In the comments to my blog post on adding custom genre artwork to iTunes 8, a reader asks if there is a way to add a "New" tab to the grid view for Movies. I am not aware of a hidden iTunes preference to enable such a tab, but its functionality -- list all movies I haven't watched yet -- can be achieved in other ways.
For all movies, TV shows, and podcasts, iTunes indicates "new" tracks by displaying a blue sphere next to the track's title. In this case, "new" is defined as "has not been played yet", or, to be more precise, "its Play Count is zero".
iTunes maintains the Play Count property for every track in its library, and the dedicated "Mark as New" and "Mark as Not New" items in the context menu simply set the selected tracks' Play Count to 0 or 1, respectively.
(Yes, it is weird that, for freshly added files, the context menu usually contains both of these items, as seen in the screenshot on the right. Once you apply either on a file, though, only one remains.)
If you have an extensive iTunes library, the "new" status is a handy way to track which movies and TV shows you have viewed and which podcasts you have listened to, and you can also restrict synchronizing your iPod, iPhone, or AppleTV to only those tracks that are "new".
It is odd indeed, then, that the developers have decided to not include that New tab for the Movies category, so let's find a fix for that.
The quick-n-dirty fix: turn movies into TV shows
In iTunes, you can freely assigned one of three types to movie files: Movie, TV Show, and Music Video. By changing their type from Movie to TV Show, you can make the files show up under the TV Show category, so you could utilize that category's New tab.
Just select all the files in iTunes's Movies category, choose Get Info from the File menu, click the Option tab, and set the Media Kind menu to "TV Show".
If you're as persnickety about a well-maintained and properly sorted media library as I am, though, mixing movies and TV shows just doesn't really feel right. Also, you would have to repeat this process for every new movie added to your iTunes library, which makes it tedious.
Thankfully, there is a much more elegant and convenient solution: a smart playlist.
An elegant solution: define an iTunes Smart Playlist
To create a smart playlist in iTunes that lists all unwatched movies, choose New Smart Playlist from the File menu. (For a handy short cut, click the left-most button below the Library sidebar while holding down the Option key, which makes the button's icon change from a "+" sign to a little gear and its functionality from "add playlist" to "add smart playlist".)
In the Smart Playlist window, click the plus button twice and configure the rules so they match what you see in the screenshot below. Finally, click OK, give the playlist a name, and you're all set.
Here's how that smart playlist works.
Select all movies from the iTunes library
The criterion used most often for selecting certain types of media in a smart playlist is Kind. However, for our purposes, there is a much more convenient one: Video Kind. Unlike Kind, which uses a text entry field for specifying the media types for selection, Video Kind offers a menu with the three movie types listed earlier: Movie, TV Show, and Music Video, so you don't have to research what precise file types your movies are stored in.
What's more, using the Video Kind criterion changes the tabs in the smart playlist's grid view from the "Albums/Artists/Genres/Composers" combo to "Movies/Genres". Neat!
One minor caveat about the Video Kind criterion is that the Movie type also includes video podcasts. Via the rule "Podcast - is false", these are excluded from the playlist.
Only show movies that have not been watched yet
"Play Count - is - 0" filters the playlist to show only "new" movies.
As explained earlier, the "Mark as New" / "Mark as Not New" items in the context menu simply change a track's Play Count, so they work just fine for moving movies into and out of this smart playlist.
By the way, while the "new" status for Podcasts is updated as soon as you start playing a podcast, the Play Count is only incremented when the play-head in iTunes's timeline reaches the end of a track, i.e., when you have actually played it til the very end. Therefore, movies will remain in the smart playlist until you have watched them completely.
Finally, iTunes stores view settings individually for every playlist, so you can set your smart playlist with the "new" movies to grid view without affecting the library's or any other playlist's view settings, which makes this solution look and feel pretty close to a real New tab in the Movies section.