I have been using Channels since March. Prior to that I have used (in reverse chronological order) a DIRECTV Genie, several earlier DIRECTV DVRs, several DIRECTV TiVos and a Gen 1 TiVo. (The first TiVo was probably a pre-production model because it had a flat front with a red Plexiglas window in the center. I bought it from AVScience in 1999.) BeyondTV was in the mix too, and by my recollection, even several years after it EOLed, it compares somewhat favorably with Channels (at least in the UI department).
I also tried NextPVR for a couple of months but decided it (and Kodi) didn't have anything near an adequate WAF.
At this point, if I were to choose between Channels and Genie, I would pick Channels. If for no other reason than not having to put up with the ads that come up 15 or 20 seconds after you hit pause on Genie. I'm pretty sure my wife would go with Genie, mostly out of familiarity.
I’d like to mention a few things I miss about Genie and, perhaps, spur a discussion of what other Channels users miss from DVRs past.
PIG (and Picture-in-wherever-you-are). I liked that you could navigate pretty much anywhere in the UI without disturbing whatever you were watching. Didn’t matter if you were watching a recording or live TV. Navigate anywhere in the UI then hit “exit” and go back to the program full-screen. The PIP implementation in Channels (at least for the Android TV client) is a bad joke by comparison.
Genie kept a stack of UI navigations. Hit the guide button while watching something. Hit exit to get back to what you were watching. Open Now Playing. Hit the guide again just for fun. Exit back to the program. Go into the menus. Now start hitting the back button to revisit all those places in reverse order.
Genie provided much more detailed information on individual shows on the main info page for the show. You could also get a decent cast list for many shows. Then you could click on a performer and find other available shows they were in. I think there were other goodies on the show-info screen, but my memory is already fading.
DoublePlay. I’m not a sports fan, but I used this a lot during major news events.
Saving the buffer when you decide to record something you are watching live. I really wish the Channels team would bite the bullet and move the live TV buffer to the server, at least as an option.
Sorry if this seems overly negative toward Channels. I like Channels a lot and look forward to seeing the platform progress.