Questions about Commercial Skipping

2 questions regarding commercial skipping:

  1. Just how much CPU power does it take to use this feature? What extra work does the computer have to do for this?

  2. If I enable commercial skipping, does anything other than Channels use it? Or can I export videos without commercials to another folder where I can watch them without commercials with another viewing program?

There's a bit of background to #1 that may help. I'm currently using a rather old Mac Mini for Channels and a few other things. I'd like to buy a small form computer, maybe ITX or close to that, and use it for Channels and as a file server for video, audio, and image files. I'd rather be able to put money into more storage space than in trying to max out a CPU. Sure, I don't want to go so cheap on CPU specs that the system has trouble working as a file server and recording videos for Channels (and commercial skipping), but I also don't want to go over the top on power.

It really depends on the processor, and how many threads of the processor that you allow comskip to use. I see somewhere between 5% and 15% per comskip instance (per show) on an older Core i5-2500k. What can really hammer a processor is when you have a couple of remote clients connecting requiring software transcoding - that can easily reach 50% to 90% (or more) processor usage. It does, however, seem that the dynamic transcoding that Channels is currently doing mitigates the hit on the processor (Eric would need to confirm if that really is the case).

Thank you.

If I'm using, say, VLC, or another video player, than isn't it that program that does the transcoding? It would seem to me that about the only time the transcoding happens on the server is when Channels is creating the file (and, according to my understanding, since I use two HDHomeRun quad tuners, that Channels just uses the data they provide and sves that as the file), that the only transcoding that MAY happen on that file server is if I use Channels to play back a file.

Am I close in that?

See Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a PC or NAS (or other device) acting as a Channels DVR Server on your LAN, and your recordings directory is shared on the network, then yes, you are correct. VLC would be bringing in the raw stream and decoding and rendering the video on the [other] client PC.

If you're using the Channels software to watch in a browser on a client PC, then the server will be transcoding as I don't believe there is an option to direct stream to a client browser. It would be interesting to see Channels release a true client for the PC. On the other hand, when you can grab a Fire TV stick for between $25 and $50, and stream the raw data on a LAN, I finally just pretty much quit watching TV on a PC. Plus I would really miss the comskip.

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Okay, so I understand that one issue: If I'm using something else (I'm using InFuse on Apple TV for a lot of my viewing), then the transcoding task is done by the viewing device.

Does the comskip work only when viewing from Channels? (The reason I rarely use Channels to view my recordings is because I prefer to start watching a show and for the player to autoplay through all the episodes from where I start until the latest recorded and Channels has limits there.)

I tried Fire and won't be using it again. One service I subscribe to is Britbox. I could not use my Britbox subscription on Amazon (and it was a nightmare getting it away from Roku - I have to wait for it to expire and THEN transfer it!). Amazon said, "Oh, sir, just cancel your current subscription and start a new one through Amazon." I said, "It won't expire for 10 months." Well, basically, with some services, you can't use a subscription on Fire unless you buy that subscription through Amazon! (I tried a number devices, but all had issues. Roku couldn't work with Channels. Fire had subscription issues, and so on. Apple TV was the only device I found that made it easy to do all I wanted.)

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Generally speaking, yes, comskip is used within the Channels system. More specifically, I believe there is a way in the settings (a checkbox) to export the *.edl file, which means that any software that understands the comskip edl output file could theoretically use it. That said, I'm pretty sure that Channels (the app) on the Apple TV device is very well supported, and if the Apple TV device is on the LAN, then it can be set to stream directly with no transcoding (as I understand it).

I respect your opinions on any hardware and software and you can certainly choose whatever pleases you.

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Well, you should be happy to see this then:


Oh, that's cool!

How long until it makes it to the production version? And how stable are the beta versions?

(Just found this after about a week - still sitting in an open browser tab. I could have sworn I hit "Reply," but I guess I didn't!)

Beta versions are usually stable, features just change a lot. Feel free to join the beta at

When you install the beta, it installs side by side with the store release, so you can use either app.

Is this true for the Android Version as well? After signing up for the Beta, it provides the following message (see below). It makes it sound like the Beta App will replace the current public app (I haven't tried it yet).

You'll receive an update to the Channels DVR app if you already have it installed on your device.

If you don't have the Channels DVR app installed, download it on Google Play.

Note: It can take a while for you to receive the update.

You can leave the testing program at any time. You can switch to the public version of the app if that's available.
To switch to the public version:

1. Uninstall the testing version.
2. Install the public version on Google Play.

Note: It can take up to a few hours before you can download the app's public version.

This is not true for Android.

With Android TV, it will replace the store version and it will stay on the beta version. You will have to manually switch back to the store version in Android TV, as it describes.

Additionally, this feature is not on the Android TV right now anyways, its only on iOS and tvOS.

Understood, thank you for the clarification.

This is one of those times when life gets in the way of things one would like to get done. So I just got back to this last night.

First, thanks, @maddox, for the beta link. I'm using the beta version of Channels on my Apple TV and it's working fine. It makes a big difference to me that I can use Autoplay now. I've been using a video player, but it has issues that the developers aren't fixing, so this is a major help to me.

As to the main issue - commercial skipping: At this point, I have a new computer for a file server and it should be enough to handle regular DVR work, commercial skipping, and acting as a file server. It's just a simple server, so it doesn't have programs doing transcoding for any viewing programs. It's just for storage for media files and backups.

(Well, okay, sometimes it will be using Apple's Time Machine to save data backups to another device, but that's it.)

I'll be running Debian Linux on this server. (That's the distro I used to use in my business, over a decade ago. I know there are a lot of changes, but using the same distro that I used to will probably make it a tad easier to ease back into Linux.)