Dual Buffers


Channels is awesome. (Duh) Here’s a suggestion to make it even more awesome-er…

I’m coming to Channels from Directv, and one of my favorite features of the Directv DVR was a feature Directv calls “DoublePlay”. It’s dual live tv buffers, so that two different live programs can be time-shifted simultaneously. It’s a feature I used all the time, mostly when watching two different sports games.

Any chance Channels could implement this?

On the Directv DVR, switching between buffers was done by double-press of the down arrow on the remote. Not sure the best way to replicate this on the ATV siri remote…


[Feature Request] Double play from Apple TV Buffer (pause 1 channel, watch another)
Comskip schedule time

Already there! Double-click the Play/Pause button.

EDIT: Sorry, my mistake, the double-click just goes back and forth between the last 2 channels. It does not maintain the buffer on those channels.


Right now there’s only one active buffer. When you switch channels, the buffer is wiped and starts over with the new channel.

Dual buffers would be pretty interesting… it’s something we’ve considered but haven’t tried to implement yet. Would require some changes to allow the app to deal with two HDHomeRun streams at the same time, but should be possible. The bigger challenge (as you noted) is figuring out the remote and UI interactions so its 1) not confusing to use, and 2) optional so you’re not always tying up two tuners on your HDHR.


I’ve had a bit of thought this evening on how to do the dual buffer switch on the Siri remote. It shouldn’t be complicated, obviously…simple, elegant, intuitive (as always) is the goal.

So with that in mind, I think you could leverage the existing “previous channel” functionality (double press on play/pause). Simply add an option in the app settings for what to do on double press of play/pause…either current previous channel function, or optionally use dual buffers and double press of play/pause switches between the buffers.

Make the default setting be the current previous channel behavior to maintain backward compatibility. This way users who want the feature can optionally enable it. Users who are happy with the current “previous channel” functionality, or who don’t want to tie up another tuner will not be affected by the new feature.

Obviously, I would really like to see this feature added :smile:


This is my biggest wish for Channels. Tivo had the same feature. It makes it great for watching live TV without having to suffer through as many commercials. My favorite use-case was watching two football games, I could pause one and switch to the other tuner, then switch again, etc.

Switch and go back to see what I had missed while I was on the other channel. My wife could watch some HGTV and I could have a game on the other tuner and catch up a bit on the game during the commercials. Etc., etc.

In fact, even just bouncing out to the menu (which is easy to do with the new Apple TV remote) loses the buffer. To be very clear on what I mean: it deprives you of the ability to go backwards in the show from that point if you wanted to re-watch something.

As-is, I might as well not have multiple tuners in my HDHomeRun tuner at all.

Edit: the UI interaction is simple, the current double-tap mechanism is all that’s needed. Just need to not lose the buffers.

When I saw the forum post “true multiple tuner support” I thought for sure it meant this feature, and I was quite disappointed.


+1 Great suggestion. I like your idea to reuse existing play/pause flashback with user defined settings toggle.


Agree that without dual tuner flashback (or DVR), the dual tuner capability is extremely underutilized. Especially for those of us who only use the HDHR on a single tv/device.

In weighing the benefits of having this feature (aka "Doubleplay) vs the oft chance someone in my house gets locked out due to my use of both tuners, I’d say I’d have zero issues with that.


So, for example, i load the app fresh and start watching tv on 1. then I go to 2, does it ask or just start recording? If i then flip back to 1, i have 2 streams. now @ChannelsFan’s wife comes in to watch HGTV (because I would just tell my wife to go fly a kite, but he must love his wife) and then switch to 3 on purpose or accident, that station would then start recording, which do I loose?


ImNotSerios, my wife is likely to want to watch HGTV too.

This is what I’ve seen done in these situations: The stealing user (our wives) see a dialog option that says “Another user is currently watching Channel X, continue and interrupt them?”. If they do, it would switch away the tuner not currently being viewed.

If it gets to be a problem then I could buy more HDHomeRuns.

Right now, despite my username, I have a bit of a love/hate with Channels. Its allowing me to do what I couldn’t easily do before without Tivos and Roamios. However, if anyone bumps the AT4 remote back to the menu screen or Siri, then we lose our back history and whatever amount of live TV occurs until we get back.

Right now, I have two tuners on an HDHomeRun without any real benefit since 99.9% of the time we’re only watching TV on the one device.


It creates a problem for DVR users, though. If you are using dual live tuners, scheduled recordings will fail. And, as of now, the Channels app gives no warning that the DVR will need one of the tuners for a scheduled program. So it will fail silently.


Tivo has the same thing, it takes the background tuner when it needs to start recording. If it needs the tuner you are watching, it will pop up a minute or so before-hand to warn you.


@djcastaldo, to be expected with beta software. If they agree to pursue this, the Channels dev team should be able to develop a solution to account for the tuner conflicts.


If you want to time shift 2 programs at the same time, just swipe down and hit record the current show you are watching before you go to the next channel. When you return to that channel it will ask you if you want to resume or start from the beginning. The only difference is you would need to delete your recording when you are finished.


hello channels developer wanted to check in and see if the option to maintain the dual active buffer between two channels is still under review. and if so would be great if the implementation could include an option within the settings to activate or deactivate this function. with the concern some households may not want to use this function since it will utilize two hdhomerun streams for this function. btw the family is really enjoying the product.


Would LOVE this function. Using double tap play/pause to swap between tuners is a good suggestion.

New to Channels and Channels DVR.

Shaved the cord with my cable DVR.

Really miss the ability to swap between two tuners, each with their own buffer. And as an appleTV user, get frustrated when hitting one too many buttons and losing buffer when accidentally exiting the app.

Other than that, liking both products.


This would be a great feature. I’m coming from TiVo and the buffered tuner swap feature is one of my favorites.


Check out how the ESPN app on AppleTV does it (they call it Multicast).

After selecting one feed, the app shows a horizontal list of games to put in the second window. While watching, you swipe left/right to pick the audio that you want to hear.

They have side by side views along with picture-in-picture.

If you have any scheduled recordings, you could display a warning about them being affected if you only have dual-stream hardware.

I think this would be a great in-app purchase feature.


One more vote for Dual Buffers / Dual Time-shift. Really missing this feature now during football season. I was spoiled with my Tivo Quad…four channels buffering at the same time. I’d be happy if I could just have two though.


I’m new to the Channels DVR as of this weekend and would love for it to be my daily driver DVR however, as this topic has brought up, it’s sorely lacking when trying to watch more than one show or recording at a time (which is what I always do). I think you’re on track on how to implement the UI for this by adding a setting that would allow users to select a tuner or recording to view when using the prev/last channel command.

After this setting is turned on and sending the prev/last channel command, I would envision a drop down (similar to the one used for favorites) where I could use my D-Pad (AndriodTV) to select the tuner I want to swap too. Upon tuning to the desired tuner, where it would resume an existing program or recording or allow me to start a new program, the channel I just left would continue to record. At this point the UI could pop a warning about stealing a tuner or creating a recording conflict. These buffers could continue on any or all tuners until 90-120 minute inactivity on a given tuner or a tuner is needed for a recording.

A swap tuner implementation like suggested above would easily trump similar implementations I’ve experienced on Comcast’s old Motorola boxes, the Tivo Bolt, the X1 box and DirecTV’s Genie.

I would definitely go all in on this product if this feature was added and would certainly push friends and family to use this product as well.


Correct but you have to go back to the main menu (killing the current buffer), recordings, scroll to select your previous show, resume. Then you want to go to a second tuner you have to do the same process which is a rather painful to repeat every time you want to swap a tuner.