thumbnail issues are sorted I think it will almost be there! I think its just the thumbnails causing me grief. 

Weird, before I knew you could do the folder.jpg trick I had folder images using the names of the folder, so a folder named Season 1 and a Season 1.jpg inside the same folder.

Eg. /TV Shows/Fringe, /TV Shows/Fringe/Season 1, /TV Shows/Fringe/Season 1.jpg

I didn’t see those images in the list, so I assumed you wouldn’t for individual files either but I guess I’m wrong. I swapped to the folder.jpg method since it keeps your folder/file lists cleaner. Are you sure the .jpg has the exact same name as the movie file? I don’t know if it’s case sensitive but it’d be worth a look.

It’s not perfect, but perfect costs money. If you buy shows off the AppleTV they have all this done for you. But, using the steps above you can come pretty damn close, and still be miles ahead of every other set top box. I had a WDTV box before my AppleTV, and even the mods for that won’t give you as nice an interface or meta data / cover art at all. You can run a torrent client on it which would be awesome if the ATV supported, but in every other regard it kicks it’s butt.

If you have any suggestions on what would work better in your situation, submit a feature request. I’m sure fireCore would love to know!

Actually, I can only see the image when its in a folder that has sub folders. So if there are no sub-folders I dont see it, it works fine. But when I have sub-folders, I can see the folder.jpg image alongside the sub-folders which is annoying. 

Hmm, that’s really weird. Here’s how mine is setup and I don’t see them, which is the same as yours from what I can tell.

/TV Series/ (this is a favorite)
/TV Series/Fringe
/TV Series/Fringe/Season 1
/TV Series/Fringe/Season 2

/TV Series/Fringe/folder.jpg

There are no files in this folder except the folder.jpg, otherwise it’s all sub-folders. I don’t see the folder.jpg in the list, just the Season X sub folders. The only quirk I’ve noticed is if your sub-folder only has one file in it, Media Player doesn’t display it as a folder and none of this applies. I just went through most of the options in Media Player -> Settings trying to make the .jpgs appear and can’t find an option that makes them show up. I’m using List View, what are you using?

Few things I’d try:

  1. First open the .jpg in Photoshop (or any image editing software) and save it again as a jpg. Maybe it’s not a jpg and just has that extension? Does the folder.jpg show up as the folder’s image?

  2. Hold the Select button on the folder and reload meta-data to see if the image disappears after.

  3. Submit a trouble ticket. If your folder structure matches mine above something isn’t working right, or there’s a setting somewhere that’s making them show up. I can’t find it, but maybe the fireCore team knows what it is.

  4. *** I have no idea what this will do so use with caution *** In the Media Player -> Settings menu there is a Reset option. Will it fix it? I have no idea. Will it break anything? Also no idea. Is it worth a shot? Maybe!

If and when you figure out why it’s happening, please reply I’m quite interested to know what it was!

Just thought of something. I’m going to try this tonight, but after playing around last night I think I know what you’re trying to accomplish. I’d never given Grid View much thought until last night, when I changed the view type trying to make the .jpg’s appear. WOW. Now I see why you want cover art for everything.

theTVDB gives great artwork for generic covers (a folder containing multiple seasons), but it doesn’t for each individual season. I did a quick search on Amazon, and they have high res DVD covers for everything they sell. To use them will require doing some photo editing by hand in a lot of cases, but will give me different cover art for each season. Totally worth the time IMO. I’ll report back with the results once I give it a go!

Which brings us to the Episode list in Grid View. The View page while in Grid View is amazing! Now I see why you want artwork for each episode, without it the Episode list in Grid View is unruly. You probably know more about this then I do, but what if fireCore added something like this?

  1. Add a new View Type, called Season View which is identical to Grid View but with a few extra internal features:
  • In a Season’s folder, we set the list type to Season View and manually add a folder.jpg
  • aTV Flash takes the folder.jpg, and applies it as the thumbnail to all files in the folder
  • aTV Flash overlays a number on top of this image, to show it’s sequence in the Season (based off file name / meta data)

This serves two purposes. With a view type like this you could;

  • Add one folder.jpg to a folder containing Seasons, and have it overlay 1 -> 2 -> N on the folder.jpg to create Season X covers
  • Add one folder.jpg to a folder containing Episodes, and have it overlay 1 -> 2 -> N on the folder.jpg to create Episode X covers
  • Retain the ability to override individual files using the normal naming system
  1. Alternatively, this new view type could be accomplished using different image names. Instead of folder.jpg, we could add season.jpg’s, which if found kick in the 1 -> 2 -> N overlays on top of the season.jpg. This is probably easier to implement for fireCore and less confusing to users.

