I use Handbrake to rip DVDs into the Apple TV version 2 format. For a DVD this is generally a pretty straight forward process. For TV Shows this is a manual process and is quite a pain.
To further complicate things, I’m a fanatic about making sure my files are tagged properly so they show up in the correct categories in iTunes. If you go through this step then finding them in an Apple TV works really well. The problem is that you need to use another set of tools to tag your files. This is yet another manual step and is quite a pain.
I spent some time scouring the Internet for a solution. I knew someone had to have cracked this problem. I found it and it really rocks. There is a tutorial on this over at Mac Rumors. In a nutshell, the solutions is to use Automator to script the process of ripping DVDs, encoding them to the appropriate format and then tagging them. Here is the basic process.
I’ve used these Automator workflows to begin ripping my collection and it works really well. I load the DVDs into my system during the day and then I run the encoders at night when I’m not using my Mac. The next morning I have fresh MP4 files ready to go to my media server.
I still have a few more steps to go. I need to write an Automator workflow to copy the files to my Media Server and then automate adding them to iTunes. I’m inspired by the scripts that the author wrote. It really shows how you how you can use Automator to build applications to solve complicated problems.
Note for OS X 10.5 Leopard Users
The author of these scripts built them for 10.6. If you are still using 10.5 you will need to make some changes. Most notably, you will need to move the automator workflows.
The workflows are in ~/Library/Services. They need to move to ~/Library/Workflows/Applications/Finder. Once you do this then you can click on a file or folder in the Finder and have the Batch Rip actions show up in the Automator window.