BETA: Audio improvements for Apple TV and iPhone/iPad

Our hands are tied with regards to homepods. We have implemented everything Apple suggested and it still doesn't work. The exactly same code works fine for airpods but not homepod, even though they both use airplay. I guess Apple's player has some special private code to make it work, but they are unable or unwilling to share that with us. It seems many of the engineers at Apple working on these APIs don't even own Apple TVs or Homepods.

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thanks for the update, but i dont agree that your hands are tied. I am not going to pretend that i know your code, how you code, what you use, who you use or how you use it, but i do know how a company that operates in this sector operates.

maybe apple is right, its your player having the issue. what does mpv say about this? isnt that what is under the hood? a bunch of other third party players on this platform work perfectly fine.

if someone comes along that is less tolerant and less understaing than us nerds on this board comes along doesn't see a warning that your service doesnt work with homepods paired to an apple tv, i am sure you will get a stern call from the BBB :rofl:

listen, i am one of your biggest cheerleaders and you will have a customer for life, but how long do you think "our hands are tied" is going to keep lasting without causing some kind of backlash or harm to your business when the "normal" people who fully go into the apple ecosystem because they saw people doing it on their commercials fully commit to something that doesnt work?

Honestly, keep up the good work. My only gripe are these showstoppers, i dont care much about the backend issues or anything else as long as its solid and it records which it does. Its these showstoppers on your main platform that is not just the apple tv, its the whole ecosystem. i am not sure if you techies really understand your whole client base. people just want to sit and watch tv on the chosen platform they chose, not hear that your hands are tied.

You guys have an amazing product, but you need to be direct as to what works and what doesn't so we dont keep getting aggravated and move on. No one entering this product with a full apple ecosystem knows that your hands are tied and things dont work.

i hope you take these criticism to heart not as complaining, but understanding that "having your hands tied" impacts your business.

thanks.

Meh, I unplugged my HomePod as it has lots and LOTS of problems, all over the map for me. It's a sub-par product that Apple hasn't paid enough attention to. Problem solved.

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your "problem" and stupid solution are something that have nothing to do with this thread. products is perfectly fine and works great for what it does, except in this app.

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Best of luck with that approach. Meanwhile, I’ll be “sitting back and watching TV on the chosen platform.”

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I have to agree HomePod is a flawed device. Just trying to use it for it’s basic functions like Siri or being the hub for my HomeKit devices is thwart with challenges. I unplug it so often just to get it to shut up. Gives wrong answers, can’t complete commands that my other Siri devices can.

You are going down a rabbit hole expecting Channels to overcome Apples coding flaws.

There is a reason they abandoned the project. Seems like folly to try and code around a device that does not get any more support from its maker.

After an upgrade of TVOS, my homepods worked great on the default audio driver. Recently (last week), the homepods audio started to drop out again. Not sure what changed, but really was happy when it was working. I am trying to reconcile why other apps (HBO Max, Directv, Spectrum, Netflix and Amazon Prime) don't have the audio drop outs. Maybe those guys are getting more attention from apple than the Channel's team.

Exactly my experience. When tvOS 16 came out, it worked great. Subsequent releases of channels after that totally brought back the issue.

We haven't made any changes to the audio subsystem since before tvOS 16 came out. Any fixes and subsequent new issues you're seeing are unrelated to anything we've done.

Also, please be nice in our community.

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Honestly I never noticed any improvements to default audio driver performance since tvOS 16. I’m guessing it was placebo effect of more people paying attention to performance during the beta. Just like in tvOS 15, I get the same occasional distortion I always got when I use it, and it tends to get worse over time until you restart the HomePods or hard reset your Apple TV. It’s almost like Channels overwhelms the HomePods’ memory and they just wear down over time.

The experimental audio driver works fine for me. I’d love if improvements came along in the future and the pausing to sync up audio is an annoyance, but after starting initial playback I don’t tend to skip around too much. I’m happy enough with the playback experience on my stereo pair of minis. I do really appreciate the work that was put into getting the experimental driver this far, the developers certainly used my feedback over the last year.

There have been improvements but for those who are new to using Channels with HomePods, I think this still applies.

I’m sorry, Is that the official company stance and that’s it, or are you trying to ask for logs? Not sure by your response.

Since I am not the only one “seeing” the same issue, I am not clear by your response. Logs or are you washing your hands of this? Might as well close this thread and all others with this problem then.

Thanks.

I don't understand what you're asking or what you're referring to in my response. I gave you some information so that you are better able to understand what or wasn't done that could have impacted what you saw.

At this moment, there's not much more we can do with the logs, and there's not much more we can do with Apple telling us there isn't anything more for us to do to improve the situation.

Will this get better some day? Maybe? Will Apple come out with Firmware improvements for the HomePod that make this better? We hope so. Will Apple come out with tvOS updates that improve the situation? We hope so. Will we make a change to the audio subsystem that happens to improve things here in the future? Maybe?

