Expanded Media Keys for IR Remotes


Hey everyone. We just released version 2.1.17 for Apple TV and it includes a big useful new feature.

Channels now supports an expanded set of media keys for controlling video. This means, if you’re using an IR remote control, you can map functionality to your Fast Forward, Rewind, Skip Forward, Skip Back buttons.

What do the keys do?

First, let’s define what the keys actually do while Channels is playing.

  • Play = Play/Pause
  • Pause = Play/Pause
  • Stop = Stop
  • FastForward = Hold to fast forward
  • Rewind = Hold to rewind
  • Skip Forward = Commercial Skip Forward
  • Skip Backwards = Commercial Skip Backwards

So the big news here is, you can now have dedicated buttons for commercial skip.

The bad news is, you STILL have to hold your Fast Forward/Rewind keys to fast forward and rewind linearly. This is a limitation of tvOS/iOS. Hopefully that will change some day.

How do I get this new magic?

So how do you take advantage of this?

Harmony Remotes

If you’re using a Harmony remote, just make sure the profile you’re using is the Apple TV 4 profile and not the old one you might still be using from your old Apple TV days.

This means you may have to delete your device and re-add it. If you’re using the Apple TV 4 profile, these keys are available for you to just map to your remote. Use any combination that you want. GO NUTS!

Normal IR Universal Remotes

If you used some sort of code to program your universal remote, it may or may not have mapped these buttons to your remote keys. You should first just try them and see if they work.

If they do. Awesome! If not, you will need to teach your Apple TV custom IR commands for all your keys.

  1. Program your remote control to some random device like a DVD player that has all of the keys you want to program: play, pause, stop, fast forward, skip, etc. This ensures your remote control is sending IR signals for all of the keys.
  2. Go to your Apple TV settings to teach the Apple TV these new IR signals. Settings > Remotes and Devices > Learn Remote.
  3. Follow the instructions to teach your Apple TV the commands.

Once you’ve taught your Apple TV the basic commands, it will ask you for all of these expanded commands.


Welp, that’s it. This should give a little more freedom to those of you that don’t use the Siri remote.

Hopefully this puts a little more power in your hands :roll_eyes:.

Comskip with Harmony remote
Support for Up/Down channels buttons on programmable IR remotes like Logitech Harmony
Playback controls on 3rd party IR remotes?
Harmony Companion Remote, ATV and Channels
REQUEST: swipe up on remote for what's up next
Harmony Companion Remote, ATV and Channels
Reluctantly Canceling DVR Service
Nimbus controller support on AppleTV

Brilliant! Thanks so much for adding this. Now my universal remote is universal again!


Awesome - Thank you!


With the new page up/down scrolling added in tvOS 10.2, is it possible to map this functionality to the skip back/forward or chapter prev/next buttons on 3rd party remotes when in the guide?


Unfortunately not. The new accelerated scrolling feature is implemented in the OS and we have no control over it.


A post was merged into an existing topic: NEW: Android TV app for Channels DVR (experimental)


thanks everyone for the input. I guess I can use my Smart Keyboard from my Mac (bluetooth) also to see if that helps with the ff/skip buttons.
anyone familiar with the ipazzport mini keyboard? looks to be similar to the sideclick


Bluetooth keyboards cannot be used for media keys. TvOS only supports IR remotes using the procedure above.