An update on DRM support


No updates, and nothing new to report.

Maybe once SiliconDust gets DRM working on Android/Mac/etc we will revisit this issue and see if they want to collaborate on tvOS/iOS support.


A post was split to a new topic: Integrate other streaming services into guide


It will be only a matter of time before the big boys like Xfinity DRM all their channels and make Channels worthless. PLEASE get a solution to the DRM issue out fast.


Comcast has been issuing cablecards for decades now, and have never DRMd non-premium channels. There is absolutely no indication that their policy on this is going to change.

If anything, the larger trend has been to move away from DRM. We already saw this happen with the music industry.

I use xfinity too, so if something changes I will be in the same boat as everyone else. If DRM is important to you, then Channels is not the right product for you. Your best bet is to setup windows media center on windows 7, or simply continue to use your cable company’s equipment.

The fact is the TV industry is undergoing big rapid changes right now. In Q2 of 2017, over a million subscribers cut the cord and stopped paying for cable tv. The FCC’s “unlock the box” successor to cablecards is dead and cable companies are becoming more hostile towards customers. There are even reports that Comcast is refusing to issue cablecards in some regions. Xfinity also plans to launch its own streaming live tv service later this year. It’s impossible to predict what things will be like in a year or two.

So while it’s fully possible Xfinity will DRM everything, it’s also possible that in a matter of time all content will be streamed online via OTT, and traditional cable companies go out of business (making the HDHR PRIME obsolete).


I have wave but could switch to Comcast - you mean if I do, DRM is not an issue?


Comcast DRM can vary between regions. Be sure to check with your local office.

In my region, Comcast DRM’s Starz, Encore, MGM, Flix, Indie, Retro, etc. Pretty much anything that is commercial free during playback (TCM is not DRM).


Thanks. It’s more expensive for me. And OTA is not an option where I live.


I have Spectrum (was TWC) and I’m toast without DRM. Please consider supporting DRM. I’m willing to pay a premium.


If a developer created a DRM decoder plugin add-on for Channels under a separate company name would that waive Channels from having to pay the liability? That way in doing so, if not enough users adopt it and it fails to earn the required revenue it’ll leave Channels untouched after being discontinued?


Just wondering if there has been any updates regarding DRM support?


@tmm1 It’s been 18 months since you’ve made any comment on DRM. I’m just curious if the fact that you’re expanding to more platforms, and hopefully, adding a wider audience and more users; is that fact changing your calculus on DRM support?

Would you consider running a new DRM survey of users, asking who would be interested, how likely they would be to pay at various price points, and whether they would commit to pay upfront in some way, shape or form? I’m curious if the group of DRM interested users 18 months later has grown enough to affect the economics, or not.

I know the landscape is in flux, streaming apps are starting to have competitive offerings for those where OTA isn’t enough, and who knows how cable providers will (slowly) respond/evolve, but your app, especially with DVR, is really a cut-above all other current offerings, whether OTA or cable.


I’m just curious as to why DRM support is important to some people. In my setup the only channels that require DRM are the pay channels such as HBO and Showtime. I have 300+ channels that don’t require DRM support. If I did subscribe to pay channels I would use their native apps to watch as an easy solution. Am I to expect more and more channels marked DRM support in the future?


I think there are a couple things that make people want this.

  1. Some people don’t want to just record a show to watch it then delete, they are amassing large libraries of content. The TV apps don’t let you do this. The only apps that do are those where you purchase them. The best stuff is on those channels first or it’s original content that is good.

  2. Single pane of glass. I want all my tv and movies to be in a single app. Using the TV app excludes Channels, and all my DirectTV Now channels whose apps aren’t integrated.

I think things are really going to shake up with ATSC3, and wouldn’t be suprised if those channels go DRM OTA, and require Internet to watch. The constant fight over DRM is only going to get worse for those wanting to save content.

Me, I watch all OTA content time-shifted in Channels, then I watch Netflix and Prime, then rent movies, then I stoop to the Apple TV TV app with all my DirectTV channels.
I keep nothing and purchase nothing.


Because some people like my parents would love to use Channels but their provider puts DRM on basically every channel.


Just adding another voice to the list of people hoping for DRM support at some point.



I would be interested too…


I have Spectrum and they DRM everything except local channels, so count me in.


In my market, Las Vegas, Cox currently has many channels without DRM thankfully, but seems to randomly add DRM to existing channels whenever they “touch” them, so while I still use Channels, several of my girlfriend’s favorite channels have disappeared like MTV, WGN, Lifetime, as have all of the premium channels which used to work. And in many cases, they leave the SD channel unencrypted, but DRM the HD version. Every few weeks I scan through the Channels app, and one to five or more channels have got DRM on them and I have to hide them. Eventually, I expect I won’t be able to use Channels at all.

When I first discovered Channels, I bought my mother an Apple TV and HDHR Prime, ordered an m-card from her provider, but found that every single channel, except local was DRMed, which was heart breaking.

Since Channels has been mum about it, I’ve been looking at SiliconDust, but they seem to be struggling to get DRM working across the board. And “native” TV streaming apps from each network work, but every app behaves differently, don’t allow fast forward through commercials and are generally vastly inferior to Channels.

I have no idea if all cable companies will go the way of Spectrum and Cox, but if so, Channels, without DRM, is going to be an OTA niche. So, we’re forced to stick with cable company DVRs, which is of course what cable companies want.


Well, DRM wouldn’t exist if there weren’t people willing to pay for it. Personally, I vote with my wallet. The OTA niche is pretty big, somewhere around 25 million households just in the US. And even bigger in other countries.


Channels, it is sad that there is no interest in addressing the DRM problem. get it fixed and you will have many more customers. pretty annoying.