I'm not really sure what you're looking for from us. We've been transparent about what we've done, the problems we've run into, and the lack of guidance that Apple has provided us. It's a bummer. We're sad about it.

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thanks, @eric

ill be concise so we can get an understanding of this back and forth

  1. i was posting that it worked before when tvos 16 came out and it progressively worse.
  2. @tmm1 said your hands are tied
  3. i disagreed
  4. @Fofer came, made a stupid offtopic comment minimizing a serious issue that he doesnt experience because he explained in his comment
  5. i respond, you blame me
  6. someone else reports the same thing, you dismiss the issue and blame something else
  7. i sarcastically ask you if you saying that my issues are from something else is your final response to this issue, case closed that you're washing your hands of it because of the thumb pointing that "it has to be another one of my issues" which i sarcastically make the point that instead of washing your hands of it, maybe you should somehow put the people who are experiencing the issue at ease by gathering more info or straight up say what you said in your last post before this.

what do i want? i would like for support to try to support the multiple people that report the same issue. not be dismissed for it. not being told well it works for me because i got rid of them, so its your fault. not being told "i dont know" when multiple people are telling you that it worked once and not following up why it worked before. if this can't be done, why have support forums or support email?

this would of been nice as an answer first instead of "our hands are tied", "my issue is from something else"

no you haven't. now you have, in this topic anyway.

help. if thats not possible, dont point fingers, start a whole dance, and then finally explain why.

it looks like im in the minority here, i dont know, if i spend my time troubleshooting an issue that affects the core of your product, gathering data on the problem and report it in an official beta annoucement/support thread, i would like either a straight answer (like the third paragraph on your post above), not a long way to get there while dodging clown posts that you keep up. the clown posts should stay away from troubleshooting threads, move the stupid posts to general. we all can be clowns, stupid, funny and mad in offtopic threads.

im sure you wont like what i said, im sure i am wrong, bla bla bla, etc etc etc. i love your product, i just want to watch tv with it and try to make it better.

thanks for finally explaining where you stand with this issue. i won't waste anymore time trying to troubleshoot it and hope it magically gets better again and finally stick there now that i know it has nothing to do with your product.

or the easiest answer would be, just delete every post above and just say what you said in your last post. easy. it would of avoided all this time wasting nonsense.

To provide more context, the last change to our experimental audio driver code was made on Feb 8 2022. So any changes in behavior you may have noticed since then, are entirely because of tvOS and homepodOS updates and bugs. As others here have said, sometimes rebooting the home pod will fix issues for a while.

When we started working on this last year, we isolated several issues in the audio APIs and reported them to apple. We provided diagnostics and sample projects that reproduce the issue. The bugs were confirmed by apple but we didn't hear anything back. Then we escalated and opened a technical support ticket. We spent months going back and forth with an engineer about workarounds, each of which was implemented into the experimental driver and released to everyone here for testing and refinement. We attended 1:1 meetings with audio api engineers at WWDC over the last two years to follow up on what's going on with this issue. So when I say our hands are tied, I mean that we have exhausted all technical possibilities and things are out of our control. We are engineers, not magicians.

Anyway, Apple's ears must be ringing because I heard some updates on one of the bug reports I have open today. The issue is still not fixed, but they suggested a workaround that improves things with tvOS 16.1. You can try it out in the latest TestFlight build.

In my testing it does help with the insane 4-5s delay their API usually shows, reducing it to around 1s. The effect is more dramatic on recordings where the homepod can buffer ahead more quickly.

(To be clear, the issue is literally that we call play() on their airplay audio api but it refuses to play and just randomly hangs for 1s-5s.)

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thank you @tmm1 , i'll check. i'm glad i didn't throw them out like the popular suggestion here. thanks again, i am not asking you to do magic, as an engineer, i'm simply trying to help you engineer and know that i am not wasting my time, just like i am sure you dont like to waste your own time.

thanks again!

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@tmm1 Holy crap, what an improvement. If you can do magic :wink: and shave more off that last second, I would say it’s would be perfect. It’s almost perfect. I don’t believe in coincidences, but I’m glad for this coincidence. Thanks again.!

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I appreciate this comprehensive response explaining the work going on behind the scenes. I share @AeroR1's frustration.

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This is a HUGE improvement, I'd say the pause is more like a half-second for me. Thank you!

One bug I had with a particular OTA recording: if I skip around soon after initiating playback, the video starts instantly but the audio playback never starts. Submitted logs.

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Did anything change in the last couple of days? In the past -- whenever I experienced a sync or delay issue -- I would restart the HomePods and it would be fixed for a while.

Now, I've reset the HomePods a few times and it's back to the old way: Experimental Audio has a long delay until the video and audio begin; Default begins quickly but then stutters and gets out of sync.