Would something like this fix your issue? Do you have any additional suggestions before I submit this as a feature request?

I think a system like this would make adding generic cover art 100x easier, while still giving us full control to go crazy with it if we want to.

oh yeah, its grid view… I forgot there are even other views :slight_smile:

I dont mind having the same image for all episodes, it will still look much better than a snapshot from the episode, that you cant control. Overlaying the number would be great. 

But I just had a thought now you brought views up… you can override a view in a sub-folder I think cant you… so I may keep grid view for all top level folders and movies, but then for Seasons I could change that to List view and just show the list. So then actually not too bad. 

Agreed! I’m going to think about it a bit more then submit it as a feature request.

That’s exactly what I’m doing now, Grid for primary folders (covers from theTVDB), List for Season list folders, and List for Episode folders. Tonight I’m going to try to go one step further and use Grid for primary, Grid for Season (covers from Amazon for actual Season X images), then List for folders containing Episodes.

Hopefully if we can scope out a good way to automate Episode list folders to use one image and overlay numbers we can extend that to use Grid for everything. If we can, and fireCore implements it there would be virtually no difference between the built in Movies/TV Shows interface and Media Player.

Turns out it was easier then I thought! While you’re on theTVDB, the main series page has posters you can use for generic (folder containing seasons) cover art, but if you click each season they have specific art for that season. I grabbed season covers for each show, so now I’m using Grid for favorites folders containing shows, Grid for show folders containing Seasons, and List for season folders containing episodes.

Someday soon I’ll compile all the notes from this thread and edit my initial post so it’s easier for others to find the steps without reading the entire thread. Thanks everyone who replied with tips!

Just to follow up… my “folder.jpg” images are still showing as images. Attached is a picture I took. You can see the folder I am in is called Kids TV. The image on the right is the jpg for this folder, called “Kids TV.jpg”. It works, the folder image is this image, BUT I can see the image in the list which is annoying, especially because it looks no different from any other and could be mistaken for another folder. 


P.S. Also what is annoying is how SOME folders do not show the name until you hover over it, like the one last but one. 

The image should not be named “Kids TV.jpg” if it’s inside the “Kids TV” folder. It should be named “folder.jpg”. There are two ways to install cover art;

Option 1:

/Shows/Kids TV (folder)
/Shows/Kids TV.jpg

Both the folder and image have the same name, and are in the same folder, “Shows”.

Option 2:

/Shows/Kids TV (folder)
/Shows/Kids TV/folder.jpg

The file is now inside the “Kids TV” folder, and is not named the same as the folder. It’s named “folder.jpg”. This is the method I prefer as it keeps your folder’s cleaner when accessing them through your Mac/PC.

Based on your screenshot you have it setup like this;

/Shows/Kids TV (folder)
/Shows/Kids TV/Kids TV.jpg

Is not correct! I’m surprised Media Player even uses it as the cover art!

Never seen the missing title before, maybe try fixing your cover art files and reloading meta-data on the parent folder?

Ha ha oh man that’s silly of me. I thought it was right because the image IS showing as the cover art for the parent folder. Also, when everyone references “folder.jpg” I assumed the word folder was meant to mean the name of the folder  :[. Ha ha I will give that a go later and see if it works. Thanks a lot. 

jonez has it mostly right, but here are a few more details.

Priority will be given to cover art in the following order.

  1. Matching image name placed alongside the folder (E.G. Kids.jpg placed next to a folder called Kids)
  2. Image named folder.jpg placed inside the folder (E.G. folder.jpg placed inside the folder called Kids)
  3. If neither of the above items are present, Media will look in the folder for any images it can find and use the first one (alphabetically) it finds (E.G. Kids TV.jpg placed inside the folder called Kids). The only difference here is that the image itself will remain visible inside the folder.

Regarding the missing title - I’m guessing the first four items are folders with more than one movie inside, while the last two are folders only contain a single video? This is expected behavior as MP will try and save you from having to click into the folder to start a video. When clicked, the first four items will show you their contents, and the last two items will begin playback instead of displaying the folder contents.

Hope this helps.

Yes the missing title is a folder with one video in. So would be good if it showed the title like the rest, looks odd without it.