NEW: Improved Apple TV support for HDMI-CEC and Bluetooth remotes

Thanks for this awesome feedback!

I just put another build out resolving some of these issues.

  • Improved: Changing channels with number input would let you change to channels on disabled sources.
  • Improved: Extended the time given to input channel numbers
  • Fixed: Jump To Last Channel would not work when channel surfing
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Silly question but is it at all possible to consider exposing an API interface for sending key commands if it's not already there? Would be interesting to be able to script commands for home automation use without having to use harmony as an intermediary. Doesn't channels expose itself as an http interface off the AppleTV?


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I am really liking the new functions and now moved back to the Sony remote for my daily driver.

A couple of things:

  • When you use the channel up/down, and sometimes using quick guide, I'm getting some random errors popping up briefly like "Channel unavailable", etc. Its just for a split second and then the channel is fine.
  • When you use the channel up/down to change channels, and then try to use the "last" button to jump between two channels, its seems to have lost the last channel. I can get the same effect if I use the quick guide and change channels quickly skipping through several. But normally it does have the current and lat to flip back and forth between.

Looks like you already fixed the 2nd one there.

I have an issue I'll ask about here even though its not directly related to Channels. I have a Sony X900F and using the Sony remote when I turn off the TV, it never puts the Apple TV to sleep. Using my cheap universal remote it does. Is anyone else running into this? I'd like to leave Channels in Live TV when I turn off the TV, so that when things come back on the ATV will wake up and be still in Live TV. But odd that it won't sleep. CEC should cause that to happen I would think.

Is this on the latest beta that came out last night? If not, give the latest a try and see if it still happens. Work was done to prevent it.

I don't think CEC will sleep the device and i'm not sure how the universal one is doing it. Maybe instead the apple tv was just going to sleep on it's own after a while?

We really don't suggest doing this. You wouldn't keep Netflix running while not using the device, you shouldn't leave Channels running either.

These are such great updates and I am so impressed with the developer team. Thank you!

Here is my beloved Harmony 650 remote in one of my rooms, it’s IR based but lasts for many months on two AA batteries, and controls my setup very well. Easy and reliable. Now I‘ve added channel favorites that I can tune to with a button press, and they work with Channels DVR. Considering all of the ingredients involved and cooperating to make this work so elegantly, this brings me great joy. Again, thank you to the Channels developer team! Can’t wait to see what you’re cooking up next!


Well I'd only do it if the Apple TV goes to sleep, which is exactly what happens if I do it from the Siri remote. It sleeps the streaming app, powers of the TV. When I wake things up, its right where it left off. With CEC, if the controlling device is the TV, then it would need to signal the attached device to power off or sleep if the TV turns off. I thought that was the point.

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Can you provide a little more detail about how you got to a specific channel from a click on the remote? Does this work from if Channels is not the active app, or is that assumed. I haven't had luck with a channel number for anything but OTA channels. Are the ones you are showing TVE channels, or are you using a cable card HDHR?

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Ha, that is true. Like, that's the whole point of CEC. This isn't a remote thing. Very odd indeed.

He programmed a macro to enter the channel number. So when he taps the channel on the remote, it enters the channel number via the number inputs.

The MyHarmony app allows the creation of channel favorites for the default “Watch TV” activity. So I didn’t “create macros” as much as I entered the channels I wanted, uploaded channel logos into the app, and synced the remote. This is how I previously had it set up with TiVo, and figured the same sort of thing wouldn’t be possible in an app like Channels. This new feature brought it back for me.

The remote emits those numbers and now that Channels recognizes them, it changes the channel when I am watching live TV. I am using TVE but this would work with any channel from any source that you can now tune to with a compatible remote by pressing the number keys.

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My Samsung has this option, my Sony does not, as best as I can tell:

Not sure it would have helped you regardless but figured I’d mention it nonetheless. It’s interesting to see how very differently each company handles the CEC “standard.” Every recipe of various AV ingredients seems to have different results. When CEC works, it’s great (as this new feature attests.) It makes it easier to use easy remotes. But it can also be inconsistent across brands and TV models, and when it doesn’t work, it can be quite frustrating.

I’m really glad to see the Channels team forging ahead and making the best out of CEC, even though it works differently on different TV’s. That innovative and experimental spirit is what’ll keep me as a Channels customer for life.

Ah, it must just do this for you then, nice!

Which device do you have the Harmony using to send the keypad numbers? The TV, or the profile/device you're using as the AppleTV?

One of the nice things about the Harmony Hub integration and the 'Harmony Pro / BT Apple TV 4' device is the ability to set an 'input' as part of the startup sequence. The 'inputs' correspond to the top row of apps on the Apple TV. But for me it's dog slow, like 10 seconds or more before it actually opens the app. Is anyone else experiencing this? Is there a way to speed it up? I'd like to customise my startup sequence to open the Channels app and send the Live TV command.

In this case it’s a Sony TV that is receiving the numerical button commands from my Harmony (IR) remote. This new beta feature from Channels is taking advantage of HDMI-CEC in order to translate those commands into channel changing in the app.

Yes, I do need to be watching live TV in Channels first for these buttons to work. I have assigned the red button on the remote to be a shortcut to “Live TV” (which is also a new beta feature) so getting into that mode is always just one button press away.

I haven't been successful getting Channels to switch to a 4 digit channel number, so I assumed it didn't support directly addressing a TVE channel. Maybe the timing update will fix that.

I have a Harmony Elite and a couple of other Harmonys that I'm not using. I may have to pull it out of mothballs and give it a try. I've resisted doing it because I want the same remote on every TV and not looking to buy more remotes that cost more than the ATV4K! I wish Logitech would make a really compact remote... they have one, but it doesn't seem to have good reviews. Something the size of the Tivo Stream 4K remote would be nice to have Harmony abilities.

Ok, thanks. I could have sworn that the Sony was doing it at one point prior to this recent Channels CEC exercise. It may not be an option thing but I would think would just work. If you turn off the TV, when would you ever not want to turn off what is feeding it content? I'll keep fiddling with it and see if I can figure it out.

Speaking of remote control and cool things that are possible with Channels running off an AppleTV, check out its support for Siri Shortcuts. Lots of things are possible and easily invokable not only by voice, but by touching your iPhone to an NFC tag. I have a bunch of these stickers around the house, they're less than $1 each and fun to play around with. Simply touching my iPhone to them performs different actions. This is off-topic for this thread though so please continue discussion about it here:

I guess I was dreaming that the Sony remote was turning on the Apple TV because now I can't get it to do that either. If I go to a different input, it will turn off the Blueray player from the TV remote. There is a setting in Bravia Sync that's purpose is to power off the HDMI attached device when the TV turns off, but Apple TV isn't liking it.