I have iTunes (10.6.1) running on a mac mini with home sharing enabled. It also syncs to 3 1st gen Apple TVs. On my Apple TVs, the shows are sorted properly by series name, with the episodes listed when I select a series. However on my iPad (1st Gen, running IOS 5.1), when looking at my shared Library, I see an image for each episode, which when I click it, shows a list of the episodes for that season of the series. I can select and watch an episode from there.

The problem is, I have way too many episodes to make this efficient, even to get to the Ds takes a lot of scrolling, and my list is cut off at the Ds.

I have seen other questions that sort of address this issue, but not quite directly, and none of the answers solve my problem, although they do point me at the meta data for the shows. I have removed artwork from each episode of several series and added the same image to each episode of a series and I still get multiple images for a given season of a series.

Any suggestions so I can group each series season under one (and only one) image when viewing the shared library on my iPad?

edit 4/9 07:40 I checked on a 2nd Gen Apple TV, accessing the the same home sharing library, all TV shows were grouped appropriately. Most of my TV shows are ripped from DVDs. The ones purchased from iTunes do group correctly, There are a couple of ripped shows that seem to be grouped properly, but I have not yet figured out what is different about them.


It's all about the metadata ‚ the track information stored in each media file.

A while back I had this problem with TV Shows ripped from DVD not displaying correctly, or not in the proper sort order, on my iPad. When I compared the metadata for my home-brewed files with those from files of episodes purchased from the the iTunes store, I discovered some differences. The solution that worked for me was to correct the metadata using the info pane for the media files in iTunes.

To get started, open iTunes, select one of the TV episode files that's giving you problems, and press + i (or choose Get Info from the file menu).

Start with the Info tab. Ideally your metadata will look something like this, with obvious differences (unless your file happens to be the same episode of The Big Bang Theory):

Info pane of iTunes Get Info

Note that the track number corresponds to the episode number

Not all devices use the Info metadata for sorting though, your next stop is the Video tab: Video pane of iTunes Get Info

Episode ID could also be expressed as S2E8 but I prefer the cleaner, numerical method.

Next, visit the Options tab to confirm that the Media Type is set to TV Show:

Options pane of iTunes Get Info.

To assure consistency, you can select multiple files and edit common fields, such as Album (in the Info tab) or Show (in the Video tab) all at once.

Finally, it's sometimes useful to make change the criteria that iTunes uses to sort your media. You have guessed by now that the Sorting tab is the key to this operation:

Sorting pane of iTunes Get Info

In the example above, alphabetical sorts by episode will place this episode with the L episodes, not in the T's. This is useful for Movies, shows or bands beginning with The.

The laborious process of manually entering metadata for TV Episodes is the main reason for my using iVI to import DVDs.

  • Thanks for the awesome reply - I believe I checked all the pertinent fields and even did some bulk editing to make sure they were the same. It could be my iPad is caching some stuff, but as yet this has not eliminated the problem.
    – Scott
    Apr 9 '12 at 17:50
  • If you have the time, once you've confirmed that you're happy with the metadata in iTunes, you might try removing the episodes from one of the "bad" shows from your device, then adding it again. (Two separate syncs). I don't recall having to take this step (OTOH, it was a while ago) but you may be on to something with the cached info theory.
    – jaberg
    Apr 9 '12 at 19:49
  • I added an answer - The important difference being multi edit. Too much there for a comment and I think it really helps the process.
    – Scott
    Apr 10 '12 at 21:36

After a lot of experimenting, I finally found a repeatable procedure that causes the shared library to group correctly on an iPad. Please note, there may be unnecessary steps in this procedure, but it does work. Note also, that this procedure works for iTunes 10.6.1 (7) runiing on Mac OS X Lion (10.7.3) and iPad Videos App in ios 5.1 (9B176) running on a first gen iPad.

All steps are done in iTunes on the Mac [Credit to Will of Apple Support who walked me through this procedure]

  1. Select all the episodes for a given season of a given show.
  2. Right click or Control Click and choose Get Info. You are now editing metadata for all the selected shows. There are four tabs: Info, Video, Sorting, and Options.
  3. Fill out the each tab as illustrated, substituting the correct series name and season number as appropriate. Note the checks next to most boxes, even blank ones and those that are pre-populated, these ensure the identical data gets written to each episode. Info Tab Note - I populated the artwork by copying an image to the clipboard and pasting in the box. I recommend using an image with the series name clearly visible as the image with Season X underneath it are the only thing displayed when browsing the shared library from an iPad (Series Name is not displayed). Video Tab Sorting Tab Options Tab
  4. Click OK

The key problem I found was entering different info in the Artist or Album Artist info. I had put the director's name of the episodes in there. While everything else was set up right (Album was the show name, episode ID, # and track # were all correct), I was still getting weird breaks on my iOS device. I removed the director's names and just entered them in Comments. I left Artist and Album Artist blank. Now I have one list for the show instead of three (from the three different directors). Kinda sucks to have to use comments, but it seems to work.

Hope this helps others for such a frustrating problem.


After reading these posts and playing trial and error and error I found the solution. It's so simple: fill only one sorting field (I choose the Sort Name (Menu Sorting) and give every movie a unique number (for example starting with 100, 101, etc). And that numbers are the sorting order at the iPad :-)


In order to sort my episodes in order, I had to change the "sort name" in every single episode to the corresponding season and episode, ie: 101, 102, 201...


All you have to do is in iTunes; select entire TV show (multi-highlight), bring up 'Info' menu on files. Then at the bottom it should say 'Add Field' then add 'Director' field and fill it in with anything. It could be the actual director or whatever you want. Once this has been done, your shows will sort properly in the video app once you reset the app and rejoin your home network.

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