New Apple TV Giantbomb app GB Fan! Now in the app store.

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ev77

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#1  Edited By ev77

Hey there interested Apple TV Giantbomb video watcher. I found the official Giantbomb app on tvOS didn't have all the features I wanted out of it. And since they provide public APIs I figured I'd just create exactly what I did want, and so I have.

This includes things like:

  • Keeping track of your most recent 1,000+ watched videos. Giantbomb by default only supports your last 20 and I wanted a much longer list.
  • Watching multiple videos at the same time. Jetlag created something for the web here and I liked it so I created something similar for tvOS.
  • Create your own custom carousels. Everyone has their own preferred taste in shows and content, and I wanted a way to create a carousel specific to my tastes or to create a "show" from a series of videos that weren't an actual show (Pokemonday night combat for example). In my app, you can create your own carousels of content that filter based on a number of different options; so create the carousel(s) of your dream.
  • Watchlist: Simple enough, add whatever random videos you want to it as you find them and they'll remove themselves after they've been watched.
  • Maybe you used the official Giantbomb app and noticed the HD videos had serious stuttering problems? Well I've found a workaround for that issue (though technically it's still a tvOS bug I think).
  • Top Shelf Support. Now you can instantly resume or go into the video details on content you care about right from the Apple TV home screen (if you place the app in the top-most row on the Apple TV home screen)

If any of this sounds interesting to you then search for GB Fan in the tvOS app store and give it a go. I'll be retiring the old testflight link and if/when I have something new I'd like to be tested I'll update this page with a new link for anyone interested in being an early tester. Thanks for everyone who downloaded and tried it out early!

And feel free to leave any feedback, bugs, crashes, suggestions, or requests in the thread below. Thanks!

-Paul

I've re-added some screens from my app.

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conmulligan

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#2  Edited By conmulligan

Those screenshots look great! I especially like the idea of customising the home screen carousels, I might steal that one. It might be worth enabling a public TestFlight link instead of gathering emails; less work on your end and might result in better acquisition.

This is the second tvOS app to go into TestFlight in the last couple of days, it's great to see some renewed activity on the app front.

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ev77

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@conmulligan: Thanks for the public link advice, I hadn't even noticed that. Much appreciated!

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funkyxicanodude

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Awesome! Will definitely try this out.

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ev77

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Posted a new update to testflight which should pass review very shortly (build 20):

- FIxed a bug with carousels making api calls when they aren't visible/fully loaded.
- Made some ui improvements
- Fixed some issues with currently watching, including not properly filtering "watched" content

-Fixed issues with changes to carousels in the settings not always reflecting when you go back to the home page.

- Few other minor bug fixes and enhancements.

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ev77

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Accidentally introduced a bug with saved times not saving correctly. It's a core feature of the app so I've fixed it and pushed up a new build that fixes it (22); along with a few other minor fixes and ui updates/enhancements.

I've also update the live button to actually work. Though for some reason right now it's returning some weird old stream of Vinny???

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ev77

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#7  Edited By ev77

Released a new build (36) That has lots of UI improvements and enhancements as well as adding in a custom filter for specific GB crew (past and present). There are also a few new options for you to toggle on in the settings.

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ev77

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#8  Edited By ev77

Little sneak peak of what should be coming sometime this weekend to testflight. Unsure how intuitive the controls are, but I'd love to hear any thoughts on them. You will need to turn the option on in the settings first.

No Caption Provided

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ev77

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And the multi video build has been released.

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ev77

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I've released what might be the final build (45) before I release to the app store. Going to let it marinate this week, see how things look and then if I don't run into any issues I'll be releasing to the app store.

The new build has a lot of polish updates to it. UI has been improved and updated. Added support for light and dark modes. Added a tutorial carousel for new users. Made a few minor tweaks to the multi-video player.

