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Summary:

Are you a video junkie who loves nothing more than stuffing iTunes with videos to watch in Front Row, Apple TV, or on your iPod? If you find yourself spending more time than you should fussing with conversion and the such, VideoDrive can get those videos […]

Are you a video junkie who loves nothing more than stuffing iTunes with videos to watch in Front Row, Apple TV, or on your iPod? If you find yourself spending more time than you should fussing with conversion and the such, VideoDrive can get those videos into your iTunes and iPod quickly and with minimal fuss.

As someone who works in the broadcast industry, I like to load my iPod with videos to refer to as references. Oftentimes, I find myself spending hours importing and sorting videos, which come in a myriad formats, just so I can get them onto my iPod.

Designed as a companion application for iTunes, VideoDrive lets you batch convert, import and tag videos to add to your iTunes library in as few steps as possible.

Typically, importing a video into iTunes requires a user to perform these steps:

  1. Drag and drop a video file onto iTunes.
  2. Right-click the video now listed in iTunes and click on ‘Get Info’.
  3. Go about renaming or, more often than not, filling in empty fields such as Title, Year, Artist, Genre, Sorting Kind, etc.
  4. Search on the Internet for cover artwork and then adding that to the video.

Step 1 is possible only if the video is in a format recognized by iTunes. If it isn’t, you will have to either convert the video with QuickTime Player or create a reference file to import into iTunes, a manual process that can quickly take up a lot of time.

VideoDrive strives to eliminate steps 2 to 4 by automatically doing all that for you. You can choose to import videos on an ad-hoc basis, by dragging files into VideoDrive, or as a batch operation; VideoDrive can be set to watch a folder for incoming videos, automatically import them as they are added, or queue them for processing later.

Once the videos are in iTunes, VideoDrive will, with an Internet connection, search for and add the correct metadata and cover art for your videos. It can also do this for existing videos already in your iTunes library. For the control freak, worry not; you can specify exactly what kind of metadata you want VideoDrive to add to your videos. Finally, as a convenience, it can bundle recently-added movies into its own iTunes playlist.

VideoDrive recognizes all major video formats such as mov (QuickTime movie), mpg and mpeg (MPEG-1), m2v (MPEG-2), mp4 and m4v (MPEG-4 or H.264), avi, wmv, wma and asf (Windows Media video and audio), swf and (Flash), mkv (Matroska), and DivX (a variant of MPEG-4). VideoDrive also recognizes videos with SRT or SUB subtitles (commonly found in videos ripped from DVDs), and can toggle subtitles on and off in the videos in your iTunes library.

VideoDrive is currently at version 1.66 and is available from Aroona Software for €14.99 (approximately US$20). As someone who likes to load up videos into my iPod before a flight or long commute, VideoDrive is just the kind of set-and-forget application I need, the conveniences it offers are worth every penny. What’s more, you can use your license of VideoDrive on two computers, allowing you to stuff your iTunes twice as fast.

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  1. How does it handle .avi files?

    I recently got an AppleTV, and I’ve been converting old rips of movies to import into iTunes for access on the ATV. My video files are stored on an external hard drive. I tried saving them as reference movies before, but I could never get metadata to work properly.

    Can this program import non-H264 movies into iTunes without conversion and with proper metadata?

  2. If you do not already have Perian 1.1.2 installed, try that. Perian is a framework for QuickTime that lets it read certain AVIs, DIVXs, FLVs, MKVs, GVIs, VP6s, and VFWs files.

    But do give VideoDrive a try first, as I suspect Perian is already packaged together with VideoDrive.

  3. I have Perian installed. I may not have been clear with what I was asking…

    When I want to import a non-H264 video into iTunes, I had tried saving it as a reference movie, a .mov container that simply pointed to the non-H264 video file. This .mov file could be added to iTunes and the movie would play as expected inside iTunes.

    I couldn’t seem to get metadata working proprely for that technique, though, in particular the “cover art” image. I’m curious if this program provides a way for that to work properly.

    Although, it may be a limitation of the .mov file format, I’m not sure.

  4. WOW!

    Brad that is exactly the same problem I have had recently and I have had no responses to my problem. I hope this new software does do that but either way if you find a way to do it please let met know.

    Does Videodrive handle reference files or does it just convert them to MP4?

  5. Just found this!

    http://videodrive.your-talk.com/videodrive-issues-f3/not-retrieving-artwork-for-movies-no-error-just-no-artwork-t67.htm

    Looks like it does support it. I’d be interested to see where it stores that info.

  6. @ Brad: apparently, VideoDrive supports metadata and cover art for any video format. It appears there was a bug in the latest version causing the cover not to be correctly downloaded. I mailed them about it, and they fixed it the same day!! Don’t know if you still have the issue with the latest version?

    Also, if you install additional codecs on your AppleTV, you should be able to stream any videos to it when you use the option “Force compatibility with Enhanced AppleTV”. I haven’t tried that myself yet.

    What I particularly like about VideoDrive, is hot folders. As soon as I download a new movie in a hot folder, VideoDrive is launched (even when not running in the background!) and it puts the video right in iTunes.

  7. This is a fantastic piece of software. It is amazing that it is the only one I know that does the job, in this age of torrents.

  8. I just wanu import the mkv into ipad through itunes. Ipad can play it using Airvideo or like ones. Any similar thing for windows?

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