Various small visual bugs/irritations

It would be nice if Channels could take a month or two to fix various minor (but on-going) irritations in the UI. These include:

  • Handling Posters (TV or movie) with unexpected aspect ratios. This was recently fixed in the Web UI and looks very nice (eg a poster that is "wider" not as "high" as the standard expected by the TV display is shown at correct aspect ratio, with a "blur" filling in the top and bottom of the image. This looks so much nicer (and is so much more USEFUL) than the iPad/iOS solution of selecting the center of the image and cropping out the edges.
    compare below
    Screenshot 2023-06-05 at 1.00.39 PM

  • Next consider the case of movies or TV specials that do not have poster art. (Not THAT common in general, but there are definitely some internet channels where nothing has poster art). The current solution is to display the channels icon (purple rectangle with test pattern in the center). Which is fine for the web browser (where there is text underneath given the movie name) but USELESS on iPad/iPhone.
    My suggestion is to create a poster for the file by burning the name of the file on top of that channels icon, or something similar. [Or hell, make some effort to try to grab a poster via an internet search? Even if this only works 80% of the time, at least it works, and for the other 20% we can still create a poster that just shows the name of the movie.)

  • Finally a complaint on the web side!
    Go to the Channels server web page and go to Live TV/On Later.
    This shows us a page of upcoming shows in various categories.

  1. Suppose we choose the topmost category (On Today) and click on a movie. We get a "popup" window that's inset within the primary window. This is nice because it is lightweight; it's easy and quick to dismiss and we're back where we were.

  2. Now scroll down a little to the bar showing 4 purple buttons that list things like TV Shows, Movies, Sports and Kids. Click on Movies.
    Now you get a display of all the upcoming movies the DVR knows about, categorized in various sections like Action, Comedy, Romance and so on. Superficially this looks very much like the previous On Today display. BUT it is coded using different Javascript! In particular, now when you click on a movie, you no longer get an "inset" popup window, instead you get a transition to a new page. This is a FAR worse user experience, because to go back you now have to perform a browser back button action, you lose your place in the window you jumped back to, sometimes (for random reasons redisplaying that window is slow, etc etc).
    The request is that you use the same JS that's used for On Today everywhere so that we always get this lightweight fast popup experience, never the slow "show movie in a separate HTML page" experience.

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Oh, I forgot one final inconsistency.
The web display in On Today, and in Upcoming movies, shows little badges indicating recording status. Especially useful are the green "playback arrow inside circle" badge indication that the movie has already been recorded, and the orange equivalent indicating that it is scheduled for recording.
It would be nice to have these badges indicated in the iOS app.

In fact the inconsistency goes both ways!
The "scheduled to be recorded" badge is displayed by both web UI and iOS apps, in slightly different but equally usable ways.
The web shows the "already recorded" badge with no iOS equivalent.
Meanwhile iOS shows a badge (a stylized floret/star image) that I think means "season premiere" which is not shown by the web UI!

My essential point is

  • please make all these things consistent and
  • please display all of them across all the UIs/apps, since they're all useful in their way.

The same change was made in the Android/Apple app betas at the same time.

The handling of images with incorrect aspects for the app and better placeholder art is literally being actively worked on and has been rolling out in betas for a couple weeks now. We're getting there.

Channels started as an app for content powered by its own guide data. That meant there was a guarantee of aspect and image availability. As external sources and local content were added, it introduced the opportunity for things to NOT have the right guide data. This is a growing pain that is being addressed. But as you can imagine, with the multiple sources of content that Channels can consume now, it's taken time to figure out the best silver bullet to handle it all.

As for the On Later, the reason they are different is because of how the information is presented to you. On Today is actual airings, very specific airings that are happening TODAY. Because of that, we present you the modal to let you record THAT airing on THAT channel at THAT time.

The rest of the time, clicking a movie takes you to a list of airings to give you a choice in which to record. This movie may be playing on multiple channels, one of which you know has less commercials than others.

Additionally, there's no corner badge on the other movie listings because they are not in fact, a specific airing, they just represent the movie in general.

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I look forward to getting these when the beta's upgrade to the official next version!

Fair enough! Please don't think I am criticizing you! It's only the apps we really love where we care about getting all the (few) non-perfect details corrected!

I understand the intellectual point you are making about On Today vs movies that are on at some point in the future. But I hope you will take to heart my point about how much smoother the modal view is compared to the separate web page. Speed and flow are important aspects of UI... There seems no obvious reason the content of the new web page (ie the list of times and channels) couldn't also be presented in a modal.

And the reason I care is that I use the web UI rather than the iPad UI precisely for the third complaint I gave above. With the webUI I can scan upcoming movies and rapidly learn about each movie from the textual name, even in the absence of a useful poster; on the iPad that's not feasible. I still think the modal is the right web solution, but I will care a lot less once the iOS solutions are updated to fully usable poster art so that there's no longer a compelling reason to use the web UI to scan for future content.

As for badges, compare the following (both from On Today, screen shot right now):

Notice how the web version has the green "already recorded" symbol next to Get the Gringo, Three Musketeers, and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. The iPad version has no such similar badging (and doesn't even display this fact in the modal that appears when you tap the poster).


I totally understand, but fitting the listing in a modal isn't a great experience. For me, personally, this is where opening links in new windows or new tabs works very well. Even if you can't control how the website does it, at least you can control a little of your own experience. So opening in a new tab allows you to queue the item to check after a bit, while saving your own spot on the original tab. I'd suggest giving this a try to resolve your back and forth.


This is also being worked on, see:

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Woo hoo! You guys do such a great job of fixing little things!
See, this is why I keep complaining :rofl: