Hardware Decoder Issues on Android Phone

On my S21, the hardware decoder has a couple of problems.

  1. It won't decode from my HDHR Flex 4k. This includes both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 streams. I can hear the audio but the display is black.
  2. Landscape mode has a problem with scaling. It appears that the height is the same number of pixels as in Portrait. However, the width is fully across the screen. It is crazy squished. Think of it as 16x9 stretch/squished into 20x5.

Hybrid and Software settings both seem to work OK. I don't know what the default was, but if it was Hardware, maybe it shouldn't be. I have been avoiding watching on my phone for months as the scaling has never worked. I just got the HDHR and obviously the no video is an even bigger problem. That sent me looking for a config solution and that is when I found the Video Decoder setting.

I am good for now with the other settings, but just wanted to make sure you were aware that it might be broken.


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This has been an issue for long time with many phones(just search and read the forms)...ever since Android 10.
They do not natively support mpeg2 decoding.
It is not something Channels can "fix" since it is Google/the OEM manufactures that decided not to support the codec.
Just use Hybrid or software decoder.

Good to know. Is Hardware the default? I set mine up so long ago I am not sure. It isn't decoding the non-mpeg2 ones in landscape correctly either. If it is the default, it probably shouldn't be.

Hardware is default far as i know. but it doesn't really matter. use what works best for your device.
hardware decoder would be controlled by your device itself, not Channels, if i understand it correctly.

Agreed on using what works best. However, if this software was mine, I wouldn't want my customers to have a bad experience with things not working correctly for months before guessing at changing a setting to get it to work. Things should work out of the box. That generally means trying to detect and automatically setting the setting or going with a default setting that is more compatible.

On a personal note, I have bounced back and forth with how much I like Channels DVR. There are so many things that need configured like this to make it work. Someone like my wife would never go through the effort. She would just call it broken and never use it again. I posted so the dev team can decide if they want to try to improve the experience for new or less techie customers.

I think hardware is the default because it generally provides the best experience when it works. Lots of people might not ever need to decode Mpeg2, so hardware would work fine for them. I think your point is the “most compatible” option would be a better default, and I can see the argument. I don’t know if The Channels app chooses different defaults based on the device. Especially in the Android ecosystem there are a dizzying array of devices with different hardware capabilities, so that wouldn’t really be feasible.