Running List of Live Channel Sources

Introduction

Live Channels is an exciting app that we have mentioned many times here at Android TV News. For those who have never heard of it before, it is a system app by Google that attempts to compile all of your live video sources into one traditional, channel-surfing interface. Smart TVs and content on demand are obviously the future of television, but “flipping through the channels to see what’s on” is still a core experience.

The potential of being able to browse through your local OTA stations, favorite Twitch channels, Internet TV, and live Periscope seamlessly would be a perfect use case for Smart TV. Now this isn’t quite possible yet, but it is a simple and powerful idea just waiting to be unleashed. Developers need to “hook” their app up to Live Channels in order for this to take off.

Once people find out about Live Channels, the first thing they ask is, “Where is it?” If you search for it on the Google Play Store, you will see that it is already installed on your Android TV. It only appears on the Leanback Launcher once a proper source has been added. Therefore, the next question asked is, “What sources can I can get?” and that is the purpose of this article!

The List

HDHomeRun VIEWLive Channels_20160102_064500

This app requires you to have an HDHomeRun network tuner (see here) to be functional. But once you do, this gives you the ability to watch OTA or CableCard channels in the Live Channels app. Besides being nice to have your sources together, Live Channels just looks and works better than the VIEW app (my opinion). The app is $0.99 on the Google Play Store.

Pluto TVLive Channels_20160102_064223

One of the first apps to support Live Channels, and still one of the best. Pluto TV launched last year as an internet video curator of sorts. They created “channels” based on certain subjects, and then fill these channels with videos from all around the internet (YouTube, Daily Motion, Vimeo). They even have deals with other internet video providers like Bloomberg TV and Funny or Die for more “channels.” There really are too many to list so go check it out! Added bonus: You can add/remove only the channels you want from Pluto TV in Live Channels! This app is FREE on the Google Play Store.

Cumulus TVLive Channels_20160102_070217

By our very own Nick Felker, this app was developed at the request of some Reddit users. Users can import any web live stream to the app manually or in bulk through a playlist. These streams can then be watched through the Live Channels app. By connecting the app to a file in Google Drive, you can keep all your channels in sync. If you don’t have any streams, a few legal streams are included in the app. The app is also open sourced on GitHub. It is FREE on the Google Play Store.

The Weather NetworkLive Channels_20160102_084319

The Weather Network appears to have gone all in on Android TV. They have a pretty nice app that follows Android TV design guidelines and they also have a “recommendation card” on the home page that displays the current weather. This is the only app I know of that has utilized the recommendation bar in this manner. They also have Live Channel support. The stream seems to jump from national forecasts, to local forecasts, to top weather videos and around again… your standard weather channel. The app is FREE on the Google Play Store.

ToonAftLive Channels_20160102_084423

Read Article: Toonaft Brings Live Channels to Android TV
ToonAft is an app that hooks into the Toonami Aftermath website that streams old cartoons 24/7. This app allows you to bring that functionality to the Live Channels app. Also included is a Rifftrax channel which is just old movies or shorts with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 commentary track added… very funny! The app has been removed from Google Play, but you can sideload the APK here. However, the app doesn’t appear to be streaming media anymore.

Google Play Movies and TV

Google Play Movies Buy

Read Article: Google Play Movies and TV Gets Live Channel for Trailers

This channel appears to showcase a number of trailers from Google’s most popular movies. Opening up the UI shows users a button that they can press to immediately go to Google Play and rent the movie. It’s a pretty clever way to showcase content.

Bloomberg TV

Bloomberg TV
Read Article: Bloomberg Adds Live Channel
Bloomberg, the financial news media outlet, has made their West US channel available to cordcutters by adding it to Live Channels. The channel includes commercials. It also includes closed captioning so anyone can learn about the latest business news.

Haystack TV

Haystack TV
Read Article: Haystack TV Adds Live Channels
Haystack TV personalizes news by curating videos based on your preferences. With Live Channels, you can use one of their prebuilt channels for science or political news or watch a stream of personalized news.