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Rakete

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just installed it, great app, intuitive and clean UI. Just having the video stuttering while the audio is continueing fine. Having no problems streaming other videos or casting GB videos from apps like Bomb Cyclone to the AppleTV

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ev77

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#13  Edited By ev77

@rakete Yeah, the stuttering and sometimes audio dropping out (while the video plays fine) was one of the big reasons I created this app in the first place. Not entirely sure why, but for whatever reason both my app and the other GB app on tvOS have issues for me when playing HD quality streams (not an issue on the web or anywhere else). The videos stutter and I have audio drop out with it seeming to happen more frequently the longer the duration of the video is.

During the creation of my app I was able to solve the issue of the audio drop out, but not the stuttering of the HD videos. What I was able to do for it was create an auto switcher for video quality. You can turn on the Auto-Switcher in the settings and it will automatically drop the video quality when it finds the video is stuttering to provide a little more seamless of a playback experience. That way you can keep the quality on HD and on shorter videos were it doesn't stutter much (or at all) it will play fine and on the longer videos once it starts stuttering it will automatically drop quality so the stream doesn't suffer.

Perhaps long term I can look into some kind of "download and then stream" the video solution to allow for a better buffer and keep the stream from stuttering on HD qualities, but not sure if/when that will happen.

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Rakete

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Turned on the auto-switcher and now it works fine.

is it intentional that the menu button does not take you back to the AppleTV menu as in other apps? I am using my TV remote to navigate the AppleTV and can not seem to exit your app

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ev77

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@rakete: That was a relic of something I put in when I used to have a different view setup. I have now fixed the issue, so thanks for pointing it out! In the meantime, you can still exit the app by holding on the menu button.

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ev77

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Posted a new build with some UI/UX improvements to the settings. Added in background refresh tasks for getting new video/saved time info while the app is backgrounded. Fixed a few bugs (including the menu button bug reported by rakete).

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vizruy

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Hello, I’d like to participate.
how do I get a code?

Thanks

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ev77

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#18  Edited By ev77

@vizruy: Just click the link in the first post (or link here) and follow the instructions. And hopefully sometime early next week my app will have made it through the review process and will be available on the app store!

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ev77

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#19  Edited By ev77

I've posted a final build with a few minor improvements and a bug fix or two. I've updated the name and icon to be more unique and am currently now trying to get through the app review process.

Having trouble with the app being considered a "copy cat" since there is an "official" Giantbomb app on tvOS.

I've tried to make somewhat drastic changes to my app in terms of name/icon/description/etc and am still getting blocked by Apple. @rorie Is there anyone at Giantbomb or CBS I could reach out to if I continue to get blocked by Apple?

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JediMasterLex

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#20  Edited By JediMasterLex

Amazing work on this app! Brings tons of things that have been needed on the Apple TV. Your hard work is very much appreciated, thank you! Is there plans for GB infinite to be added in future? That is one thing the apps are sorely missing.

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ev77

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@jedimasterlex: Unfortunately GB Infinite (and a lot of the current "live streams") are hosted on Twitch. Which means there is no easy way to stream it directly from a URL.

Short-ish term I am looking into putting some twitch integration in to at least check for live streams happening on twitch and then just letting you deeplink into the twitch app to watch them. But I'd need to do more research to see if I would actually be able to host/view a twitch stream from inside the app; I'm not familiar with the twitch APIs and what is possible.

But I do have a few things I'd like to do before that: 1) Create a way to "link" and keep multiple videos in "sync" when playing at the same time, and 2) See if I can't fix the issue with HD videos just not working on tvOS (most likely an issue with the way GiantBomb is sending/streaming the videos from their CDNs) but potentially something I can fix myself by just doing a "sudo" download of the video and then streaming it from local memory.

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rorie

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#22 rorie  Staff

@ev77: I'm not sure what we did for the other one - are they asking you for anything in particular?

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ev77

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@rorie: I'm tried asking them but they don't want to give any specifics other than "we have still found your app creates a misleading association to the official Giant Bomb videos app."

I've tried to do everything I can to differentiate between my app and the official one in the store but they still seem to think it's "Misleading". I was hoping if I couldn't get them to see the major differences between our apps (besides both of them playing GiantBomb Videos) I could get an official notice from someone at GiantBomb that approved my app as not being a copy cat.

