SubChannel Integrates Subreddits into Live Channels, Currently in Alpha

With the release of the TIF companion library, developers interesting in building TV channels can use a base to make development much simpler. In building it, I spent some time thinking of good examples and uses for this technology. I have been working on a new demo.

There is a lot of content that can be pulled from YouTube. However, there’s too much video to simply sift through, so I also went looking for a simple curation system. As it turns out, there are plenty of communities on Reddit where users manually do this curation. On a large-scale, there’s plenty of organized, quality content that is easily obtained. With the release of the latest ITV Lab app, SubChannel, users can get started with streaming the hottest videos.

There are a few components in play. The first is the YouTube TV Player. The stock YouTube player library for Android doesn’t work on TVs, meaning there has to be some workaround. I can actually load the YouTube video in a WebView and control it using a Javascript API. This is still a bit touchy, with conditions that still need to be handled. But it generally works for any developer to use. This library supports the TvPlayer interface in the TIF Companion Library, making it easy to use in Live Channel apps.

SubChannel pulls content from Reddit and loads it into the program guide. When you start playing a channel, it will load those videos and play them in a WebView one after another. This also supports time-shifting. You can pause and play these videos just as you’d expect. Another feature that is present, but I haven’t tested, is the DVR. As I noted in the DVR First Look, the API allows an app to store a bookmark in a database. Having a local copy isn’t necessary as long as you store the metadata to play it later. In SubChannel, saved programs simply store the URL of the YouTube video to play back later. This means you can store virtually unlimited videos without worrying about having an external drive.

My time on this project has mostly been about getting Live Channels integration working, as well as playing YouTube videos smoothly. The user interface is very plain. The app by default shows just the YouTube Haiku Subreddit. However, users can add more Subreddits if they want, such as /r/deepintoyoutube or any other Subreddit with a lot of YouTube videos.

What’s coming next for the app? Primarily bug fixes. With the help of this community, who can post concerns to the GitHub page, I’m hoping to add a nice layer of polish to the software (and graphics).

After that, I’m hoping to add a nice user interface that will allow users to have some control over the content being played. I’d also like to make most of it into a library for other developers to simply plug-and-play subreddit content into Live Channels if they come up with cool uses for it.

You can download the app for free on Google Play.

SubChannel (Beta)
SubChannel (Beta)
Developer: Felker Tech
Price: Free

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker) Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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