InstaTV

InstaTV

Looking for a different app that interfaces with HDHomeRun? Try InstaTV. It lets you connect to your HDHomeRun from your phone, tablet, and TV. The app is free to download from Google Play.

AirShare

Live Channels_20160606_003640
Read Article: AirShare tries to make Sharing to Your TV Easy

AirShare is an app that lets you quickly share any type of content, not just media, to your TV. When you do cast media though, it collects all of it and displays it back to you later in three Live Channels for music, photos, and video. Additionally, sharing any HLS stream will also add that as a channel. The app is free to download on Google Play.

PuppetMaster.TV

Puppetmaster.tv live channels play controls

Read Article: PuppetMaster.TV Adds Support for Live Channels

PuppetMaster.TV is an app that, similar to Kodi, allows users to install video sources from a variety of online sources in a single interface. In addition to using Android TV’s built-in Leanback interface, there is also support for Live Channels. Puppets, their name for plugins, may have live sources and if so are available in the Live Channels app.

Future Apps ?

The following apps are either currently in development for Live Channels or there is speculation that they are.

DVBLink Live!

DVBLink is like the “Live Channels” of your computer. It gives you the ability to start “your very personal TV server” using different sources. The DVBLink Live app has been in development for Android TV, designed to integrate with the Live Channels feature. When completed, it will supply channels, epg (electronic program guide), and TV streams to Live Channels so you can watch them with the rest of your channel sources. You can find more info HERE but you can sideload the beta and try it out today!

Tablo TV

Tablo TV is a competitor of HDHomeRun that already has its DVR functionality up and running. They have a great app and interface and I have heard nothing but great things from this company (I plan on reviewing their product very soon). Official Tablo TV reps have confirmed that Live Channels integration is on their roadmap. They have never given an ETA which is fine but have stated in multiple threads that it is in development (also HERE). The rep said that they were working on utilizing the Recommendation Bar and Universal Search Index of Android TV, too. Interestingly enough, the representative also seemed to confirm that they were working on getting the DVR to function WITHIN Live Channels…

Sling TVQ&A

Sling TV is a streaming cable package available for Android TV. The first time I found out about Live Channels, I immediately thought of Sling TV. To be able to have streaming cable channels next to my OTA stations next to my IPTV would be a dream come true.

Now, this entry is purely speculative as there has been no confirmation of Live Channels development with Sling TV. However, when I asked Roger Lynch, CEO of Sling TV, if there were any plans to bring Live Channel integration, he answered, “As it relates to the “Live Channels” app on Android TV, we are looking into this. At the moment, I can’t comment any further, but stay tuned.” This very well could be a PR non-answer. But if you read the article, Roger doesn’t seem to have a problem saying, “We have no current plans” to some of my other questions. This leads me to believe that they really are working on! Only time will tell…

Conclusion

This is the list as it currently stands and I plan to update it as time moves on. It really wasn’t too long ago that there were only 1 or 2 apps that made use of Live Channels so it is expanding quite nicely. I wish Google would make a bigger deal about this neat application and push it as much as they can, but that is also what this community is for. If we can build up enough awareness of Live Channels and show enough demand, we can really help get the ball rolling. Please let us know if there are any new apps that we might have missed!

Brian Stein

Brian Stein is a Science Teacher with a love of technology. When he is not molding young minds, he is looking out for the latest and greatest gadgets.Devices: Moto X, G Watch, Nexus 7, Chromebook, Custom Plex Server

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  • The Live Channel app IS Android TV’s killer feature. When Google decides to add DVR support to it (external hard drive on NAS) I believe Android TV will become more popular and will eventually receive even more support from developers.

    • Brian Stein

      I agree, this could be the bread & butter. I have a feeling they will be adding some kind of DVR support. I hope it is sooner than later. Google TV’s Primetime app had the ability to set recording with your cable box.

      I also think a cord-cutters Android TV box could be a big hit. essentially a Nexus Player with built in OTA tuners and DVR storage. The market is there.

