I think I might be missing something but it seems like Quicktime is happy playing my .avi movies but iTunes isn't. So I have to go through the rigmarole of converting .avi to .mp4 with iTunes before viewing in iTunes or on my iPod Touch. This of course means I end up with two versions of the same file (three if I need to view on iPod). Is there some solution to the issue? I'm going to have to buy yet another portable hard drive before the month is out ...

  • 3
    is perian installed on your mac? It only supports QuickTime but not iTunes.
    – user6124
    May 28, 2011 at 11:27
  • Also the the codec support on your iPod is very limited, so it really cannot do anything beside what Apple wants it to (ie. Apple's own stuff - h264 and mpeg4).
    – XQYZ
    May 28, 2011 at 13:35
  • you can download software like Miro or Vuze (they are used mainly for torrenting) however they play wide varieties of file types and can honestly play almost anything they come across. However as far as the Ipod goes XQYZ is right apple doesn't tend to like anything that isn't apple :p
    – luca590
    May 28, 2011 at 17:07
  • Anything that's working in Quicktime player (including the Perian codecs) should be working in iTunes too, as iTunes is just using Quicktime for playback. So not sure what's going on there. For your iPod (or any other iOS device), you're always going to have to convert though, I'm afraid.
    – calum_b
    May 29, 2011 at 11:20
  • Do you mean iTunes itself (on your Mac) doesn't play it, or merely that it has to be converted before you can send it to the iPod? The first would be truly strange, the second is normal. iTunes itself can do the conversion. And, yes, there will be two versions of it (on the Mac) afterward.
    – GEdgar
    May 29, 2011 at 13:29

2 Answers 2


As per this MacRumors forum post:

There are three ways to get .avi files to load into the iTunes library, these are packaging it in a supported format (QT-Pro workaround), adding extra entries to the CFBundleDocumentTypes (may cause problems when updating iTunes) or adding the movie-type meta-data to the file. Adding the movie-type meta-data to the file is the quickest, easiest and safest of all of these options (IMHO).

He then outlines a method to add the movie-type metadata.

in Terminal (requires Dev Tools)

$ SetFile -t "MooV" /path/to/movie.avi

Then run this Applescript:

tell application "Finder"
   set file type of file this_file to "MooV"
end tell

The original post I linked above has a full Applescript droplet or Folder Action that could do this automatically.


So I have to go through the rigmarole of converting .avi to .mp4 with iTunes before viewing in iTunes or on my iPod Touch. This of course means I end up with two versions of the same file (three if I need to view on iPod).

I feel your pain!

Is there some solution to the issue?


check file for AVC encoding and flv, wmv, or mkv wrapper and rewrap in mp4 container otherwise, if not already am mp4, transcode to AVC mp4

z264 has several dependencies (mediainfo, rmtrash, ffmpeg, SublerCLI, and HandBrakeCLI)

  • copy and paste into text file, uncomment binary install section (remove #), save anywhere
  • open Terminal.app

    chmod +x z264
  • run once

  • recomment binary section (replace #) after dependencies install into /usr/local/bin/

  • create ramdisk called 'Two' using command in ramdisk section

    diskutil quiet erasevolume HFS+ 'Two' `hdiutil attach -nomount ram://4194304`
  • double-check command definitions (locations of dependencies), and correct locations (to "/usr/local/bin/")

    change line 231 to read:  mediainfo="/usr/local/bin/mediainfo"
    change line 236 to read:  rmtrash="/usr/local/bin/rmtrash"
    change line 238 to read:  ffmpeg="/usr/local/bin/ffmpeg"
    change line 239 to read:  SublerCLI="/usr/local/bin/SublerCLI"
    change line 262 to read:  mediainfo="/usr/local/bin/mediainfo"
    change line 263 to read:  rmtrash="/usr/local/bin/rmtrash"
    change line 265 to read:  HandBrakeCLI="/usr/local/bin/HandBrakeCLI"
  • save as z264 in /usr/local/bin/

  • use Terminal to call z264 on single file, directory of files, or your entire drive

    z264 directory.full.of.mixed.video.filetypes/*

z264 will examine everything, but will only touch avi, flv, mpg, mpeg, wmv, vob, mkv and mp4 video files, copying video and audio streams and rewrapping if possible, transcoding just the audio if necessary, and transcoding only what video is necessary, and leave you with iTunes friendly, atom optimized mp4 files, leaving the originals in your Trash. It makes reasonably intelligent decisions for you about how to transcode files based on how you set its HandBrake variables (set at lines 312-333).

minor issues: does not yet count how many background processes it spawns, meaning if there are a lot of transcodes, it will take awhile for them to complete, but they will complete. You also need a lot of memory (8GB is ok). Snow Leopard users will need to install purge command from xcode developer tools.

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