Channels as a Unified Media Center?

Does anyone use Channels as a general purpose media center for all video content? Yes, I am aware of Plex, etc. but I wondered if anyone has uploaded all their media to Channels, and if so what your experience was. I'm thinking of moving all my media from the MacOS TV app to Channels, but moving a ton of media only to find some problem and move it all back doesn't sound like fun to me. Thanks!

We now use Channels exclusively for all our video content. It's worked quite well for us, and we have a mixture of sources: DVR, local videos, and stream service links [strmlnks].

The devs have added a bunch of things over the past year that make this a better experience like easy metadata editing. They've said that they are currently working on improving loading and all-around performance for large libraries which I will also be happy to have, but there's nothing that should stop you from having a good experience with Channels as a general video media manager today IMO.

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I still use Plex as longbl term storage and Channels for Live, DVR, Virtual Channels.

Plex is where I keep the movie collection and downloaded internet content, complete series, etc.

But I do import everything into channels and mark as hidden. That way channels can make virtual channels with imported content.

its a system that works for me

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Channels only references your video files, you don’t need to move them.

It’s easy to just add all your content to try Channels. If you don’t love it, just go back to your old way of accessing your media.


Hmm, my idea was not only to unify how I access my media, but also the location. Your suggestion, however, will at least give me the ability to try it first though.

To try your suggestion, does the drives with my existing media have to be plugged directly into my Pi? Can it also find media on a network share? (I'll note that I am using a Mac and Channels seems to have problems finding smb shares from it).

Edit: I got the smb share to work.

Thanks for the reply. So, what would constitute a "large" library? When does performance start to suffer?

I recently moved over to using Channels exclusively after bouncing around between Plex and Emby. Before I only used Channels to record content.

Now having used Channels for about 3 weeks straight for everything I have found anything to do with actual playback is totally great. I haven't had any issues there. The only thing I run into is in regard to some UI differences. Not issues or bugs, just features that aren't implemented in Channels that I liked in Plex/Emby.


My instance currently shows ~11,000 "recordings" - and no big issues for us, just that the client takes around ~7 seconds to load initially. I think that's part of what the devs are working on, but it hasn't been a big deal for us.

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Ah, thanks a lot I appreciate the info!

Thanks all for the quick replies. I'm going to give Maddox's suggestion a try, and if things continue to go well I'll just permanently move my media over.


I am using Channels and PLEX. PLEX is my long term, archival storage. Things that I am going to keep forever. Channels is my everyday media center. I used it to record, playback and even watch live TV. I also import shows from streaming services I have and watch them thru Channels..

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I wish for movies since ChannelsDVR already uses TMDB that they would use their Collection data to make automatic collections ... I have far too many movies in EMBY and Plex to manually make collections.

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I've moved all my media over to Channels (except music of course). Channels does a fine job for how I use it. Plex is fine but my preference is to have fewer apps. If Channels brings in music (doubt that will ever happen) I will ditch Plex all together.

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I am pointing out @maddox response because it bares repeating. You simply tell Channels where your media is located. There is no moving things around. You can continue to utilize whatever you are currently using without issue. If you don't like it just tell Channels to stop monitoring those locations. For the most part it is a no harm no foul situation to test out.

This is very much a personal decision as everyone has different needs and preferences. I probably will never find an All-In-One. I prefer Plex for my long term main media server. Yes it is bloated and support has begun to suck the last decade, but I personally just like it as my main long term media server. I use the Arr family for my long term media file management (they are not just file finders, they are awesome organizers and renamers. And Bazarr is a must-have for anyone who requires or is addicted to subtitles.) ChannelsDVR of course is my hands down, no question about it, Live TV and DVR. No one can beat it. Excellent source options, excellent guide management, very good subtitle support, and completely exception support (really, how often do you find the people who wrote the software actually walking people though problem solving step by step.) And of course virtual channels and channel collections are brilliant game changers.

And of course I just now noticed the OP said they were going to go with what @maddox suggested. But I will still reply since I already wrote this up and someone might find it informative.

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I tried using only channels as my media server. The only problem I encountered is with Dolby Vision. Channels had a hard time playing them. Green and pink colors. Emby would play the same files without a problem. Everything else played great. Very good progress over the past year or so on this. I look forward to the day I can replace emby and plex and only use channels for all my media


Since I do not need any advanced features etc, It works very well for me as a movie server.

Just over 24,000 recordings and imports in my database. The Channels DVR Collections feature, strmlnks, and the ability to edit metadata and import art provides a positive experience. But nothing is automatic. Even smart rules in collections require a basic understanding of database logic rules. Not hard, but you might need to try several different approaches to find what works for you. I am still learning and enjoying the experience.


Is that what causes that color shift? Thanks!

Yes, Channels doesn’t support Dolby Vision. We’re hoping to get this in, but Apple does nothing to let third parties playback Dolby Vision easy. Even in their native player.


I have tried but it doesn't work for me. I listen to a lot of foreign material and there is no multi languages support. You can't select the language audio nor the sub titles you want. Sub titles support is lacking in general, activating closed captioning with not activate any sub titles even if there is only one available.