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:
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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!