Weird iPhone glitch… TV shows don’t Sync, but Movies do? - Macenstein

Weird iPhone glitch… TV shows don’t Sync, but Movies do?

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

My iPhone has exhibited an odd behavior and I was hoping some fellow geek out there with an iPhone and Elgato’s Eye TV software can verify it for me. Here’s the deal.

I have about 250 TV shows in my iTunes library which I have recorded using Elegato’s EyeTV software, and exported using their 640×480 H.264 video iPod setting. I made a playlist in iTunes to sync a couple videos to my iPhone, and I dragged in about 5 of these videos. I set my iPhone to sync that playlist under the Video> TV options. The progress bar appears to show it copying each of the 5 videos by name (although the “free space” indicator does NOT change). When I disconnect the iPhone and look at the videos, only 1 is there. (Yes, I have 4 GB free, plenty of room to copy these 1.5 GB of videos).

The weird thing is, if I do a Get Info on them in iTunes, change the “Video Kind” to MOVIE from TV SHOW, and then manually check their tick box in the Movies section of the iPhone sync panel, they appear to copy again (and do this time), and then play fine on the iPhone (however, they show up as Movies on the iPhone, of course).

I have tried this again and again with different EyeTV exports, all with their kind set as TV SHOW. I have had as many as 3 show up after a sync, but more often than not NONE of them do, unless I first set their kind to MOVIE and manually check the box. I noticed that TV shows purchased from iTunes and dropped into that same playlist sync no problem, and show up correctly under TV Shows on the iPhone.

I suppose it could have something to do with the bit rates, as I notice that the iTunes-purchased TV shows are encoded as 44.1 kHz audio and 956.64 kbits/s total bit rate, while my Eye TV exports are 48 kHz audio, and 1427.24 kbits/s. But as I said, some will sync fine, some won’t, but they all play fine on the iPod, and they play fine on the iPhone as well so long as they are labeled as Movies.

Just something weird I noticed. Anyone know why this would be? Thanks.

-The Doc

18 Responses to “Weird iPhone glitch… TV shows don’t Sync, but Movies do?”
  1. The Jenkinator says:

    Sorry Doc, I don’t have Eye TV, but I can verify that purchased TV shows sync up just fine on my iPhone.

    Maybe try to rexport them with Quicktime’s new iPhone export setting? (not an ideal solution I know to have multiple copies…)

  2. Jayge says:

    After having problems synching MP4 H.264 video at 640×480, I am able to sync video that has been run through VisualHub’s iPhone setting. It churns out the video at a slightly lower resolution – 432×320. Perhaps this info helps?

    If you’re not familiar, VisualHub is like “GraphicConverter” for video. Techspansion is very good about keeping it current as well. See:

  3. Jeff Childers says:

    There’s a guy who has a bunch of applescripts for iTunes (sorry, don’t have the link handy — google him). One of the scripts allows you to set internal info for video types: TV Show, etc. One of the options, I noticed, is episode number. Maybe these need to be unique?

  4. DuckByte says:

    I use Handbrake to convert DVD’s to h.264 for viewing on my Video iPod. I set the bit rate to 400 kbps, use 2-pass encoding and reduce and crop the output to 320×240. All of these files play great on the iPod, but offer a challenge when trying to sync with the iPhone. Some will sync just fine and others refuse to sync no matter what I try.

  5. bruce lamensdorf says:

    my iphone won’t sync tv shows i have downloaded free – is this a known issue?

  6. funkus says:

    I have the same issue, got my new phone and bought an episode on itunes to test with and it simply wont sync up, it gave me one warning about permission and now wont sync to the phone even tho it is selcted and available in the textbox

  7. Arbitrage says:


    The problem is that you don’t have a name set for the TV show.

    1. Right click on the video select “Get info”
    2. For “Video Kind” select TV Show
    3. Under “Show” enter the name of the show.
    4. Sync, and enjoy your TV SHOW not MOVIE (iTunes for the lose)

  8. lupo says:

    setting a name for the show def. does not fix the prob.

  9. Jen says:

    Was having the same problem. Finally realized that someone had deauthorized me for that show. There was no warning or indication that that was the problem at all. I only figured it out when I gave up and tried to watch on my computer and it said I wasn’t authorized.

  10. Tee says:

    Jen…thanks for pointing that out. That was my problem, too. Logging back in and authorizing my computer solved the problem! In case anyone else is having the problem, my computer had just been worked on and I’m figuring that may have had something to do with it.

  11. Laura says:

    Help, I downloaded from itunes a tv programme when i sync my ipod it does it as usual and then when it finishes it comes up with error 68 or something and it doesnt go on my ipod. Can anyone help? xxx

  12. Hey Laura,
    I don’t think there is such a thing as error code 68, at least it is listed in the known lists.
    Error 86 is “dsHMenuFindErr”, a Menu Manager Error, but that doesn’t sound like it…

    what does the error actually say?
    -The Doc

  13. Kelly says:

    Our iphone wasn’t automatically syncing purchased tv shows from itunes and then I selected the iphone icon within itunes, clicked on the “video” tab and whalla, nothing was checked… so I then checked the “SYNC” box next to Tv shows and selected “all tv shows” and hit “sync” on lower right, and it started syncing.

    I presume it doesn’t automatically have it set to sync tv shows because they take up so much room.

  14. paul says:

    if you cant play video aka tv shows on your iphone go to itunes then to tv shows then pick any show duoble click on it it will ask to authorize punc in your code you would use to buy stuff in itune store it should authorize all your shows all ready purchased resync and your done

  15. Claudia says:

    Oddly, a movie wouldn’t synch to my iPhone until I changed it’s type to TV show. I usually watch TV episodes from the iPhone and this is the first time I’ve had this problem.

    Changing the type to TV show seems to have worked.

    I bought both the TV shows and the movie in question from iTunes.


  16. Sune says:

    Changing type to TV show isn’t always enough. I had to also edit the Video tab to give it a season number, episode ID etc.
    I just came up with some numbers, but that convinced Itunes

  17. similanjiao says:

    Let me please put u out of your misery. I had the exact same problem.

    Step 1: go to your itunes section under “Device” on the left and click on your phone

    Step 2: go to the tab called “TV Shows”

    Step 3: Click the checkbox beside “Sync TV Shows”

    Step 4: Click “Apply” at the bottom

    did it work?

  18. Jennifer says:

    I had the same problem. My problem was because I have selected ‘Sync only checked songs and videos’ under my iphone device Summary tab. The shows that I was trying to sync were not checked in my itunes library. So, even though I had them checked under the iphone tabs, they wouldn’t sync until I checked them in my library.

    After checking them, they sync’d beautifully. Hope this helps someone.


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