Announcing Channels DVR

6 months ago we started working on Channels. It started as a weekend project to see if we could use the Apple TV to play back a live TV stream. It worked.

It turned into an experiment to see if Channels could actually be our dedicated live TV experience. Could we replace our cable boxes with an Apple TV? Could we do our live TV watching on the same box that is home to all of our other streaming apps? Could we finally fulfill the dream of living on a single input?

The experiment was successful for us, and many of you. Channels has allowed us to simplify all of our TV watching to a single input and streaming box, the Apple TV.

But that’s not the end of the story. DVR is the next piece of the puzzle. So we’ve decided to build the DVR we’ve always wanted and Channels deserves.

Channels DVR

We don’t want to talk a lot about Channels DVR just yet, but there’s some things we want to assure you of.

  1. Channels DVR will be designed from the bottom up to be used with Channels on the Apple TV. If you’re a Channels DVR user, DVR capability will just show up in Channels. It will fit right in.
  2. Channels DVR is a whole home DVR. The means you can start watching in one room and finish watching in another.
  3. At initial launch, you should expect it to do everything a cable box DVR can do, but better. We’ve had millions of ideas over the last 15 years on what would make DVRs better and we plan to make that happen over time.
  4. Channels DVR will not be free. It takes a lot of work to do this and licensed guide data costs money. We want Channels DVR to be the best DVR you can have in your home.
  5. Channels DVR will be US only initially.
  6. Yes, there will be a beta.

Over time, we’ll make more announcements about the status of Channels DVR and what it will be able to do.

We’re super excited about Channels DVR and think you’re going to love it. Feel free too discuss more about the future of DVR in the Channels DVR category.


Fantastic! Not surprised SiliconDust took their sweet time and failed to deliver on features that are basic needs for a DVR. With what you’ve built in Channels thus far, I’m confident your DVR will work better, built from the ground up. I look forward to beta testing.


Since, as you mentioned, licensed guide data costs money (not to mention food), are you guys looking at a price entry into beta (with say a free first year or two) or something similar? I’m not against it (and would be for it actually), but just wondering.

Im Not Against a fee just as long as it works, still feel burned that i paid for SD DVR and not ever going to use it now

Sounds like a great idea. Will DVR use a NAS?

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I hope it uses a My Cloud NAS, 2TB and upwards. It’s would be great if you could make an accompanying iOS app so we could schedule or even watch recording on our mobiles whilst out of the house.

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One of my gripes with the Channels/HDHomeRun DVR Beta was the inability to see what recordings you have scheduled, you could only see what had been already recorded. It made planning viewing somewhat annoying as you could plan to watch something, not realise you have two recordings set up at the same time for others channels. I would then sit down to watch something and find I couldn’t because recordings (set up by my partner) were happening. Any plans to build a section to see planned upcoming recordings?

Also is there any plans to build a day planner, so the Channels app automatically changes channel when a certain TV show starts at a particular time. Maybe call it “Your Channel” and be able to set up/schedual a pre planned day of shows. So then you can just chill and not have to worry about having to find the remote at 6pm, then 7pm and then again at 8pm when a shows start on different channels.

While your new DVR is being developed, will you allow us to continue to use the Silicon Dust based DVR in the Channels Beta? On my system, It has 48 days before the current Beta expires.

@photosmike We’ll try to keep the old beta out there as long as possible, but as we move forward there will be new betas shipped out to help us progress towards our goals. We’ve ripped all the code out of Channels that was used for HDHR DVR, so once new betas go out, HDHR DVR support will be gone.

To Echo Mike’s request. Any chance you can extend the expiration date on the existing Beta until the new backend is available?

@OutFamilySpot Again, we’ll do our best. But the current beta’s lifespan is only as long as our development process. Like I mentioned, that code is long gone. HDHR DVR support only exists in the old beta that is up on Apple’s servers that was downloaded by our awesome beta testers weeks ago.

As Channels exists right now in development, there is no HDHR DVR support. If we were to ship a new beta for something today, it would be gone. HDHR DVR was only in beta and was never an official feature so it won’t be supported since we’ve decided to go in another direction.

That being said, there shouldn’t be a new beta released for Channels for a little while and we won’t do anything like disable the current beta. So those using HDHR DVR in Channels right now should have a little bit of time left.

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Will those in the HDHR DVR Channels Beta receive priority for the new beta program?

Happy to help and happy to join this new community!

Existing beta users will definitely receive priority in the new Channels DVR beta.

This is great news. I’m disappointed that I wasn’t able to help out with the Beta testing. I didn’t even know about it which is probably my fault. Looking forward to what you all do in the near future! I love Channels.

This sounds great. I haven’t invested in Channels/HDHomeRun yet, due to lack of DVR, but would pick up the app + hardware to be in the beta.

The Beta was great. The only problem, the data from HDHomeRun when trying to set a recording. Also no grid guide. Apart from that, it was great.

So to be clear for all of us on the current DVR Beta, are Channels saying you’ll try to keep the current Beta going until the next update, and that next update should be a 100% Channels DVR Beta? Or will the next Beta most likely feature no DVR facilities at all?

@hippykiller2 It could be either/or.

The beta app is our general application for doing beta testing for Channels on the Apple TV. The last time we had a long running beta, it was for HDHR DVR. It wasn’t SPECIFICALLY for HDHR DVR.

So whenever big new features are developed for the app, a beta will go out. Since the HDHR DVR support has been removed, the next beta that is released will be without HDHR DVR support.

Curious to see how this will turn out. Will this be a cloud based dvr service or will it use local drive space? Also, would like to try the beta version and offer feedback.