Channels Podcast appearance/Channels DVR sports Requests

If you havent heard - Channel's Jon Maddox featured on the Home Gadget Geeks Podcast Episode 510 - highly recommended to Channels users and Enthusiasts - Jon did a Great Job highlighting the present and the future of Channels

One of the topics he brought up was focusing on live sports - and asked for some feedback on what would live sports users want to see in future updates.

Frankly - OTA Live Sports is the reason I use channels - The most critical feature I look for is "Live Timeshifting" - the ability to watch a recording in process and then transport the recording seamlessly. I often catch a football game sometime in the 2nd quarter and then can catch up. Unlike its competitors, Channels works flawlessly.

another nice feature - the ability to set a "team pass" search for your favorite team and Channels will set up a pass to record all games for your team - neat. cuts across all the Networks

Please dont go down the plex route and add a bunch of crappy features and ignore your core functionality.

The only thing I would add is dual channel Picture in Picture - This is a feature that my old "Comcast" cable had 15 years ago or so - I would catch a couple of games at the same time every now and then - One year, I was able to watch both the world series and my Team's Football game at the same time.

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I agree. A multi view option would be nice for sure. Beyond that a “slow mo replay” button might be neat. An easy button to press that would rewind a bit and play back slowly.

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Agreed, it would be amazing to see multiview integrated into Channels, especially for big sports days.
The implementation on Fubo (on AppleTV) is pretty close to spectacular.

Also with regards to customizing playback for time-shifting sports fans, this comment on TCF may apply, and hopefully it inspires suggestions.

The timeline can sometimes be a spoiler:

I use Channels for recording sports, mostly baseball lately. For the most part, it nails the commercials, with some days better than others.
BTW, when watching baseball you can anticipate potential "big" innings by looking at the commercial spacing on the timeline. When my team is do up and I see a large section of timeline before the next commercial, it's time to get excited. But then, I find out Channels missed the commercial block. Burn!

While multi-view isn’t on our roadmap, I’d like to once again remind everyone why.

None of the devices we have can decode and play back more than one MPEG2 stream at a time. It’s all done on the CPU and they’re all mostly maxed out when doing this.

Because of this, we can’t do multiview for these sources. I’d wager that most sports fans are using HDHomeRuns for sports to get that sweet sweet 60fps. Additionally, I doubt any of our servers can handle 4x transcodes to h.264 to power this.

Other services have the fortune of serving out h.264 which is hardware accelerated and can do a 4-up easily.

While there are technically ways this could be solved, it wouldn’t be without a massive amount of caveats that would have to be communicated to customers. This isn’t your concern of course, you just want features! :joy: but it is for us and it makes it very very hard.

So, it’s not just a matter of developing a UI and UX for this that makes it challenging. It’s a very technical problem that would mostly not work at all for most Channels customers.

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This is fascinating!

My Channels sports request is to add some transparency to the timeline background, so if fast forwarding I can see the details that are typically hidden behind it. It doesn't need to go away, but some transparency would be nice. Yes I know you can make it go away when paused by tapping the remote, but that doesn't help when scrubbing.

I’ll chime in here regarding sports PIP.
This is a pie in the sky idea, but a while back I started the thread below, and it lead to a discussion of third party apps that support displaying MANY video streams at once. I use an app called CCTV viewer and it gets the job done, but it is buggy and I’m not sure it’s supported very well by the developer.

On sundays I typically have two local nfl games piped directly from my HDHomeRun, nfl redzone running via channels and TVE, and either the NFL channel or another non nfl game.

So here’s my ask.
How about a companion channels app for sports, modeled after some of these other alternatives?

This way theoretically no transcoding would be needed, and for the local streams I use shortcuts directly to my HDHomeRun ip addresses instead of using the M3u provided through channels for the TVE streams anyway.

Now recording and time shifting is another issue altogether, but just for multi view PIP this could potentially provide a lot of value.

I’ll admit, It could be a can of worms having a companion app, but it could also be another source of revenue for channels, as I’d gladdly pay for a slicker non buggy aggregator that provides a supercharged pip experience.

Please Discuss…..

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I wondered about that myself. Maybe down the road when ATSC3 is widespread and streaming hardware has a lot more horsepower it will be more feasible.

