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For a while now, iTunes has supported the concept of "HD+SD" files. Instead of having two separate files, one for the SD version and another for the HD version of a movie or TV show, iTunes can "bundle" both versions under one single file entry, which is labeled as "HD+SD", and iTunes automatically chooses the "right" version of the file to use for a given situation (e.g. use the HD version when streaming to my Apple TV, and use the SD version when syncing to my 16 GB iPad mini because I have "Prefer standard definition videos" checked in the sync settings). Here is a video describing this feature and how to use it.

I am using HandBrake to do the encodes, using the "Devices -> Universal" preset for the SD encode, and the "Devices -> Apple TV 3" preset for the SD encode, and am using IDentify 2 to do the metadata taqging. The problem comes when I attempt to add these files into iTunes.

In previous versions of iTunes this process was pretty straightforward: assuming that the HD+SD encodes are properly tagged with the same cnID (which mine definitely are, I checked), just select both the SD and HD encode in Finder, and drag+drop them onto iTunes, and it will automatically create an HD+SD entry for that movie/TV show/whatever.

Unfortunately I can't seem to get this to work in iTunes 11. If I drag both the HD and SD encodes onto iTunes, it results in only one of them getting copied. (seems to be random, sometimes it's the SD version and sometimes it's the HD version) If I then try and drag the other file in, it does not copy the file in nor does it create the HD+SD file entry.

iTunes 11 definitely still supports HD+SD files, as the ones that I added in previous versions of iTunes still work fine. I just can't seem to figure out how to add these HD+SD files in iTunes 11, because the way I've been doing it up till now no longer appears to work.

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OK, after many many hours of experimentation, I've come up with a trick that (so far) seems to work. Not sure if this is the best way of doing it, but here it is.

  1. Go to the "Music" section in iTunes (I know, this sounds counter-intuitive, but trust me), and create a new playlist. I call mine "New Movies Test Bed." Set the View to List View (this makes it easier to work with, again just trust me).
  2. Drag the SD version of your encoded media into the playlist you just created. It should add the file and copy it to your iTunes media library like normal; however it won't show up as an HD+SD entry, since you obviously only copied in the SD version.
  3. Now select the HD version of your file, and while holding down Alt (Option) drag it into the same iTunes playlist where you dragged the first file. It should magically turn into an HD+SD entry; however it has not yet copied the second (HD) version of the file into your iTunes library (you can verify this by right-clicking and choosing 'Show in Finder"; you should only see the SD version of the file in the window that appears.)
  4. In iTunes, right click on the file you dragged in, choose "Consolidate Files" then click the "Consolidate" button in the dialog that appears. You should see iTunes start copying the HD version of the file into your iTunes library.
  5. Verify that both HD+SD versions are in your iTunes library by once again right-clicking and choosing "Show in Finder." You should see two files, one of which should be named "Movie Name (1080p HD)" (or presumably "Movie Name (720p HD)" if you did a 720p encode).
  6. Finally, go to the Movies section (or TV Shows section if you're importing a TV show). You should see one, and only one, entry for the file you just imported.
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Thanks the the info. It has been a while since I combined these files and I was struggling with how to do this. Not quite sure how you would figure this one out. –  mooeymoose Apr 15 at 3:19

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