7 Replies Latest reply: Aug 19, 2008 6:48 PM by Winston Churchill
Feek Level 1 (0 points)
I bought an AppleTV last week, sort of spur of the moment but it's something I'd been thinking about for a while and the opportunity arose so I just went for it.

I'm not syncing a huge amount of content to it just yet but am using it to connect to my iTunes library so I'm working like mad with VisualHub to convert stuff to a suitable format and that's going well.

What's annoying me slightly is the cover art though. I've been saving images with a transparent background in .png format and applying them to the TV Shows and movies that I've got in my iTunes.

When I scroll through the items on the AppleTV, sometimes the transparency works but other times it changes and the transparent parts appear as bright white which is a bit offputting and annoying considering the time I spent sorting the images out.

The other question is regarding time - How long should it take from me adding stuff in iTunes to the AppleTV picking it up? I've turned the box off and back on again but it still seems to take a while before it notices any changes. I know I've got nothing set to sync out to the AppleTV but will just hitting sync and forcing the two to talk do the job?

Mac OS X (10.5.4)
  • Alley_Cat Level 6 (19,015 points)
    I wouldn't have assumed that transparencies would even work personally, but given your efforts it's a shame it's a bit hit and miss.

    Unfortunately there is virtually no official documentation (as far as I know) for tagging files destined for AppleTV. I think they assume you buy everything from iTunes Store which I certainly do not. I would recommend you tag files with images etc before importing to iTunes as unfortunately most information you enter in iTunes does not seem to get incorporated into the original file, so if you use the file somewhere else, the tags may be gone. If using a Mac give the free MetaX tagger a try.

    AppleTV used to be far better at picking up newly added content, but since software 2.0 it often requires a sync forced from the computer (even if streaming) or a restart of iTunes or the AppleTV. The sync from the computer is my favoured option as I don't particularly like restarting AppleTV.

  • Winston Churchill Level 10 (93,135 points)
    Welcome to the  Discussion Forums.

    Yes the transparency thing is annoying, here's what I do:

    I still remove any background I don't want and crop to remove the unwanted border areas but place a black layer beneath it so when the layers are merged although the areas aren't transparent they are black just like the tv interface and so appear as good as transparent.

    The sync button does a little more than you might think. Even when you are only streaming content a small library file is synced to the tv which contains all the info about the content of itunes. When you make changes to any of your content in itunes it will not be reflected in the streamed content when you look on the tv until the library file on the tv is updated, which is done when it is resynced, which is achieved by hitting the sync button (sometimes it will say 'apply').

    Finally adding art can occasionally not seem to work as expected and it doesn't appear to show up even when you press the sync button. I'm not saying this will happen, but if it does try reading This article
  • Feek Level 1 (0 points)
    Ahh, that's great - I'd worked out that by going with a black background that I could fool it to make it look as though it was transparent but hadn't been able to persuade the images to update on the AppleTV itself.

    The repopulating trick worked.

    Thanks for you help, people.
  • Winston Churchill Level 10 (93,135 points)
    Another tiny annoyance you might like to avoid, not sure if it will affect you but it might be worth mentioning. Try to avoid rounded corners and black areas in place of transparency around the perimeter of your artwork, by which I can demonstrate better by example.

    I make my own sort of DVD cover artwork for my home movies, so it looks a little like a real movie production when the artwork displays on the tv (yep, call me sad, you're likely right). I have slightly short of a thousand home movies (not converted them all yet for the tv, but that's another matter) and to save some time when creating the artwork I made a template (I actually do my artwork in pages, believe it or not).

    The template had slightly rounded corners to the imaginary DVD box, and as you know the artwork is rectangular, so my initial intention was to make the tiny area outside the rounded corner but within the rectangular image perimeter transparent, but as we now know this turns out white, so I settled on the black background.

    All seemed well until I noticed the corners on coverflow in itunes itself, they are only tiny but can stand out like a sore thumb when the artwork overlaps other artwork of a light colour.

    By the time I discovered this I had already made a lot of covers, I'm pedantic about such things, although I make each cover very different from the rest they are all of the same basic layout (sort of like the differences and similarities in a DVD collection such as the 007 movies) and changing the basic layout at this stage was not an option for me, so now I have to live with the tiny black corners, although admittedly I rarely use coverflow in itunes.
  • Feek Level 1 (0 points)
    Aye, I'd spotted that already but like you, I don't use coverflow in iTunes for movies really anyway so it's not a problem.

    Shame the transparency isn't handled properly
  • Brett Grossmann Level 2 (415 points)
    Oh what a bunch of babies. All you have to do is crop your images. Big deal. I guarantee my library dwarfs yours...and I have cropped every DVD image for my use. PIctureviewer is a simple app with the mac that has crop tools. Just save after cropping. I like that app so I don't have to open photoshop.
    Otherwise grab all your DVD art from a google image search. Amazon DVD art always needs cropping. A good place for you to use is wikipedia, for covers....
  • Winston Churchill Level 10 (93,135 points)

    Sometimes people want something just a little removed from the norm to make their experience more personalised. You obviously have no idea about what we are trying to achieve, if you are happy with the the 99 % of people do it this way approach, all well and good, but please don't be so rude as to ridicule the attempts of a few that are prepared to make a little extra effort to achieve something different.

    Big deal. I guarantee my library dwarfs yours

    and your point is.....