video_ts vs handbrake

So now that I am up and running with aTV, I wanted to get some opinions on whether or not to use the video_ts only or use handbrake to rip my movie backups.

I just watched “300” from the video_ts on my external HDD and it was pretty awesome! I did notice a few small hiccups where the picture jumped a frame (probably from accessing the HDD) but it was pretty great overall. I also noticed that the sound quality is not as good as the DVD. This was surprising to me because I did a straight rip with no compression, no menus, just the movie. I have a 6.1 sound system and the channel separation is very good. The real DVD seems to have a much more robust sound, whereas the aTV seems to be regular stereo sound.

In the future I also wanted to convert all of my TV shows for backup play from my HDD, but I am not sure how this will work. I noticed screenshots that showed Familyguy with all episodes listed in order in nitoTV. I would really like this ability when I convert my TV shows instead of navigating just folders.

So what is everyone else using? Is handbrake worth the effort? Is the playback quality better than trying to use video_ts?

Take a look at:

Yes I saw that thread before. Not exactly the info I was looking for though. I guess I should rephrase my original posting. Basically if I use nitoTv with video_ts or mp4 files from Handbrake, I can only navigate down the folder structure like in FrontRow but I get no cover art and no metadata.

I saw a screenshot at that showed Family Guy tv series with all epsidodes listing and info.

So here are my questions:

  1. How to do I properly setup and organize my movie/shows in nitoTv/Sapphire to get this type of navigation structure?
  2. How to do I get the movie/episode info and covers to appear?
  3. Can anyone share how they have set things up so that I can get a clean organization of my movies/tv shows?
  4. Are there any tutorials out there on ripping the TV shows so that they are compatible to launch as individual epsiodes like in the screenshot from Family guy listing?


errr, well, why not use Sapphire…? that´s what it does.

Hey winmann,

Do you have any tutorials on how to use sapphire. I tried importing all of my data and it just freezes up. It also doesn’t seem to be able to read video_ts

Hi there,
unfortunately not. There are some infos on, but that´s about it. My TV shows import brillantly with the filename syntax “tvshow.S0XE0X.suffix”. My _TS dvds also, when switched to “use directory names” (or so). You can even browse by oscar winnings :slight_smile:
Import TV Shows and Movies seperatly.

Hey Winmann,

Thanks again for the help here. I have actually begun test converting over some of my movies from video_ts to m4v using handbrake (is avi better?) The quality looks pretty good so far. I am only using the appleTV presets in handbrake so far and not really changing anything. I haven’t tried any TV shows yet though cause I wasn’t sure how to rip each individual episode in handbrake.

So let me see if I understand what you have written here fro the naming convention.
Say I wanted to convert “The Office - season 1, episode 1.” I would use the following:
–> theOffice.S01E01.Pilot.m4v <-- as the file name?
–>theOffice.S01.E02.DiversityDay.m4v <— as season 1, episode 2 filename?

And then how would my folder structure need to be on my external HDD?


Hi there.
Using the build in preset for appleTV is a good choice if you don´t want something fancy like playability on both, iPod & atv or so. Stick to .m4v since it´s known to be the most atv friendly but the more important thing is the codec not the container. Guess there are a thousand different opinions on how to setup and finetune handbrake and of course every single one of them is right :slight_smile: but if you are satisfied with the result of the build in preset you shouldn´t make it harder as it is.

Funny enough I just converted the office myself (UK version). Name convention is office.S01E01.m4v Sapphire is able to determine the proper show titles from this. I sorted them

./TV/The Office/S1/
./TV/The Office/S2/
and so on. But it really doesn´t matter, because Sapphire will do all the sorting work for you.

Important: set Sapphire to determine the TVshows from filenames not from directory names.

The latter is useful importing _TS folders like:

./Hollywood/Pulp Fiction

Sorting works fine, but there´s no DVD playback.


hey winmann,

thanks again for the info. I think the aTv preset has been really good thus far cause I don’t care to play movies on my iphone or ipod. I have been coverting 2-3 movies over night from the larger video_ts to m4v files. I have been pleased with the quality and the smaller file sizes.

But I have been unable to get Sapphire to work at all. I am really struggling with it. I can launch .m4v movies if I browse to them directly on the hdd but I can not use the “movies” menu listing or any sorting options such as genre, director, academy awards, etc. I have also tried several times to import all data and the import just freezes up after a couple of minutes and then I can not do anything. I also can not launch any video_ts folders. If I select a video_ts folder on my external HDD the aTV will freeze, the remote will stop responding and then the aTv will just reboot itself. It is really frustrating. I am able to load both video_ts and .m4v in nitoTV and atvfiles directly and my cover images in each folder also show up there.

In your example path: “./TV/The Office/S1/” is this on an external HDD? Do my folders need to be named a certain way?
I currently have my external setup with only two folders being Comic Book movies and Kids movies.
My path would be Comic Book/Sin City/Sin City.m4v


I just read in another threat that there is something happening with imdb. that would explain your problems importing data. I also read that it should be fixed in the next version. _TS Playback is not a feature of Sapphire. You can only sort, look etc.

On import, because you were a little unclear what you tried:
do not press the thing called gather all data (or so, in fact my Sapphire just broke down for good, it seems :slight_smile: so I can´t tell the right menu point) that one gets data directly from the files. Press Import TV Shows and Import Movies. Obviously this thing is down right now. But after you managed to import your data, you will be able to do the cool things like browse directors, oscar winnings etc.

Yes, my examples were taken from ext. HDD. Folder names are irrevelant while using Sapphire with the option “use filenames …”


just reanimated my Sapphire:
don´t use Import All Data from main menu.
it´s under settings: fetch TV show data and fetch movie data

Hey winmann,

Thanks for that info. Well i think I am going to just start using atvFiles for now. I read a tutorial that explained how to add the images and synopsis data manually, so I might just have to do that. The m4v files seem to load with no problems so far. I was also hoping that some of these apps would work much like Front Row and show all the covers on that carouselle style rotation before you click on the folder, (i assume that is what the “image parade” option was for) but that doesn’t seem to work either. It seems that sapphire, nitoTv and many other things just don’t work as advertised yet so until then I am going to have to just keep it simple.

Overall all i am happy that the aTv is unlocked to allow me to play all my movies off an external HDD. Now if I have a nice Front Row type interface and good organization to launch my movies and tv shows then that is all I need.