Please add PIP


Many of the other video streaming apps offer PIP, can you please add this so I can watch/listen to some live TV while doing other things?

Thank you


Unfortunately the video stream that comes from the hdhomerun is not compatible with PiP on iOS. If it were we would have added this feature ages ago.


You could have an option to transcode it.


I doubt transcoding mpeg2 for PIP would be possible on the 4th gen Appletv as the A8 is fairly maxed out already. However it could be possible on the 4K Appletv as the A10 cpu is much more capable. Transcode the mpeg2 to something the A10 can play natively using hardware support and PIP could work.

Not sure if the devs are interested in going down the path of different feature sets and code for different Apple devices.


If Tuner sharing is enabled would the DVR software not transcode the image anyway? If so, would that transcoded feed be PiP compatible with iOS?


No, tuner sharing does not transcode. It is a simple multiplexing proxy which uses very little CPU.

You can enable transcoding though, and we already have a beta version available on the forums that lets you use PiP via a transcoded DVR stream. You can also use iOS safari to access your DVR and launch a PiP player from there.


So I need to be apart of the iOS beta to access it? Or just use Beta DVR software?


just my opinion here, but Apple screwed the entire universe when they applied the term “Picture-in-Picture” to the iOS feature they created. i may be wrong here, but i’m not so sure the original poster was asking for PIP in the sense that most devs think these days. i’ve asked about PIP before, and i know for a fact practically everyone who responded had no clue what i was talking about. the term PIP has been so mutilated that even the ESPN app has had to coin a new name to the true meaning of PIP. ESPN calls it Multicast. Apple’s idea of PIP is reducing an app to a small floating window allowing access to the Home screen, and hence further navigation of the system. this has screwed us all because the real meaning of PIP is viewing two or more multimedia streams on a single screen, with each image being scaled equally or layering one or more small streams over a primary fullscreen stream. I’m going to put it out there that i think when your Channels users are asking about PIP, they aren’t asking for PIP in the sense that Apple has evolved but the meaning of the word that’s been around since premium televisions of the 80s and later, which oddly enough even newer tvs have stopped including as a feature. all that said, no matter what you call it, i like many others would like to be able to view two or more channels at the same time on a single screen with various options for “window” arrangement, to include easy audio switching of which channel is to be heard.

edit: if there’s any question what i’m talking about, download the ESPN app for tvOS and play around with Multicast. that’s what i and others are asking for in Channels. is it possible?


Hang on. What if the channels are all mpeg4? Doesn't iOS support that?


I think the problem in the past has been that even though the stream being sent to ATV is MPEG4 they still use Channels Video Player (not sure of technical name) and not the ATV Native Video Player. Most Apps (like maybe ESPN) are using the ATV Native Video Player which avoids some of the problems. I think using the ATV Native Video Player would add more options but maybe a major coding problem for Channels.


Not just that, but that Channels' player (which is based on VLC IIRC) is needed to properly support MPEG2 streams, which are what most broadcasts are. While some streams may be H.264/AVC, the majority are definitely not.


Just saw that tvOS 13 beta 2 has a PIP feature for multiple tasking. Is this limited to viewing within a secondary app, or is it something that can be incorporated into Channels? Easier said than done I am sure, and not high on the want list from me, but wanted to raise the question.


We won’t be a able to add PIP on tvOS for the same reason we haven’t added it on iPad. We can’t.

Apple’s PIP requires the use of their native video player and Channels doesn’t use that. Apple’s native video player doesn’t support the video format that comes from HDHomeRun tuners. Channels has a custom video player that allows us to play back the video.

We’d love to support this feature and we’d do it on day one if it was possible, but unfortunately it is not.


Could it be added if paired with a DVR server, to transcode the video before being sent to the device? Make it an optional feature, similar to tuner sharing?


So what you’re saying is that we should ask SiliconDust to change their video format?


No. The tuners—and therefore SiliconDust—have nothing to do with the raw stream coming from the tuner. The video format is what is being broadcast, which is usually MPEG-2 encoded, which Apple's native video player cannot play. (This is why Channels uses a custom video player.)


With TVE Streams being MPEG4 that would mean they would be compatible with the Apple TV native video player? Now, a very high percentage of my streams are TVE and if at some point the local stations are supported it will be like 99.9% Native MPEG4. Would that not make more sense to use the native Apple TV Video Player?

This topic has come up many times in this forum for various reasons including this topic. Would supporting the Apple TV Native Video Player be a major rewrite or the product and that is why it is simply not practical?

Since you guys seem to make things look easy we probably are not just not understanding the difficulty in doing it.


It is not easy. It’s also not just a matter of decoding the video. We have our own buffer and streamer that is incorporated in the playback.


It really is a shame that Apple is lacking native support for MPEG2 and transport streams in their native players. It makes it more difficult for truly innovative developers to integrate their work into Apple's limited API.


Ah. Forgot about the streaming buffer which is a huge feature to have to give up if not supported by the native ATV Streamer. I remember in the very beginning when the buffer feature was added it was a very welcome feature.