Channels, the whole home OTA and DVR app that is compatible with HDHomeRun tuners, has just pushed out a significant update to their Fire TV and Android TV app. This new update adds several new features, such as Auto Play, which brings up the next episode via a card in the corner that can be set to either automatically start playing or await your confirmation. There’s also a new shuffle feature for when you know which show you want to watch but don’t care about which episode. Channels has also added a new mode to lock down settings, a casting-like capability, and more.
Just before the current episode you are watching is finished, the Channels app will now display a card in the lower right corner with the next episode in the series. By default, you must manually select the card before the next episode starts. If you prefer, you can enable Auto Play through the Settings > Library > Auto Play menu so that the next episode starts automatically, without needing you to touch the remote. The video player also gained a sleep timer option that complements the Auto Play feature so that your streaming device stops playback if you nod off.
The new Shuffle feature is just what you’d expect. This plays episodes of a particular show in a random order, for when you don’t care which episode is played. To use it, just bring up a show’s main screen, select Watch and you’ll be given the option to play the next episode or shuffle. The new Kiosk Mode option will replace the Settings menu with an About screen, to lock down the app a bit from your family and friends who shouldn’t be poking around in the app’s options. This mode is enabled through the Channel web admin interface.
Those of you who prefer to browse content on your phone instead of on the TV will be happy to hear about the new Play To that lets you use your phone to select the content that will play on the Channels app on your streaming device. On the video player, you can now also turn on playback stats to view codec info, bitrates, dropped frame counts, and more.
The Channels app will also notify you if your HDHomeRun is having signal problems, which is great if you live entirely in the Channels app and never bother opening HDHomeRun’s own apps. The update also improves boot times, render times, and adds new ways to re-order favorite channels.
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