This is a Mac only process and works on Leopard 10.6.4 and with iTunes 9.2. It should be reasonably future proof. Unfortunately, I don't know how to script anything on Windows and I have cobbled together what I have found in other places to get this working. I am not an Applescript expert by any means, so improvements are welcome, although it would be good to keep the original script for reference. Your thanks / comments are gratefully received. atv_simplicity at mac dot com.
What we're going to do
Mac OS X has a standard feature called "Folder Action Scripts". The system will run an Applescript we'll create each time a file is added to the folder. This script will convert the video file to an iTunes friendly, Apple TV format. It will add it to iTunes and do some basic processing of it, too. Although this process uses Applescript, I will explain each part step-by-step, as this is meant to be a beginner's guide.
What we can't do: process HD videos and have them come out as HD videos. This is a limitation of Handbrake. HD videos some out as a middle ground - higher quality than SD, but not full HD.
A few little bits to do in advance. If you can't do any of these steps without further instruction, then this guide is a little too advanced for you. :-)
Create a folder called "Automatic" in your home directory.
Create a playlist called "AutoAdded" in iTunes.
You can change the names and locations of any of the files / playlists above, but if you do, you need to suitably amend the steps / scripts outlined below.
First and foremost, hardcore Applescript users will simple fall over and die with horror at the mess that it the following script. I am self-taught and cobbled bits from all over the internet. I'm sorry about this. But, I can only say that this works for me and if anyone want to add spit and polish, they should go right ahead!
Open Applescript Editor (Applications --> Utilities). A blank script is in front of you. Add the following code. You can just copy and paste in.
That's pretty much it. Any video files will be converted and added to the iTunes playlist "AutoAdded" (so you'll always be able to see what's been added by this script).
Tidying Up, Extra Touches
This is obviously a lengthy process for the computer to run and sometimes things go wrong. You might end up with a file in your "AutoAdded" folder that hasn't been processed.
End (for now)