I've started the appeal process, so maybe that will work, but if it doesn't I'm not sure what more I could do other than scrub any and all mention of GiantBomb from everything and risk having my app never be found in search results because of it. It's kinda a catch-22 for me.

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#24 rorie  Staff

@ev77 said:

@rorie: I'm tried asking them but they don't want to give any specifics other than "we have still found your app creates a misleading association to the official Giant Bomb videos app."

I've tried to do everything I can to differentiate between my app and the official one in the store but they still seem to think it's "Misleading". I was hoping if I couldn't get them to see the major differences between our apps (besides both of them playing GiantBomb Videos) I could get an official notice from someone at GiantBomb that approved my app as not being a copy cat.

I've started the appeal process, so maybe that will work, but if it doesn't I'm not sure what more I could do other than scrub any and all mention of GiantBomb from everything and risk having my app never be found in search results because of it. It's kinda a catch-22 for me.

Is this going through email or something? I can hop in there if need be.

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ev77

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#25  Edited By ev77

@rorie: No, but I could pass them your (or someone else's) email or contact information and tell them to reach out to you about it.

Have done. Thanks!

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ev77

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@rakete: I was doing some testing on an older 1080p tv I have and noticed that HD videos played just fine on it. So I think there may be something going on with the streaming of the HD (1080p) streams on 4k tvs (which is what I have and normally have it hooked up to). Potentially in the way tvOS decodes the stream and then processes it for 4k; potentially on the 4k Apple TV ( I don't have an older 1080p Apple TV to test on a 4k TV). Once again, I fear the issue is in the data sent from the CDNs, but I'd still be interested in knowing your setup if you don't mind.

Do you have a 4k TV you are trying to stream the HD videos on? If so, do you use a newer 4k Apple TV?

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Tumbleweed

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#27  Edited By Tumbleweed

FWIW, I have an Apple TV 4K and HD videos don’t work on my LG C9 with the official Giant Bomb app. That’s actually what led me to this thread—super excited you’re making this.

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Rakete

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@ev77

I have an AppleTV 4K and a LG CX which is a 4K TV, so what you say actually could be correct.

However I think I also had some problems streaming the HD videos on my IPad using apps like GB Video Buddy also had the video stuttering...

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ev77

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#29  Edited By ev77

I've tested on another 1080p TV I have and can say with some certainty there is definitely an issue with HD videos on 4k TVs (both my older 1080p tvs had no problem streaming HD).

Unfortunately the tactic I was hoping to use for HD videos is currently exclusive to iOS; so I'm going to have to look at other alternatives. And I will probably end up opening a ticket with Apple about it and see what they might be able to find because it all seems a little weird.

And @rakete what iPad model are you using?

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Rakete

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@ev77

I am using an iPad Pro (2018) 12,9“.

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ev77

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I think I've fixed the HD stuttering issues in the latest build (68). Please download, try it out and let me know if it still stutters! (@rakete@tumbleweed).

Other fixes/improvements include:
- Added in syncer for mutli-video player.

- Added show to the carousel filter list.

- Minor bug fixes and improvements.



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Tumbleweed

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@ev77

I had the opportunity to test this evening—it's great! As someone who could only get videos to play for a few seconds before they'd freeze up in the official Apple TV app, this is like night and day.

The multi-video functionality is fantastic. The on-the-fly audio switching by highlighting a different video is also great. I'm hoping this can also eventually be built into Bomb Cyclone, which is my main method for watching GB videos.

I have one note, and it's a minor one: I tested the multi-video player with 4 Minecraft streams. 2 of them were already fully-watched elsewhere and had the full red completed bar at the bottom. When I hit play, only 2 of the videos launched, while the others sat on black. Perhaps there's a way to trigger a replay when they're selected for multi-video view?

Thanks for your great work on this. Just in time for me to finish typing this, today's Astroneer streams are up—I'm off to watch.

