Settle a score about HDHomeRun and Channels

The channels App on the Apple TV is in my opinion, the best way to watch live OTA programming. I always recommend Channels! However there is a cord cutting site that refuses to acknowledge Roku’s inability to play OTA broadcast without trans-coding. They always blame the HDHomeRun tuners for not formatting the video correctly. I try to tell them that HDHomeRun is simply passing the original video signal out to Channels, and Channels is then just passing it to the Apple TV WITHOUT the need to trans-code it. I tell them that no trans-coding is necessary because Channels and the Apple TV can play the OTA natively. I try to tell them the reason HDHomeRun tuners won’t play natively on a Roku, is because Roku’s are not able to play the stream directly.

Can someone give me a little better summary I can pass on ?

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OTA programming is broadcast using the mpeg2 video codec, in an mpegts container.

The Roku does not have an mpeg2 decoder. It is optimized for web-based streaming, which uses the H264 video codec instead.

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Thanks ! Why wonder you’re one of the developers !!!

That was BS when you posted it and still is now. Plex has had it available on Roku ever since they added their Live TV & DVR. You just check a box to turn it on within the Plex App on the Roku which tells me it's a software/coding issue.

Furthermore I am watching Live TV via the deprecated Roku Beta App it is utilizing my server for transcoding, but the load on the processor is 0.00 on average! My computer is fast, but I have many background programs running including both Channels and Plex. I hope I figured out how to record without the server transcoding today. That's a whole nother gripe session.
Channels only saving grace is TV Everywhere when it works...

We choose to not support devices that can’t play back natively and that require transcoding. This guarantees a better experience, the same goes for trying to transcode to disk with live video. Plex is surely not an example of this going off without a hitch, as this is probably the number one reason people have issues with its Live TV and DVR.

Our goal is to set good expectations with things that will work, not things that hopefully work under perfect circumstances.

Additionally, we just flat out don’t think Roku is a good platform for our software. While it has a lot of market share, it’s filled with $29 devices that can barely play low bitrate Netflix well, much less our video.

Sure there are plenty of people with higher end Roku devices and fans that will make sure they use nicer devices, but that doesn’t leave out the fact that people will inevitably use the really bad slow ones.

That’s a recipe for people being let down with nothing we can do to help them except suggest to buy another device.


This post is more than three years old, from April 2018.

Roku did add mpeg2 support, but that was part of Roku 9.0 which was released in October 2018.

Unfortunately their support is still very limited. It doesn't work with the hdhomerun PRIME, takes 10s+ to tune into live mpegts, and is unable to pause/rewind without remuxing.


Not sure what you are referring to in regards to "BS". Unfortunately I do have some Roku Smart TV's that we have Apple TV's hooked up to and use the Apple TV's exclusively. Roku's are cheap and that's really all they have going for them. I've used Roku's quite a bit back in the day so I do have experience with them. Roku's stink when it comes to their support of MPEG2 OTA video. I'm a lifetime subscriber to Plex and Emby and they are both great for streaming media but their Live TV function is horrible too. Before we cut the cord years ago believe me I tested everything before the wife was open to cutting cable. And the only thing that works smooth quick and without any issue is the great Channels App paired with an Apple TV. The Channels App is the best in the world and with an HDHomerun box and an Apple TV it's the best. No stuttering, freezing, slow performance etc like you get with Plex Live TV. Once you've converted you'll never go back to Roku !!!!


I have an HD Homerun Prime Plex and Channels. On my Roku Ultra 3 nights ago I watched Live TV on Channels. There is no commercial skipping. There are no actual settings it is an early beta app. I am set not to transcode so full resolution through Channels.

Before I started using Channels I used to watch all of my live TV on Plex through the HDHomerun Prime because my cable dvr was fubar. I can pause ff/rwd. I also recorded all my shows direct so full resolution mpeg2 with both 5.1, 2.0 AC3 audio & sub titles in a .TS rapper.
In the Plex settings you check a box to allow for mpeg2 playback.

I do not have experience with OTA & Channels, but many Plex users use OTA exclusively. I plan on adding an OTA tuner this year for my local and PBS stations. You just can't beat OTA for pure picture quality. I have my aerial on my roof from 1970 and upgraded it years ago with RG6 which goes directly to my TV so every once in a while I check out the news or something on it just because.

If you're happy with your ATV's I won't knock them. My major gripe about them compared to my Rokus is that I have an extensive blue ray collection. It took a long time to rip them in pure uncompressed form with their DTS and Dolby 7.1 tracks and now DTS-X and Dolby Atmos and ATV's just weren't compatible with so many formats of audio and video for years.

Now I'm not talking about a Roku Stick or a Roku TV. However when I installed a TCL 55" 4K and soundbar system for my parents a few years ago the first thing I did was playback the One 4K BD I had over Plex on that TV. Blade Runner the final cut. The TV immediately recognized the Dolby Vision and Atmos. At that time it would have been impossible for an ATV to play it back without remuxing the audio and not passing the Dolby Vision.

There are several other reasons that I like Roku's over the plethora of devices on the market. I'll just tell you one. Long before Roku even put a Netflix button on there own remote I was programming Direct to Service Buttons (i.e. any favorite you had on your home screen I could make a custom button for it) on custom remotes and integration/automation systems long before we are where we are now with Home Automation.

I have an Nvidia Shield TV I use now for everything, but I had hip replacement surgery 5 weeks ago and my shield was downstairs with me the first 4 weeks. I haven't had a chance to set the Shield back up yet that'll be tomorrow.

To Summarize:
I do not understand how you can claim mpeg2 does not work when I have proof that it does.
I do not know if it is coding or hardware toggle in Plex I just know for sure that I am able to watch mpeg2 in live or recorded form on my Roku Ultra...

I apologize for my tone or flamyness I've been in lot of pain lately living on minimal or no sleep ending up with screeds here and there!