My review of Infuse and future suggestions

I decided to move away from Kodi and third party media streamers to a purely Apple ecosystem, so the ATV4K with Infuse was my combo of choice. After spending the last day configuring and figuring out some perks of Infuse, here is my review and suggestions for improvement.

Overall, it is an extremely elegant solution that allows you to enjoy your media collection in style. Obviously, being an iOS/tvOS-centric solution, the amount of customization reaches nowhere near the customization insanity levels of third party devices and Kodi, but we know that going in, and quite frankly, the vast majority of users would prefer to keep it simple anyway. As a software product on its own, I am amazed at how much Infuse gets right, right out of the box. Initial setup is very Apple-like, straightforward and easy and the interface is extremely clean.

The things that Infuse doesn’t get right are really few, but I would like to point them out, especially since a new major version is on the way and maybe there is time and include fixes for them:

  1. File scraping
    Although technically within the realm of the software, in reality it is extremely dependent on the source of info, in our case thetvdb and themoviedb. I have a rather large media collection and had an extremely hard time going through each and every one of those missed files to check why they weren’t scanned correctly to begin with, especially since Kodi was able to handle them. In the vast majority of cases, the problem was attributed to the use of symbols within the title such as semicolons or commas that had to be omitted or inserted in the file name in order for Infuse to identify the movie or TV series. One example is the TV series “L.A. Law” which is named exactly like that in tvdb but in order for Infuse to identify it, I had to rename all files to “LA Law”. Obviously, I’m not complaining about having to rename the files, but the amount of time one has to spend to identify and test the files in order to find a solution for each problematic file can be quite taxing in large databases. This should band can be improved especially since Kodi was able to identify them and most importantly, since my files were named correctly to begin with, according to tvdb and had to rename them to suit Infuse.

  2. Collection Grouping
    As in point 1, I believe that the grouping of extras originates at the source (thetvdb, themoviedb) but this doesn’t mean that we should’t be able to manually edit the groupings ourselves manually. For example, I was trying to locate the movie Alien Covenant; one would think that it would be placed in the Alien Collection, but no, it was placed alongside Prometheus in their own Prometheus Collection! Can we have an option to move movies into collections manually please?

  3. File naming conventions/Handling of Extras
    This has been identified by many users, but a solution for the movies that have extras, such as interviews, making-of etc, has to be implemented. Having the same movie poster appear on the main library is just plain wrong and detracts from the experience.

  4. Centralized database
    I know that this will be implemented in Infuse 6 but even in v5, I don’t see why a trakt account is necessary when the option to synchronize via iCloud is already in place.

  5. Movie/Series posters in Shared Folder (Favorites) mode
    I really like the way that each movie and series is represented in Library mode and would love to see that in each of the Shared folders (favorites) mode. However, when I go into the movies shared folder, I am presented with a bland folder structure listing of movies, which after clicking into each folder, I am presented with the beautiful poster for each movie. The reason why I would prefer to access my media files through the shared folders, is the fact that I have a separate shared folder for TV Series and a separate one for Documentaries. If I use the Library view, they are consolidated into one and I would much rather prefer to have them seperate.

  6. Library resume point
    It would be nice to have the library and your favorites remember your last location once you exit and when you re-enter to pick up from there. For example, if I’m watching Star Wars and stop to have a quick view of something in my TV series collection, when I go back to the Movie Library, I would expect to see the page where Star Wars is, instead of the movies in the first page alphabetically. This is extremely useful in large libraries.

In closing, I have to say I am definitely impressed! The points mentioned above I believe should be relatively easy to implement, but even in its current status, although not as powerful as Kodi with the endless customization options and xml file handling, Infuse is the ideal solution for someone that wants to have a clean media interface that just plain works out of the box on an ATV. Although the license or subscription price is steep (I purchased the lifetime license), I believe its worth it and consider the price as an investment for the years of hard work that have already gone into the development of the app and hopefully the many more years to come!

Thank you for a great piece of software!

  1. Haven’t noticed this much but can see how it would be annoying.
  2. There is a discussion on this running in the suggestions section. I think it is something that will be coming. You may want to add your vote to the relevant thread in the suggestions area.
  3. Same as point 2
  4. Trakt and iCloud sync perform different functions. At the moment you can only sync changes and settings made via iCloud. Watched status is done with Trakt. I think the new version 6 may change this setup. iCloud & Trakt Syncing – Firecore
  5. There are a couple of options you may wish to consider - you could add an image file to each folder Metadata 101 – Firecore (see folder artwork half way down the page). You could also put your Documentaries into a folder, exclude that folder from the library and have it as a favourite. This will keep the documentaries separated and requires less work than locating folder images for all your tv shows and movies. Many people (myself included) like to use folder hierarchy for organising home and work videos etc so I imagine infuse may get some resistance if they removed this feature.
  6. Is it just the watched / resume playback position you are wanting? In which case, Trakt is what you need. Or is it something different you are describing?

I have found that after playing with it for a while, you can get quite creative when customising the app and using xml files. I have also found the plex integration especially useful due to it’s metadata customisation options - this may solve your Documentary / tv show issue but it does of course add an extra level of setup. Infuse are very proactive with development so I can’t imagine it will be too long before some of your Wishlist items are implemented. All the best.

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I am not going into all points, just 1. and 4.:

  1. It happens to me as well and it is quite annoying indeed, especially after rebuilding the databases (as it happened few times due to some iCloud/tvOS/Infuse bugs) I have to manually assign some videos to a TV Show/Movie. The Craziest one is “The Frankenstein Chronicles”. Even manually if I put “The” in front of it, it won’t get recognised. The bizarre thing is that setting the scrubbing in Italian the same videos get recognised…
  2. I do love me Trakt synching! Trakt is my main Movies/TV Shows tracker, and there are quite few apps out there, for both iOS and Android that give out a lot of info about next episodes to watch, incoming episodes and movies and so on. I just wish Netflix and Prime Video added Trakt support as well, because to always add manually the episodes from an app is a pain in the neck.