We’ve been hard at work the last few months on Channels DVR Server and today it’s getting a big upgrade. A new transcoder, Raspberry Pi 4 support, TV Everywhere fixes, and more. Let’s get technical.

Update: We now have a custom Raspberry Pi image that lets you get going on the Raspberry Pi in minutes! Learn more about it.

New Transcoder

We’re introducing a brand new transcoder that you’re going to love. It’s more reliable, faster, and will adjust its quality in real time. It makes streaming while away from home even more fantastic.

Adaptive Streaming

This is the big one. The new transcoder will now adjust its quality based on your realtime download speeds. There’s no need to adjust your quality manually anymore.

Set the max quality you want and if your internet speeds slow down, the video quality will be adjusted to adapt to those speeds. No more buffering pauses because your internet speeds dropped or don’t meet the needs of the quality you have set.

Adaptive streaming works for your recordings right now, but work is still being done to bring this to live TV streaming.

Bitrates, bitrates, bitrates

We’ve tweaked the way we transcode video to do a better job using the quality you’ve chosen. The requested bitrate now takes the audio bitrate into account when transcoding. This means you will actually get the data rate that you requested.

We lower the audio bitrate on lower quality settings now to match the video so you get what you’ve asked for. We didn’t stop there. We’re also downmixing 5.1 to stereo for lower bitrate qualities so audio isn’t using up your chosen quality setting.

Caches, caches, everywhere

Remote streaming in the Channels apps supports a larger on device cache that will accrue video ahead of time in the background as you watch without losing it. Additionally, the server now keeps transcoded video cached as well.

This all means seeking and resuming where you left off is faster. If you stop watching or close the app, picking up where you left off is instant.

Overall reliability

Besides all of the awesome new things the transcoder brings us, the overall reliability has been incredibly improved.

Raspberry Pi 4 Support

We’re super excited to announce that Channels DVR Server runs great on the new Raspberry Pi 4. The Pi 4 is a beast for its size and price. We worked hard to get the new transcoder working on it.

The results are great. Transcoding of MPEG2 works well. Commercial indexing is there. The Pi 4 is a really great little computer. We love it. It’s a great solution if you’re helping set up a parent or friend with Channels.

You should only expect a single transcoded remote stream at a time, but for a single person and $35, it’s a great solution.

TV Everywhere updates

The new TV Everywhere support has proved to be really popular amongst Channels fans. We’ve made some improvements since we first made it available.

More networks

We’ve added more networks to our growing list, including a lot of sports networks.

Provider authentications

We’ve made huge strides in logging in with your provider as well as scanning your providers channels. This should happen more reliably now.

Docker users can now log in with YouTube TV while Channels DVR Server is running inside of a container.