Beta: Videos Section

As we move past finally having the ability to edit metadata on items in our library, this gives way to let us finally import random un-scrapable videos into our Channels library. Concerts, sport events, home videos, internet videos, etc can now be added to Channels.

But these videos are not necessarily Movies or TV shows. So today we're putting them into their own section. Videos.

How it works

You can now import these videos with a new type in your Local Content settings: Videos.

Videos will be imported as groups with their associated videos. Groups can be edited just like a TV Show can, and the same goes for the videos.

Videos and Video Groups will work essentially the same thing as TV shows. But they don't participate in Up Next, and they are found in their own section: Videos. This way, they can participate in Collections, Virtual Channels, and all of the Channels goodness, without muddying up your library. They sit nicely archived in the Videos section for you to easily get to and watch.


Videos are assumed to have a group with associated videos, just like TV Shows. Your directories for videos should look like this:

/videos/Home Movies/Day at the Beach.mp4
/videos/Home Movies/Snorkeling Trip.mp4
/videos/Home Movies/Ski Weekend.mp4
/videos/Peter Gabriel Videos/Sledgehammer.mp4
/videos/Peter Gabriel Videos/In your Eyes.mp4

To make organizing your videos a little easier, subsequent imported videos will adopt certain metadata items from its group such as artwork and genre.

Our Local Content documentation has been updated to reflect this.

What if I want them to act like TV Shows?

You can just import them via a TV Shows import. You can import anything to any section now, you'll just need to go in and edit the metadata. If you want a random video to be a Movie, import it there.

The videos section is here to help you be organized and ensure your random home movies don't clutter your TV Shows.

Client Support

tvOS and iOS support is available right now with the latest TestFlight beta. Android support will be coming soon later today.


Please give this a try and import some videos and let us know if anything is weird or not working correctly with the rest of the Channels platform. Thanks!!


This is cool. I look forward to trying this out on some more music videos.

Here is a question though. Thus far, i have had to import a bunch of local music video content using separate directory paths to isolate them to look like tv shows and to speed up the import process for editing the metadata.

Then i edited all the metadata and created collections and virtual channels, etc. all good.

However, this has resulted in a bunch of imported subdirectories of a main music video directory.

Now with this new videos section category, id love to clean all this up without loosing my metatdata, artwork , etc.

If i were to erase those existing local directories now, and reimport them under a different hierarchy (one level up in directory structure) using the new videos section. Would i loose all my existing work?.

Lots of time went into these imports and a lot of metadata tweeking.

Alternatively, is there a limit on the number of imported local directories?

Im inclined to leave things that are working as is, and from now on make use of the new video section feature. Is that what you recommend?

It would be really cool of there was a way to easily migrate these, so all my music video collections could show up under videos and not TV shows in the library.

Just putting some questions out there for all …

If you would like to move things to the Videos section, you'll need to re-import and re-edit the metadata. There's no migration path. Unfortunately, that's the world of using beta features that aren't complete yet.

In terms of your imported directories, I would suggest just creating a /Volumes/MULTIMEDIA/videoimports directory and dropping all of those groups into it. You don't need to, and shouldn't, add them individually.

The directory you import should contain the groups.

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Videos support is now available in the Android beta.

@maddox nutha question..

Ive noticed the import to the local video to be very slow.
To keep things simple ive pointed to only one music video album. (About 15 videos). When i looked at the log file, the songs were slowly being imported, but similar imports using the “local tv import” seemed to go much quicker.

Ive also noticed that the ffmpeg process is hogging my mac mini cpu. Eventually the imports did go through and im now looking at editing the metadata on this latest import.

BTW - I did notice the new video section in the client, and also observed that recently updated is excluded on these videos, which is great.

Out of curiosity, what is ffmpeg doing upon the local imports?
When i first started importing all my various music videos by pointing higher in my directory structure (this is even before the latest “video import” changes) i did notice that ffmpeg was hogging cpu, and the imports for the hierarchical folders were taking incredibly long. So i gave up on that method, and have been importing one album at a time. Henceforth all the import folders on my previous post.

My cpu is otherwise not doing anything during the imports, and ive observed ffmpeg in the activity monitor leaving about 15-20%

Im happy to run more detailed imports with hard data, but this is just an observation and question for now.

