@eric, I hear you, but frankly disagree on some of your points.
First, I’ve not seen it fail in the browser version. In fact, I watched FNC for several hours yesterday on an airplane of all places and it ran just fine. Better than in channels from the perspective of this particular error.
Second, you do not have to support users resolving their own network, external disk drive, Nas, etc errors and issues. It’s very nice that you do, but the reality is you need to support your product to the extent that you show the issue is NOT your product. The community is the proper place to support those other issues.
Thirdly, you’ve spent far more time IMHO working on new features (transcoders) than this issue. Maybe I’m wrong but I can only give you my impression based on the activity in the forums.
Lastly, did you do the search that I suggested earlier in the week? There are numerous reports of this error against this server in the ffmpeg forums (you use ffmpeg, right?) with solutions to them.
You’re right that you’re at the mercy of what the stream providers send, but only to a point. You’re responsible for how your program reacts to and handles errors.
I say all of this from the perspective of someone who has been responsible for providing technical support for 4+ fortune 100 tech companies over the last 25 years.
Here are a few suggestions for you guys. You don’t have to follow any of them, but I’m going to put them out there anyway because I love your product, want to see it succeed even more, and will continue to recommend it.
Listen to your user community and respond to them in some way but do what you can to do it more efficiently. There are a lot of requests for features that seem to fall on deaf ears (ie; changing the colors, clocks, PIPs, overlays of guide data). Put together an FAQ that establishes your position on these types of things and point users to them. You used to do this for DRM as an example.
Put together a solid self-help guide. This can be jointly maintained by you and your users. New users can leverage this as opposed to writing you directly. And, if you have this then you can quickly point users to this.
I’ll reiterate, questions on recommended hardware, network issues, etc. are not in your realm of direct responsibility. Your users and an FAQ can handle this.
Put some controls in place around the sprawl. Channels started out, I believe, as primarily an Apple ecosystem focused solution. Over the years its grown tremendously in what it supports. This grows the user base but it means you’re spread even more thinly. My point is, maybe address some of the current issues/requests before moving to support ARM devices or RPi4s.
All of these are meant as suggestions as to how you can streamline your time so that you can focus more on your product. One thing we all know is that when it comes to TV it’s a very different world in end user computing. The sensitivity to issues or tolerance of them is almost akin to stock trading. It’s just not the same as your typical app. You need to continue to improve over time in order to stay ahead of your competition. Providers such as Hulu, PS Vue, Sling, etc will eat your lunch when it comes to ease of use. You’re better than them now, but don’t rest on that. If you allow them to they will outpace you from a feature perspective over time and you will lose share to them. Right now, you’re ahead because of your ability to store recordings, skip commercials and your support, but you’re behind on things like ease of use, complexity and the limitation to add features do to your custom video player. You’re a small company competing against giants you’re continued success depends on your ability to innovate a solid and easy to implement product. You’re there now for the most part but I sense you’re at a critical juncture and need to adapt to the size that you’ve become.
We (my family) love Channels and want nothing but it’s continued success.