TVE Low Stream Quality Issue

I've noticed that the stream quality for many channels is definitely worse than the stream in the standalone app. It looks to be about 480p in Channels DVR vs 1080p in their respective apps. I especially notice it with ESPN, where in the ESPN app, it will start off looking like 480p, and then snap up in resolution once the buffer catches up, whereas the stream in Channels DVR just stays in 480p and never goes up in resolution.

Is there a chance Channels DVR is accidentally requesting a lower quality stream in my setup? I'm running on a Raspberry Pi 4, which might not officially supported, so maybe there's something in that build that's different than other builds?

The DVR always tries to pick the highest bandwidth stream. Do you see this behavior all the time on ESPN or only randomly? Any other channels affected?

It's all the time on ESPN. US Open tennis is noticeably sharper in the ESPN app compared to Channels DVR. I also compared other ESPN shows just to rule out maybe something wrong with their particular feed from the US Open. I've been running Channels DVR on my Pi for almost a week, and I wanted to be sure about it before I posted this issue, so I checked another channel I watch less frequently (FX), and it appears low resolution as well when comparing to the native app feed.

What device are you running Channels on? Is it at home and set to Original quality?

If you make an ESPN recording and check View Details on it via the web UI, what does it show for resolution?

The DVR is on my Raspberry Pi 4, and I'm running channels on an Apple TV 4K. Settings are Home and Original quality.

When I check View Details for Pardon the Interruption on ESPN, it says 720p HDTV.

If you watch the recorded file in VLC does it look the same as on the app?

The espn website is giving us a 720p 60fps 10mbps feed which is what the DVR records. It seems like that's what's in your recorded file.

It may technically be 720p, but it's definitely low bit rate. Watching live or recorded in the Channels app is the same. I'd try to watch in VLC, but my Pi 4 is headless and I don't have file sharing set up, so that's not something I can do quickly.

If it helps, my provider is Spectrum. I also had Channels DVR set up on my MacBook Air a couple of months ago, and didn't notice any difference in quality, so it might be something specific to the Raspberry Pi. I definitely can see a difference. In the ESPN app, it starts at what looks like 480p, and then "snaps" to HD after about 5 seconds and you can see the resolution jump, just like in Netflix. In Channels, it never "snaps" to just stays in low resolution for whatever reason.

The ESPN app starts at low bitrates and switches once it starts playing.

The DVR always starts at the highest bitrate from the beginning. You should be getting a 10mbps stream.

The DVR code is the same regardless of where it's running, so the RPI shouldn't make a difference.

Do you notice a difference between the ESPN app and in a browser?

Same experience for me. Using the ESPN app on AppleTV 4K looks amazing. Using via channels is def appears to be maxing out on a lower quality stream. Watching MNF.

The quality looks the same as what I see on

The feeds in their Apple TV app do look better, so they must be using different higher quality feeds for their app as compared to their website.

Gotta say, AppleTV 4K PQ is fantastic on an OLED. Thx.

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We made some improvements to ESPN quality in the latest dvr build. Please try it out and share your experiences.

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I have noticed ESPNs streaming quality is improved and seems to match the quality in their native app. Just out of curiosity, what exactly was changed under the hood?

We found a way to request a higher quality stream from their servers.


espn looks great to me in the channels app but I have a similar experience as above with local fox sports channels. I get motion blur and what looks like some dropped frames in the channels app but the fox apps look great. I'm using a fire stick 4k on a 4k tv... set to original quality and hardware decoding. Software decoding seems to be a little worse. Could a better stream be available from fox sports as well?