Your suggestion about directory structure in your reply in previous post makes perfect sense, but im curious if you folks have seen excessive times for the local imports or perhaps ive got something quirky going on in my system that im not aware of.

As usual keep up the great work


Edit: I imported the same video set using the “local tv import” and noticed the same very long import times. I’ll keep trying to narrow it down over the weekend

What file extension are these videos using?

Can you capture the full ffmpeg command running and using CPU, with all the arguments

What platform is your DVR server running on? I also noticed that after I swapped out a dying PC for a Pi4 that my imports were taking a very very long time ... ~5 mins for every hour of an imported item. Further, the fan would spin up as CPU temps exceeded 80°C.

Im using a mac mini circa 2010 intel core duo 2.4ghz

That was an excellent question and here is what i found. I had handbraked these videos from an old dvd on my mac mini and all the file extension were .mp4.

Then as usual, i assigned these to my plex library before pointing the files to channels with the import local media.

After importing these into channels, i noticed a flaky issue with plex no longer using my file names (i use the plex folder view for the music videos) and assigning the album title to every song instead of the individual song titles. Plex has never done this before, and im not sure whether channels updated the metadata upon import or this is a plex issue.

However, regardless , thats when I noticed that the files extensions were mp4, and usually i handbrake them to m4v files for compatibility with the apple ecosystem and spatial audio. These are all surround sound titles and iphones need to see things in m4v to recognize the 5.1 surround format

So i rehandbraked them with the same video and audio settings but with m4v extension, and then brought them into plex before pointing them to channels. Sure enough, these imported into channels very fast

Ive still got weird plex issues with how it is displaying the individual song titles all using the album title for every song.. I will play some more with that, as it may be a plex library issue and not a channels issue. But it seems mp4 files import very slowly compared to m4v files with similar compression settings.


Can you capture the full ffmpeg command running and using CPU, with all the arguments

im happy to do this. I can do it for one of my mp4 vs m4v files if it helps. However ffmpeg seems to be involked when channels is doing the import. Where can i find the ffmpeg command that was involked by channels with the arguments. I looked in the log file and all i see is message saying imported “such and such”. No ffmpeg info.

I can do this sometime tomorrow if it is helpful. Just need a pointer where to gather the info.

You could see it in via ps aux | grep ffmpeg

Based on your details though, I believe its probably taking a long time to generate preview thumbnails for mp4 due to a bug that will be fixed in the next prerelease build.


And i think the title issue in plex was coming from handbrake not using the file name as the title in the metadata. and nothing to do with channels changing the metadata.

MKV version of file took less than 1 second to import
MP4 version took over 5 minutes to generate the preview image

~# ps -f --cols 512 -C ffmpeg
channels 10596 13872 99 18:49 ?        00:05:17 /volume1/@appstore/ChannelsDVR/channels-dvr/2022.03.18.1249/ffmpeg -hide_banner -nostats -loglevel warning -loglevel fatal -y -i /volume1/ChDVRimports/Video/The Discovery of Noah's Ark (1993)/The Discovery of Noah's Ark (1993).mp4 -ss 300 -vf scale=640:ceil((out_w/dar/2)*2),thumbnail=5 -frames 1 /volume1/ChDVRsp/Images/preview-141.jpg

That fixed it.


Pretty sweet! Love the work you guys continue to do!

I"m not sure if this falls under this category or not but it's something I've been curious about for a long time. Is there any way to add a simple internet url to an mp4 file and have it play within Channels rather than have to store the file locally?

I watch some weekly shows online that would be awesome to import into channels but don't necessarily want to have to eat up space by downloading the files locally when they are already hosted somewhere else. Your comment about "internet videos" reminded me of that type of thing.

That sounds a lot like what my podcatcher app does.
You can stream or download using a url.

That sounds like an internet playlist, which is not supported, nor is planned to be.

If the host of the content is part of a larger ecosystem that supports stream links, then that is something that might be integrated.

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It looks like Betas are not propigating to Play Store again. This is the current version:

The app is in review by Google. You can use Settings > Support > Install Beta instead

Feature Request:

Could we have an option to sort videos by name in both the client and the server?

Also, an option to have customer artwork for the section? Currently, it shows the Channels logo.