  • Mike10dude

    it is weird how the weather network app does not work in canada when they are a canadian tv channel

    • Brian Stein

      I agree that is bizarre. For the longest time, I didn’t even think that the app worked because I had my location turned OFF and that led to no channels…

  • John

    you guys are great !! keep up the good work

    • Brian Stein

      Appreciate the feedback, John! This community is great, though. Already found another app from you guys that I wasn’t aware of. I need to add it to the list: “Aurora TV” for DVB tuners…

  • strauzo

    Do you think that serious tv channels allow Google to control the source of their money ? I hope, but i don’t think

    • Brian Stein

      What do you mean by this? There is nothing stopping, say, Hulu from playing ads within Live Channels?

      • John McGee

        Agreed, I still see the pluto.tv ads on pluto.tv.

  • Ryan Smith

    Thanks Brian for the article. The grid style guide is the way to go. Can I remove unwanted HDHomeRun OTA channels? I believe God is real and I attend services on Sunday, but I don’t need 7 religious channels taking up space between Fox and the other major networks!

    • Donald Heath

      there is a setting in the app to “customize channel list”

      • Ryan Smith

        Found it. This alone may justify the Nvidia Shield as a set top box alone. Thanks!

  • Chuck Connors

    Pluto TV guide does not populate the guide with data on my Nexus Player. Am I doing something wrong? I see the channel names but the guide is blank.

    • NF

      I’ve encountered this problem occasionally too. If I go into channel sources and reload Pluto TV it usually comes back.

  • ovbg

    Another great service that works with live channels is Zattoo. This is a Swiss-based simulcaster (think of Sling TV for OTA channels and on steroids). It is a legit service, and because it follows Swiss laws, it can simulcast any OTA channel they can receive with their huge dishes. This means they have all the main UK TV channels as well, BBC, ITV, Four, Five and more, plus all the main OTA channels from Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Spain and of course Switzerland. They have a free and subscription version, but of course limited to Swiss IP addresses unless you have Smart DNS, then it opens up a huge amount of live TV onto “Live Channels” wherever you are.

    • I looked at Zattoo Live TV in the Play Store. It isn’t showing up as available for Android TV for me, or available for any device.

  • Gfame103

    @brian_stein:disqus could you write an article on how to set up DVBLink and The Android TV Live Channels App? That would be great!!

  • Ryan Smith

    The only disappointment with using the HDHomeRun as content for live channels is I can’t get dolby digital surround on any of the HD channels. I can get surround by using the HDHomeRun View Kodi plugin, but as Brian mentions, the HDHomeRun View EPG is not anywhere as good as live channels on Android TV.

  • Oz

    will Live Channels play channels that are marked as DRM from Time Warner Cable? The SD View app does but I cant get it going on the Live Channels for some reason. I thought the Live Channels would pull its sources from Sd View app?

    • I’m not sure if it can play DRM channels. If it works in the app, there’s no technical reason why it won’t work in Live Channels.

    • Donald Heath

      When I was still on CATV I had the same complaint. The issue appeared to be one of DCTP-IP compliance in that the SD app did, but LC didn’t. Someone on the app page for LC stated that CCI-CO content works, so maybe an update fixed the problem?

    • ike301

      I can’t speak for Time Warner, but I have FiOS and Live Channels plays all of my DRM channels.

  • Chris96

    I live in the Netherlands and like many other countries our TV providers don’t support any smart tv or IP tv functionalities. They all sell there own decoders and no possibility to use the uncoded signals. What method do you recommend?

    -If I buy a tv with Android tv software built in, the live channels app should be fully supported, right?

    -Is there anyway to use their decoders and send the signal to my network? Someone in a forum mentioned he hooked up the decoder to his pc, records the screen and sends it to his tv.

    • There’s some upcoming support for USB tuners in Live Channels, and there’s a number of software programs that can share decoded video across your network.

  • xaudiblex

    A new Live Channels plugin just popped up that allows the use of TVHeadend as a channel source! https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ie.macinnes.tvheadend&hl=en