Unable to time shift with big buffer

Hi team

I've been using Channels for a few years now in Australia on digital TV on an AppleTV (3) 64Gb A1625 TvOS 14.2 with a HD Homerun quad tuner.

I generally only ever watch the one channel, and usually only in the morning. When I wake up I want to shift back to the nearest 30 minutes so I can get the news headlines. e.g. if it's 7:40, I shift back to 7:30am. I'll often skip back to the current time once I've seen the headlines but not always. When I'm done I turn off the TV but leave the Apple TV on, with the channel active in Channels.

Everything worked well until a few months ago when I was unable to time shift if the channel had been active for a while (and hence had a big buffer) - for instance if I left it on the channel for few days without exiting/changing channels to reset the buffer. I don't know exactly how long is too long for the buffer.

When it occurs, for instance from me pausing in preparation for the timeshift, the timeshift indicator will move to the far left of the timeline rather than the far right (current time). I know it's not going to work from there. If I then scrub to any point on the timeline the screen will be frozen on the frame and won't play. The only way to "fix" it is to exit out or change the channel - and unfortunately losing the entire buffer.

I know the AppleTV is old and the TvOS is EOL, probably meaning no updates can occur anyway. I do wonder if the same problem is occuring on "supported" Apple TVs as well though, before I think about upgrading.

The reality is I only really want a short buffer - maybe a few hours, not several days worth. I wonder if creating a configurable "max buffer" might help fix the problem?

LMK if I can offer any more details.


Please go to Settings -> Support -> Submit Diagnostic Logs from your device and let us know when it's been submitted so we can have a better idea of what was going on.

Hi Eric

Meant to mention I did that just before posting this.


I think I've found the diagnostics for you.

This sort of issue is not specific to the older Apple TV. We've heard reports of this happening before but it's been hard to track down.

Thank you for the description of the issue. I'm going to dig through the logs and see if anything in there makes sense to me to identify what's going on.

Thanks Eric.

So last night I set up a second Apple TV (the latest generation) to see if I can pick any differences between them.

I checked this morning on both and the problem hasn't occurred yet. It's generally fine the first morning after, so I'll check again tomorrow. I did take note of the buffer for the first time today though - the old Apple TV seems to have around 8 hours of buffer today and the new gen has around 6 hours of buffer - despite both being active for around 14 hours or more. So I now assume there is some "trim" or "rollout" function of the buffer.

I'll report back tomorrow, hopefully with a video recording of the problem occurring.


So it happened again today on the Apple 3. Video here of the behaviour:

I uploaded the diagnostics around 20:10 UTC 25 Jan 2022.

It also happened on the 4k 2nd gen. Video here:

I uploaded the diagnostics around 20:31 UTC 25 Jan 2022.

In both cases I pause with the TV remote. The 3rd gen TV was Samsung, the 2ng gen 4k is an LG. I'll try next time with the Apple TV remote, but can't imagine it will be any different. The TV remote allows to fast forward it seems, but given it's over 12 hours of buffer I'd be there all day to catch up.

The only way out is to exit back to the guide and come back in with a clear buffer.

I can confirm the problem occurs with Apple TV remote as well. I first checked approx. 24 hours after the last reset and it was fine, but then I checked again a few hours later and the problem occurred again.

Please try the updated app version 5.2.2 that was released today. We've added extra debug logging that should help identify what's going on.

Thanks Eric, I have just updated and will report back:

Hi Eric

Issue occurred again this morning. Diagnostics uploaded around 1911 UTC 3 Feb

Hi @eric - any luck finding the cause of this? The issue persists. Cheers

We haven't yet. Could you submit diagnostics again right after this happens and give us the timestamp so we can see if anything new makes sense to us?

This is a very confusing issue and so far we haven't been able to reproduce it ourselves, so there's something specific about your environment that is tripping something up.

It happened again today. I paused with Apple TV remote.

Uploaded at 20:07 UTC April 19

(I didn’t check the scrubbing - just saw the time line indicator was on far left as occurs when I have the problem - so quickly went to upload diagnostics straight away.)

Could you update to the latest app version? It looks like you're a few behind.

It would be helpful if you do seek a few times before you submit the diagnostics. We get additional log messages when you seek that could provide more context. Also, if it's possible to take another video that corresponds to when you're seeking when you submit diagnostics, it'll let us understand what you're seeing when it's happening.

Again, I'm sorry you're having to go through all of this. I'm really confused why I can't replicate the same situation on my own AppleTV when I leave it over night.

All good, happy to help. Will update today and do all this in a couple of days when it happens again.

Hi @eric

It occurred again this morning. Video of behaviour here:

Video taken at 06:44 AEST. Channels has been open on Channel 70 (7HD - 1080i HDTV
(MPEG-4)) for about a day and a half without being touched (since the upgrade). First step was pressing pause on my Samsung TV remote. This caused the timeline to shift hard left. It seems the skip fwd 30 seconds may have been working on the TV remote (either it was slow to catch up, or it needed to press play after ffwd, not sure). But then, scrubbing forward to the desired time (06:30 on the timeline) is where it fails. It freezes on the previous position before the fast scrub, and requires an exit to guide to reset it - losing the whole buffer.

Diagnostics uploaded around Apr 21 20:45 or 20:50 UTC. Sorry - I got distracted by my son and re-opened TV for a short period after the video, so you'll see some additional logs at the end.

The one thing I notice is - assuming the black bars on the timeline indicate half hours - the timeline should go back to 11:30pm (06:30 14 bars = 7 hours) - which seems correct on the start point of the timeline. But the position marker shows 04:14 when at the start point.

Hope this helps. Let me know if there's anything else I can try.

(as a reminder, I was previously able to replicate this on the other Apple TV 4k on an LG TV - so doubt it's highly specific to my micro-environment on the TV in the video above)

I believe I have identified the issue you're running into and have a fix.

Unfortunately we don't have a way for you to use the Testflight build without having a DVR so I am looking for how you can most easily test this out.

Any thoughts on how to get me a test build? Thanks