Using TiviMate on my Shield I can watch 6 channels at once (using Channels DVR as the server). On my 2021 Sony Android TV, I can only watch 2. If you try to start a 3 channel, the system dies or the TV reboots.

Importing archived sports content needs to be a priority. As discussed in the past, custom metadata and custom artwork are likely going to need to be implemented for this. For me, having it work as a custom tv show or something. I could put Ohio State Football as the tv show and seasons could be replaced by years and the corresponding games could be organized by year like tv seasons work.

Aside from Sports, the importing of shows really doesn't work well for me. A perfect example is the 9/11: Day in America that aired on NGC. It was like a 5 part special that imports as a movie, not a tv series how it aired. Off the DVR, it's a TV show. So it imports as a movie. Problem even with that is it only imports like metadata for 1 single episode. They import fine into Plex with the built in tools and I love being able to assign or import new artwork if I choose to. Not only that, for the series with Plex, I can use the artwork in the background and it looks fantastic.

Keep you the great work and constantly innovating to make this an awesome tv experience.

Good explanation. If this is the reason for the excellent 'timeshifting'. Performance of channels, then I'm all in on your decision

As an Android TV user, I also don't mind you bringing out newer features on IOS. I view my channels dvr as an appliance and not a hobby. Stability and ease of use are paramount

Thanks, renewing my subscription this month for nex year!

Agreed! I've built a collection of classic boxing matches that I love to rewatch, and their guide data is nearly always missing. Perfect for a Virtual Channel and/or Collection though! Being able to manually edit this content with custom titles, metadata and artwork would be very welcome. Thankfully this is in the plans:

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@alfredborges Just wanted to say thank you very much for mentioning this! I was not familiar with "Home Gadget Geeks", but really enjoyed hearing Jon talk about Channels with them.


My biggest disappointment by far was hearing Jon say that there are no plans for "users" in Channels (and then quickly jumping right in to talking about the "Kids" feature, which our household has no use for.)

Our house has several shows with overlapping "viewership", and it is a nightmare keeping track of who has seen what and what episodes can be deleted from what shows and what can't. And the arguments when somebody deletes something that somebody else hasn't seen yet... oof...

Even if you could associate a "client" with a "user" for tracking watched status, that would be a huge win. Anna's iPhone and iPad could be associated with her, Bella's iPhone could be associated with her, and Christa's iPhone and MacBook could be associated with her. If a device has no assigned user (like the Family Room Apple TV), it could behave like Apple's Activity app or the Netflix app where it simply asks you "who's watching" (and allow selection of multiple people, for "family viewings").

With that type of user functionality in place, then the episode screen could show who has seen it (so Anna knows not to talk about "spoilers" in front of Bella!), and there could even be a setting for each Pass that says "Delete episodes 24 hours after these users have watched (or marked as watched)". Enable that for any shows with shared household watchers, and the nightmares (and arguments) would go away...

Honestly, as a new Channels user, I see the lack of tracking the watched status for multiple people in the household as the biggest downside at this point. It's a far more important / common need than a lot of other things added recently (in my opinion, of course!)

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Just noticed

In the set up section of the android TV channels client, there is a setting for picture in picture

Where is this documented and is any using it?

Perhaps on topic:

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Great interview. Very informative. I'd love to see @Maddox back on there again soon.

Here's something that could be done.
Searching for sporting events and displaying them.
Examples;

A nice feature for sports would be a way to have 2 seek forward options. You might want to go 10 sec at a time during a football game in between plays. If your behind live so the commercials haven’t been detected, you hit one and you know you need to skip 2:30 ahead.so now you need to mash 10 sec skip a bunch or scrub.

I tried to use the existing Siri shortcut to do this before and I couldn’t get it to work

Here’s a sports-specific request (not sure if this has been asked before.)

I have a recording in progress of a 4 hour game, I come home 1.5 hours into it, to start watching. (Time shifting FTW!) It would be great if we could adjust playback speed to watch what has been recorded at 1.5x or so to catch up to real time, instead of having to wait until the event/recording is over to do so. I’m not sure how complicated this would be to add but it’s a use case that would really benefit from it.