BETA - STRM file support for Imports

The latest pre-release adds support for .strm files. These are common in the Kodi world and the format has been around for a while.

.strm files are like Stream Links. They are plain text files that contain a URL to a video file.

When imported, the video URL will be part of the record in your Channels library and Channels will use that URL to play the video.

You add these to your library just like Stream Links. Just name the file in a way the scanner expects, and it will be added to your library.


This only works on iOS and tvOS client for now.

Browser player support is still early.

This is very early and has yet to be tested with remote streaming and in some other scenarios.

This has yet to be tested with a large amount of video formats and streaming protocols.


If you already have a bunch of .strm files, or have a means to use this, please start trying it and reporting back any issues you run into. We can hopefully knock out weird bugs in this topic.

Would the .strm file go in the local content directory depending on the type (Movie, TV, Video)?
and using a directory structure like the Example here Emby Strm Files : Emby

Appears to import and work with a Movie I tried, but looking at DVR > Manage > Movies it appears under Source: Imports. There is no STRM Source listed in the dropdown and it doesn't appear under Stream Links.
Screenshot 2022-05-05 at 14-35-27 Channels Manage Recordings

Before i go down rebbit hole of learning a new thing.

  1. Is this feature replacing streamlinks, superior?
  2. Will this play the videos in Channels or open External app
  3. Will channels keep track of which episodes i watch from *.strm
  4. Are there any public repositories of links (kind of like the ones maddox made for streamlinks on github)

@chDVRuser it works just like stream links and imports. Just name the video correctly and it’ll scan it into the library.

  1. No, they’re not even the same thing.
  2. In Channels
  3. Yes
  4. Not right now

All this does is play the video in Channels based on the video url in the .strm file. So instead of playing it from the hard drive, it just plays the url.

Thanks, found that out.
I dumped 22 .strm files in my Imports/Movies directory and just like normal local content file imports I had to fix incorrect match on some. Tested to make sure they worked, trashed them, emptied the trash and saw that Channels DVR deleted the .strm files.

Nice work implementing this feature!


Can someone share an example of a working one? I've been banging my head against a wall trying to get anything to work and at best get a failure in the logs, most of the time getting nothing. I tried in the Web, on Android TV, and in VLC and each either give errors give nothing. After trying many things, I settled on testing with something really basic that I can confirm are working on their own, but not through Channels:

I have no prior knowledge of .strm files, so I'm just guessing based on random reads on the Kodi and Emby forums, but I feel like there is a secret language I do not understand.

  1. Does it matter that I am using Windows for the server?

  2. Are there plug-ins or something I am supposed to have?

  3. Does it make any difference that I am importing these as Video files without any metadata?

It's incredibly simple. It's just a plain text file with the .strm extension. The contents of the text file is 1 line. A URL to a video file.

  1. NOT a url to a web page that HAS a video
  2. NOT a link to a youtube video
  3. A URL to an actual Video file


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I’ve added a bunch of STRM files I created for this new feature and they’re working well. Very nice feature, much appreciated!

At first I added my folder of them as a new source into Channels DVR (thinking I’d keep them separate from my movie files) and as I was navigating the Channels client (latest TestFlight) the Movies section reported I had zero movies. Which was obviously incorrect, I’ve got a bunch imported and was only trying to add some more via this new STRM file method. I checked my other AppleTV, and it reported the same, zero movies. I force quit and restarted the app, to no avail. Thankfully the web admin page for Channels DVR still had all of my movies listed. Interestingly I also noticed both client apps were saying my Trash was empty too, even though it wasn’t, and the web admin page still listed that too.

So I removed that STRM folder source to revert my collection back to the way it was. Then instead I imported these STRM files a few titles at a time into my regular imports/movies directory, and that worked fine. I’ve whittled the list down a bit and am still playing around but if I see anything like that again I’ll report back with more detail.

I literally tried that exact link in one of my tests and it did not work. Just to be sure, I did it again now:

And it just sits there spinning. Android TV gives me a Failed Playback (-17) error. VLC gives this error:


Submitted diagnostics: 07c0f9ad-d29f-42b6-8dde-8ed03d640b00

I don't know anything about VLC. Did you try this in Channels? Be sure the .strm file is plain text and not rich text. And be sure it's full name is XXX.strm. Windows can be really tricky about all of this. It hides the actual file extensions. Check properties of the file.

It doesn't work on Android

Yes, as I said above, in the Web interface it just sits there spinning. I screenshot the exact file name and contents above, both are already specifically what you said they should be.

To be very clear, I have no problem adding the file and getting it to appear. I have not been able to get a single one to play.

Thank you, very useful info! But it is supposed to work in the Web interface, yes?

Kind of. Depends on the browser right now. Chrome is having issues. But safari kinda works. It’s in the same category as Remote Streaming.

This is something that’s working on the iOS/tvos client mostly right now.

Made some improvements for web playback in the latest prerelease

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Check the URL in the VLC error. It's munged. (Two https:// in one line)

That explains why i can't get it to work. But i see 1 super cool use for this feature. Revolving VOD content. There are a few different scripts on github the convert m3u8 playlist VOD section into *.strm files. Can also use it to map google drive with videos.

Any other cool uses for this. My main issue is if I'm going to go through process of finding video urls.

@maddox Can you make edit to the origin post stating its on Apple only at moment. That way it prevents others from being confused (like i was)

Yep, that was my mistake. (Though we should all assume it by now on the newest features :joy:)

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I've got a handful of STRM files installed now, looking forward to adding more. The content "imported" this way works the same as actual media files, as far as Channels DVR is concerted, it treats them the same. I've found that videos added by STRM files even work in Virtual Channels. At least on tvOS. Very cool!