My feedback so far

I downloaded the iOS beta last night (thanks for the invite) and used it to watch some TV last night and this morning. Here are my comments so far:

  • On the ‘on now’ and ‘guide’ screens, is it possible that the hardest press 3D touch action can ‘pop’ into the live feed of the channel? To me that would be kind of cool, so I could just skip past viewing the program info quickly without an additional tap.
  • A startup screen preference setting would be nice, where you could choose to either have the ‘on now’ screen or ‘guide’ screen show up when you first launch the app. I think for me, I am gravitating towards the grid guide and will often times be starting up the app and immediately going to the guide view tab.
  • I said this in one of the public threads, but I’ll repeat it here. A mode for the iOS app to act as a remote control for the Apple TV app could be pretty neat and useful.
  • This request may be out there a little bit, but here goes: Once the DVR server is in beta, an option in the iOS app to use the DVR for transcoding (provided the system the DVR is running on meets the specs to transcode) I’ve got a feeling that may be a bit tricky for quality assurance reasons, but being able to choose to transcode live TV or recorded shows at the DVR should mean that viewing via slower/older wireless connections should be improved, and could mean you’d be able to watch shows on your phone or tablet further away from your router than you currently can without worrying about the picture or sound starting to break up.
  • This one doesn’t bother me and it’s a small one, but I think that if you’re going to default the app to a purple color scheme (obviously it’s the color you use heavily for marketing), an option to choose between a few basic color schemes could be nice, like grey, blue, red and green.

Other than those things, the app has been great. Performance wise I’ve had no issues so far. I plan on using it quite a bit over the next few days and will post any additional feedback that I may have.

Good thought about DVR transcoding but there is another option for users that don’t require the Prime cable support.

Could the iOS Channels App support the transcoding of the HDHomeRun Extend? The Extend will transcode from MPEG2 to H264 which could be a big benefit for iOS devices. It would certainly reduce the network bandwidth required. I also wonder if h624 could allow use of GPU decoding instead of the CPU MPEG2 decoding. The CPU decoding works even newer devices fairly hard using battery on my iPad Air2 as fast as any app I use.

The app already works with the Extend transcoder, just like the tvOS app. You can click on you Extend under Settings and pick the transcoding mode.

Ah, okay. My point stands for the other HDHR models. I have a the Prime and so there’s no way to transcode.

I didn’t notice the transcoding option on the iOS app but it has been an update or two since I checked the settings. I have tried transcoding with the AppleTV Channels app although I turned the transcoding off as all my AppleTVs are hardwired on a gigabit network. The transcoding will bring more benefit to wireless devices and the future DVR.

I’ll check out the iOS transcoding tonight.

Interesting results with iOS Channels app when using transcoding.

Only played around for a short time yesterday but I was surprised to experience frequent screen freezes when using the ‘mobile’ transcoding option that don’t occur with transcoding turned off. My test was on an Ipad Air 2 on ac wireless network watching a local station with a strong signal. I turned transcoding to ‘mobile’ and every couple of minutes the audio and video would freeze for a second or so. IMO frequently and long enough to be annoying. Turned transcoding off and returned to the same station with the Ipad in the same location and didn’t experience any freezes.

I have not noticed any freezes when using transcoding on the AppleTV app. I did not get around to testing other transcoding options or check transcoding impact on battery usage yet but I will.

Keep up the good work. The iOS beta has already come quite a long way since the original.

Thanks for testing. The app currently uses CPU for h264 decoding which is probably causing the issues you’re seeing. I’m working on a GPU decoder.

CPU h264 decoding makes sense. Although I will say you seem to have the MPEG2 CPU decoder working well with the A8 CPU (I’ve tested that with Ipad Air 2 and iPhone 6). Let me know when you have the GPU h264 decoder ready and I will be happy to retest. In addition to performance I’m interested to see the difference CPU vs GPU decoding makes in battery usage.

I’ve been very happy using this app for the last 6 days. You guys have knocked out various bugs I’ve seen before I even had a chance to post about them here, so kudos for your quickness. The viewing experience (which is the most important since it is after all a TV viewing app) has been solid. The only issue I’ve run into is the amount of bandwidth required to watch TV through the app, which in the real world means a lower wi-fi signal can’t support the app, while it obviously can still support other video services which require much less bandwidth. This is an area where I could see some value to tying mobile transcoding into the DVR server software down the road. This is definitley not a big ticket item, but rather something to consider adding on down the road.