Why won't my decorations play on my projector/TV/media player after I downloaded on a Mac?

Decorators using digital downloads on a Mac computer may run into a strange but easy-to-solve technical glitch.

Let’s say you’ve copied your downloads to a USB flash drive or SD card using your Mac computer. Everything looks normal, but once you plug your storage device in, the files in your playlist won’t play! What gives? This can be a frustrating issue, but there is nothing to worry about.

You may notice that the files causing the problem are duplicates of the actual digital downloads, but their file names all have “._” at the beginning and their file size is tiny. In this screenshot example, you can see “._MyValentine_Holl-H.MP4” as well as “MyValentine_Holl-H.MP4”.

These duplicate “._” or “dot underbar” files are created when your video files are extracted the original .Zip file. They are invisible reference files on your Mac, but once you transfer to another device they can show up and disrupt your decoration playlist. 

There are three methods for deleting these files. The files will not reappear, the videos will still work normally on your Mac after the files are deleted, and they will no longer cause a disruption on other devices.

Method 1: Delete the files on a PC

To delete the files from a PC, connect your storage device to the PC and simply select all the files starting with a "._" and move them to the trash. Remember to empty your trash before disconnecting the storage device or the files will remain on the device.

Method 2: Delete the files on a Projector, TV, or Media Player

Your display device may have an option to delete files from your storage device. Many devices may not have a delete option, as a failsafe to protect your files. Refer to your your user's manual and follow the instructions to select and delete the "._" files. 

Method 3: Delete the files natively on your Mac

If you do not have the option to delete on a PC or another device, there are two options to delete these files natively on your Mac. These options are ironically more complicated than deleting on a PC or playback device, so we recommend using method 1 or 2 if possible.

Option 1: 3rd party Software

There are many 3rd party software solutions which clean up unwanted Mac files. You will need to do some research to decide which program may be right for you. AtmosFX can not recommend a single software solution for every user. Here is a short list of programs which can clean up "._" files:

Option 2: Mac Terminal

Proceed with caution! Using your Mac Terminal can have unintended consequences if you do not enter the correct commands. 

  • Launch the Terminal (Applications -> Utilities) and type– dot_clean –and a single space.
  • Drag the flash drive or memory card icon to the terminal window, and the /path/folder will be generated
  • Press ‘Enter’. The hidden ‘._’ files should be merged with their host files, and you can now copy files to the flash drive or memory card.

The Mac website currently does not host any information about removing these files, but you can  click here to learn more in this SLR Lounge article

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