Paired HomePod Experience

Perplexing. The issues were not limited to ATSC 3.0. It affected all channels and also the navigation within Channels.

Happy that’s it better; just like to know root cause.

14.4 for the Homepods also got released

My 2c, I have a HomePod pair setup for a client who are using Channels DVR. They are using a standard non hdhomerun only, no tVE no 4k. Initially they had sync issues which were exacerbated on Channels more than any other app. I addressed that by using the wireless sync and also turn the surround feature in Channels off. Since then they have not had any sound issues.

Their Apple TV is wired. Wfifi coverage is well setup for the Homepods.

I have also had issues with the dual HomePod setup and Channels. It is the only app that ever has these problems, but after reading through this and doing some tweaking I was able to mitigate it by:

  • Turning off Surround Sound in Channels
  • Enabling the Experimental audio driver

Turning off surround is not really a big deal for me, as I mostly use Channels to watch the local news/sports via OTA or stream cable news via TVE. I almost never watch movies and most of the other TV shows it's probably not a huge loss on. This fixes most of the lag I experienced using time shifting.

It seems like the Experimental audio driver fixed what as a sometimes noticeable audio sync issue. This could usually be fixed by pausing and starting again after starting the channel stream, but in the last day or two the lag was so bad TV was mostly unwatchable.

My experience with Channels is terrible with stereo HomePods. It seems to have started after the PIP release was put out but even with PIP turned off I still have issues. If I don’t use the experimental audio driver the sync with video seems off. If I do use it then the sync is fine but the whole thing locks up if I try to pause / rewind. The UI becomes completely unresponsive.

Please try the latest beta (2.16.2145).

Just installed 2.17.2057 along with TVOS 14.5 beta 2 and WOW! I’m using the experimental video and audio drivers and only for a few minutes so far but it’s working fantastic! Audio starts almost immediately, is synced, and ends immediately when pausing or exiting a channel.

FWIW, prior to 2.17.2057 I saw sync issues with 14.5 beta 2 that had previously been fixed with yesterday’s beta 2.16…..

It’s early testing but it looks really good so far…

I can also confirm HomePod audio seems to be working much better after updating to the latest pre-release. Live TV audio is in sync after about a 1-2 second pause when switching channels.

While streaming my imported movies I am still having issues. Audio is fine as long as I don’t forward or rewind. If I seek forward or rewind the video pause briefly but the audio continues causing. Once the video continues after 3-4 seconds the video is behind. If I exit the movie and come back in the audio works fine.

I am using both experimental audio and video drivers with surround sound turned on. Running iOS 14.4 on ATV 4K.

I tried 4-5 imported ripped movies and they all played fine for me. I’ve also played a recording and watched some additional live tv with no issues.

This looks really good from my perspective.

are you getting theatre mode

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Please submit diagnostics from the beta app after the imported playback audio issue.

Mine are set as the default audio for the ATV, so yes.

Tried the beta app and it works perfectly there.
Thanks for the improvements.

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Only stereo audio is sent to AirPlay speakers. I don't have the non-mini HPs, so I haven't been able to test anything related to theatre mode. In the diagnostics I saw so far, it reports itself the same way as the minis and says only 2ch audio is available. There must be some other private API required for surround sound in theatre mode.

The HPs are kind of interesting. I previously had SONOS which I really liked but moved to these because my SONOS were older and didn’t do AirPlay. I liked the idea of having the ability to voice control our HomeKit install as well. And, it’s easier for my wife to stream her music when she wants. We have 12 minis and a single HP pair spread throughout the house.

Overall, the HPs sound good but not as good as the older SONOS. When playing ATMOS through them they sound very good dare I say better than the SONOS.

Now, as far as surround sound goes that a bit difficult to tell for sure what going on with just two speakers in the front. But, running the surround test in Channels there is definite separation between left, center and right. Rear though comes clearly from the front with left and right correct.

Playing imported movies through Channels report 6 channels in the stats. To be fair, I’ve not really watched anything movie-wise to say whether it really sounds like 5.1 or stereo so I can’t comment further.

I swear though that playing the opening theme to Star Wars in ATMOS I heard parts of the song I’d never noticed before. It really caught my attention.

Overall, I have my doubts that these older HPs will ever sound great which is why I only bought one pair. I’m hopeful there will be a refresh later this year that brings the HP up on par with the minis in terms of capabilities and even better sound.

One thing I find interesting about the HPs is that people say they have too much bass. I find that they don’t have as much bass as my SONOS but perhaps I was overdriving the bass on the SONOS. Apple being Apple there’s a general lack of ability to equalize or boost bass or treble - major bummer.

Overall, though I am happy with the HomePods so far. Especially with the fixes @tmm1 has made in the last day or two! Thanks so much for your efforts there!

I'm looking into Theater Mode and would appreciate if someone can capture a sysdiagnose and send to [email protected] with dual HPs attached in Theater Mode and Channels app playing audio using experimental driver.

Here is the Apple doc on how to generate and download sysdiagnose file using AirDrop:

Logging (4th generation Apple TV & Mac)

  1. Reproduce the issue and generate a sysdiagnose by pressing and holding PLAYPAUSE and VOL- for 6 seconds, release the buttons and a dialog confirmation will appear on the TV screen.
  2. Follow the instructions on the TV screen to AirDrop the sysdiagnose log file from the Apple TV to your Mac.

Would you like this done using the current aTV app, or the latest TestFlight app?

With TestFlight app

Sysdiagnose emailed (let me know if the link goes through since it's quite a big file). Also submitted diagnostics to give you some app data.

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Wanted to mention one new thing with the experimental driver lately. The audio sync is good, and overall performance is much improved compared to the past when using AirPlay, but timing coming out of commercial skip always seems to give a pop of audio from the tail end of the commercials, before getting back into the main episode being watched. I don't hear this audio pop when using my normal tv audio.

Slightly off topic but claims that todays 14.5 tvOS beta update enables the HomePod minis and other airplay 2 speakers to be paired as default speakers, currently only available for the original HomePods. I haven't tested it myself but many users will find that useful.