Automatically convert video files for Apple TV with Apple’s Automator

Apple Store“With the arrival of my Apple TV yesterday I needed a solution to get my Xvid/WMV/Divx files converted and imported into iTunes so that I can watch them. I already have Quicktime Pro, which with the recent release added the ability to ‘Export to Apple TV.’ Since I have a lot of files, and no desire to sit around and convert these one at a time, it seemed like a perfect job for automator,” Jason Vallery blogs.

Vallery writes, “I figured someone out there at some point had to have done something similar so I did a bit of google searching and found the required automator actions. Using the actions I found combined with the sample workflow they have already created for you, it is trivial to set-up a workflow that will convert to the Apple TV format and then import the file into your iTunes library. With a slight modification you can set it up a plug-in and attach it to a folder action. Now I have a simple drop folder on my desktop that launches quicktime pro and converts the file to an Apple TV viewable format, imports the file into iTunes, and cleans up after itself.”

The simple step-by-step guide is here.

Related articles:
Xvid fully functional on Apple TV – March 23, 2007
Apple TV hard drive upgrade works – March 23, 2007
Export ‘iPod-ready’ video with free Mac OS X Automator action ‘Export for iPod v1.0’ – October 17, 2005
‘Mac OS X Technology Guide to Automator’ book now available – May 24, 2005 debuts new Dashboard Widgets, Automator Actions, and Spotlight Plugins download sections – April 29, 2005
Automator World provides clearinghouse Workflows and Actions for Mac OS X Tiger’s Automator – April 28, 2005
Dashboard, QuickTime 7, Automator are Mac users’ most anticipated Tiger features – April 08, 2005
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger’s ‘Automator’ feature alone could be worth upgrade price – July 08, 2004


  1. So, your HD now has 2 different versions of video files…. way to hog up the space. Maybe the previous could be deleted if no use, but maybe there is a use for the original format.

    Anyways, Apple should have drag and drop. You drag a video file on to the iTunes jukebox area, and a dialogue box says would you like to convert this file for iTunes. You click yes, and bam – it’s done.

    Granted, I know nothing about programming, but in an ideal world…. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”wink” style=”border:0;” />

  2. @ OBill-Wan,

    Handbrake is fine – make sure you use “two-pass” encoding for best results, and it’s free. No need even to rip the DVD to hard drive first – just insert DVD, set up handbrake – and wait a while. Try it once on a dark movie (Dark City?) and see if you like the results before buying a commercial solution

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.