Apple TV Channels PiP Usage

I am trying again to use PiP on my Apple TVs with Channels now that I was able to use the Channelmaster remote to program the TV button into my One for All Streamer remote.

I set it to automatic for all and disabled hiding the button in settings.

If I go into the Guide and pick a show, then hit the Menu/Back button, I go back to Guide with PiP in the lower right corner playing the current show. I can then navigate around within Guide (or outside of it) and pick a different show. What I expect to happen when I pick the second show is to go to the second show full screen. What happens is that it switches the PiP window to the second show. I seem to never be able to get back to full screen except by hitting the TV button the remote and selecting full screen.

Is there a setting I can change to get the behavior I would like?

I believe if you click Watch a second time it will full screen.

Hmm, but I'm not hitting watch. I'm just hitting the center button... is that what you mean hitting a second time?

Yea select it again.

yeah, I've just gotten into the habit of "double-clicking" in this context.

How do you handle it easily if there is a recording for the episode you are going to watch. The pop up for live or recording, if you pick live, throws you back into the Guide, which then brings up that menu again. You eventually get to the show, but its a lot of clicks. Is there a smoother way to do that.

Also, I did notice what I think is a bug. If you have the show in PiP and are on the Guide page and you hit "Live" to go back to the last show, it seems to throw a "no tuner available" message. Repeated his of "Live" keep getting that error as you would normally cycle between the two last shows. The only way out of it seems to be to end PiP and go back to Guide and start over... then its fine.

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I have found it impossible to train the wife to do this.
I assigned pip shortcut to my red button - that helped.

What I really need is more smarts in the pip sizing - so for example if i click back to get to guide, Fullscreen goes to pip (great!) then i select a new currently airing show or maybe a recording once it starts playing the pip window should maximize.

another one is once i activate the pip by say pressing back (i think thats menu or home buton) it seems to stop some (but not all) of other harmony remote buttons functioning - even if the pip window is maximized - the big one being the stop button no longer works with pip active or when full screen is made active.

And then there is the pip audio issue.

tl'dr pip needs a lot of work - and then life will be perfect (because my wife needs the flows to be natural and obvious - she doesn't remember this stuff - for context she never had issues with media center or TiVo, she does with channels DVR)


We are giving up on PIP. It is causing way to much stress to be worth it.


I agree. I like the idea of PIP but it’s not intuitive and more confusing than it is useful for the average user.

I agree, Windows Media Center still sets the bar for DVR/Live TV. Nothing has come close to how user friendly and problem free it was.

I've found that once the Siri remote's "Home" button (or whatever is the equivalent is on your remote) is demonstrated in this context, PIP control makes a lot more sense. No stress, it puts the user back in control of that little window.

And for what it's worth, this user interface is dictated by Apple, not Channels. It's the same in every tvOS app that supports PIP.

I have attempted to use it a few times and every time I do, I conclude that there is no way that the family would not get frustrated, so turn it back off.

We record nearly everything we watch, and when navigating from the Guide when there is an existing recording of a show, it just doesn't work well. The double click to get full screen doesn't work when you are faced with some of the dialogs in that scenario. With just live TV from Guide with no recordings existing, it seems to work pretty well. But that is not how you use a DVR.

Hmm, thankfully I haven’t experienced any PIP problems with recordings. Another option that’s available though, is setting up Automatic PIP to only work with Live TV, as opposed to “Recordings” or “Everything”

How do you get to full screen when you navigate to something from the Guide, that is already recorded, and you get the interim prompt for live or DVR, and then continue or restart? That is where I get hung up and can't get to full screen. You can't double click in there an get past one of them, don't remember which one.

I don't recall as that doesn't happen often here, I'll have to check next time I see that prompt. But I did assign the "Toggle Picture in Picture" command to the blue button under Remote Shortcuts and that has gotten me out of any awkward PIP situation to date. I also added it to the "E" button on my Harmony Companion and 650.

I also have the new AppleTV Siri remote now, and with its redesigned ergonomics, and dedicated mute button, I've been using it a lot more than my Logitech Harmonies, even though I added a functional "Home/TV" button to both. And of course the Siri Remote works fine with any PIP state, in any context. Thankfully all of my devices support CEC so everything's working well with the minimum of fuss.

I tried both options and both worked, I couldn’t recreate whatever problem you were having. I am not able to create any situation where PIP is hung up or stuck. Maybe it’s been fixed? I am on the latest beta of everything, including tvOS.

I too have set up a PIP toggle on one of my harmony remote buttons using my home receivers HDMI CEC. I occasionally have been been seeing another PIP anomaly, where when I use the PIP toggle if in PIP mode and looking at the guide, when it goes to full screen I only see the guide and I hear the audio from whatever was playing. If I toggle again, it goes back to small PIP mode.

Sometimes if I change the channel I can get out of this mode, but usually I need to use the app switcher and close the app to clear this up.

This happens not only when using HDMI-CEC. if I manually toggle using the Apple home button it still toggles to full screen audio only.

Anyone else ever see this?