Apple TV + Channels + HomePods

HomePod audio output when paired with tvOS is unreliable when watching in Channels.


Channels uses its own custom video player. This allows it to play back codecs and video containers directly that would otherwise have to be transcoded/remuxed to play in the tvOS/iOS system video player, which only supports h.264 and h.265 with very limited container support.

The custom player also allows for many of the features you see in Channels and is not something that will change any time soon.

Many other media players (Plex, Emby, Jellyfin, and VLC) with custom players exhibit the same issues and all struggle to play back on HomePods correctly.

Our Efforts

HomePod output is something that is completely private to tvOS and we have no real interaction code wise.

We have spent many hours across many years making this better and have made some accomplishments. Though with each major update, Apple changes how HomePods work with tvOS, and there is no real documentation on this. It's all just magic and a big secret.

We have found and submitted bug reports for issues blocking better support. Apple has acknowledged them, though they have not implemented any changes to solve them.

Known Variables

Channels + Apple TV without HomePod pairing works totally fine.

Using PIP seems to make it worse, we suggest just not using PIP if you have paired HomePods.

Work Arounds

None at the moment.

Old Topics

Current Status

With the tvOS 17 update, HomePod support has gone from ok, to not very reliable again. Work will have to be done yet again to make changes to work with tvOS 17.


Does this mean that people like myself who are using HomePods with Channels are our of luck, or that a fix will be coming in the future?

Not necessarily "out of luck", but that support is a moving target, and that Apple will not give any assistance. Also, each new tvOS release changes things, meaning the developers have to take a step backwards and find what changed on their own.

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Is there anything that we can do to assist? Should we reach out to Apple to reaffirm these issues?

Those in the know concerning the ins and outs of the tvOS apis, what's the difference in audio output between HomePods and AirPods?

Are they that different that it creates such a discrepancy between channels not working with HomePods but work perfectly fine with AirPods?

I find it odd, but I know nothing about the process.

I think this issue might not be limited strictly to HomePods, it seems to also be happening with other AirPlay speaker destinations, such as the Sonos speaker in my bedroom. I’ll keep experimenting, and will turn off PIP in the meantime, to hopefully make things work better, but in the meantime, I figured I’d mention it in case anybody else could corroborate the same report.

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Yep, those both use the same tech, where AirPods are simply just using bluetooth.

A suggestion to the video player devs on a possible solution to the ongoing paired homepods saga.. There is an outfit called "Rouge Amoeba" that produces a few Mac audio related products:

They seem to have discovered the secret sauce for transmitting audio to a set of paired homepods.
I am doing this right now on a mac running MacOs 10.14 and their AirFoil product.. very stable and functional.

Perhaps you might consider licensing some of their secret sauce code for use in your video player.


Updated to tvos 17.1 but still getting the same issues with channels and a pair of homepods.


Same for me. I don’t expect this to get better until Channels makes changes to their audio drivers…


Does anyone have any tips to make this better at least?

I switch back and forth between default and experimental audio drivers. I can't decide which I like better.
Default seems to output sound more reliably, but if i adjust the volume, or even tap the remote, bringing up the mini guide, the audio and video stutter.
Experimental doesn't stutter, but getting it to work is a pain. When you bring up a channel sometimes it will just work, but most of the time, you have to press the button that skips ahead 30 seconds, and then it will work.

I know it's a known issue, but if anyone has any tips/tricks, that would be great!

Is these issues with just using a Pair of Homepods?
I infrequently switch the ATV audio to my single Homepod Mini, at night, and watch some recordings in Channels, never had any issues.

No, I experience it with a single HomePod mini too when I try to watch live TV from the guide.

Is your home pod connected to 2.4ghz or 5ghz wifi? andy VLANS or any non-standard networking?

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5 GHz. And no VLANs or anything else “non-standard” over here, just a regular flat network. For me, on this specific AppleTV, these issues with HomePod audio output, as explained in the OP, began as soon as I updated to tvOS 17.

Old school homepods, stereo pair

both on 5ghz. My home does have both 2.4g and 5g, but the homepods are in the same room as the router, so they should be on 5ghz.

No VLANs or anything else weird on the network, no guest networks

My apple tv is connected via ethernet, if that makes a difference. Willing to drop the ethernet, if you think it makes a difference.

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It only happens in this app. Everything else works.

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My only AppleTV outputting to a HomePod Mini, the one in the kitchen that is experiencing this issue, is not using Ethernet, it is on WiFi. So I doubt that will make a difference but it’s certainly worth experimentation.

I did see on the plex forum I think, someone indicating that for them to use their HomePods with plex - using the new audio engine (airplay 2) - that their Apple TV had to be connected to wifi instead of Ethernet.

But the plex airplay2 audio driver may be completely different to channels, so may not make a difference.

On the latest beta for both HomePods and Apple TV and the problem remains. :frowning: