If you have any decently sized collection of TV shows in your iTunes library, you can either appreciate how nice it is to have all of your shows sorted by title or episode name, with full season album artwork, or you wish that you had some way of bringing order to your chaos of “Unknown” shows. If you purchase all of your media through iTunes already, then your shows are downloaded with all of the metadata already attached. However, if you acquire your files through less direct means – say, by transferring recordings from your PVR, for example – then the only piece of information you may have about its contents is the filename that you gave it. You could very easily go through your list of shows in iTunes, and manually tag them with all of the missing details that are important to you. Or, you could make use of my new favourite tactic to do it all for your automatically.
The app that I use to perform this automagical service is called iDentify, and it has truly changed how I manage my iTunes TV show library. I actually use it alongside this trick that I posted about previously to automatically add files to iTunes. If you haven’t read about this one, then you definitely should – it’s my most popular post!
The iDentify app itself is very simple and unimposing. When you launch it, you are presented with a basic Finder-esque window, with a handful of buttons along the top to guide you through the process. To get started, you can click on the “Add File(s)” button, though I find it much simpler to just drag and drop right from inside iTunes over to the iDentify window. The app will immediately begin to scan through a few online TV show databases (including TVDB and tagChimp), trying to match an episode to what you have provided to it. After a few seconds, you will either get some green checkmarks in the appropriate column next to your TV show, or they will be greyed out to represent an unsuccessful match to the databases. I’ve been quite successful in getting good matches, though where I haven’t, I can click on the “Edit Tags” button at the top to manually provide a few more details about the show. Once I’ve added a few more, I click the “Rescan Item(s)” button at the top, it queries the databases once again, and it almost always comes back with green checkmarks and the full details about that particular episode. Then, to make the edits stick, you just click the “Save Files” button, and all of the new metadata and artwork is added to the file. If you started the process by the “drag and drop from iTunes” method, then the updates automatically go back into iTunes, and your shows immediately get sorted. You will instantly see the result, because the standard frame grab that is used as album art will be replaced with the beautiful album art from the online database.
This app really simplifies the whole TV show tagging process for your iTunes library. With just a few clicks, you can completely fill in a file’s info sheet with full episode name, description, air date, and more.
For those who are a bit more adventurous, you can actually incorporate iDentify into a Mac Automator workflow, to automate this even further! I have a workflow that will add files from a specific directory to iDentify, and proceed with a batch tagging operation. Alternately, you could also create a Folder Action so that a specific folder is monitored for any new additions, at which time it will send the files automatically to iDentify where it will wait for processing. Learning how to make Automator workflows is an awesome side effect of learning how to use iDentify!
I highly recommend that you download this app, and give it a try to help you manage your iTunes TV show library. You can download both a free, limited version and a full unlocked version from the developer’s website, or simply download the unlocked version from the Mac App Store. I’ve had success with the free version, though $10 is a very fair asking price for the usefulness of this fantastic app. Get your iTunes library in order, and give iDentify a try!