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ev77

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@tumbleweed: Glad to hear the fix is working. For the multi-video timing issue you are having; you should be able to toggle the "auto-sync" off and then individually adjust each player after pausing to get them aligned. Once they have been aligned and you relaunch them it should keep them aligned automatically for you. It's a little work at the start but I think overall leads to a better experience.

But I will certainly admit the UI/UX is a little convoluted and not quite where I'd like it to be; I'm still thinking about how best to organize it.

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TomyDingo

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#34  Edited By TomyDingo

I think this is a fine candidate as THE go-to GB Apple TV app. I wish there was a way to manually add stuff to a carousel. I’d honestly like to create a My List of GB videos rather than use predefined search terms to create a list. Ideally watched videos would be hidden from the list. For example I don’t want to watch all of the Lockdown streams and instead want to tag certain ones to create a carousel and then have them disappear from the list once watched. Also, this is trivial since the app is so good (& I’m sure you’re aware of it) but I’m not a big fan of the icon artwork. The meat of the app is so good but the artwork is a little rough. Sorry for the critique but this app rules and needs a more polished icon to really stand out.

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ev77

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#35  Edited By ev77

@tomydingo: Actually I have just coded in the ability to hide watched videos from your created carousels, so that should be out sometime early/mid this week after I've let it run a little bit on my TV and tried to make sure it works as expected.

Otherwise I have been thinking about adding a "watch list" carousel where you can add anything you want and then it will be removed after watching. Will start with just a single carousel and then might see about adding it as a type of carousel so you can create as many as you want.

And yea, the artwork is definitely very rough around the edges haha. As you said, I've put my focus on the meat of the app and will eventually either polish it up myself or just commission someone to create some artwork for me.

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Rakete

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Tested the app some more and it works pretty much perfectly. Love it 👍🏽

if you add the opportunity to donate I would definately do ist @ev77

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ev77

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#37  Edited By ev77

@rakete: I appreciate the gesture but no need to donate; if I could ever get Apple to approve it all I'd like is an honest review in the app store. But glad to hear it's all working for you now.

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ev77

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#38  Edited By ev77

Released a new build (73) to test flight. This adds the watched video filter TomyDingo was asking about, as well as other minor bug fixes and improvements. edit: And I believe I made some updates to the controls on the multi-video player. It now has more individual controls when not "synced" so you can play/pause and seek individual videos while they are playing to better align them before turning on "syncing".

I did run into an issue and crash when I had turned on to use the local cache; still investigating what might have caused it and so far haven't had it repeat with the option turned off, just FYI.

Currently working on the watchlist.

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ev77

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Getting close on watchlist, want to try it out for probably the rest of the week myself and see if I find anything. Otherwise made some more updates to the multi-video controls and made a number of UI polish and bug fixes. Hopefully should have a new testflight build out this weekend or early next week.

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wchigo

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Just actually had the chance to recently un-mothball my Apple TV, and I haven't been having terrific results with all my devices playing well with each other (particularly the audio and whether it comes from the TV or from my soundbar). Looking forward to giving this a test drive (or flight as it were).

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Rakete

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This app clearly deserves a full release! Is there an update after the intervention by @rorie?

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rorie

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#42 rorie  Staff

@rakete said:

This app clearly deserves a full release! Is there an update after the intervention by @rorie?

I just sent over something to ev77 that should hopefully allow this to be listed. Up to Apple though!

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ev77

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At this point I believe it is up to Apple. @rorie has been a huge help with trying to get it through, so thanks a million again! I've released the build I'm submitting to apple to testflight for everyone to try out. Here's the specs for build 87:

- Added watchlist. Long press the play/pause button to quickly add or remove a video from your watchlist (or just add/remove it from the video info view).

- Other bug fixes and improvements.

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ev77

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Actually dropping one more build, noticed the mutli video controls could get a little wonky so I've updated them to hopefully fix all the issues.

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TomyDingo

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Hey @ev77 great work on the watchlist, works great!

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ev77

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thisismadness

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I am so blown away by this app. This is easily now my preferred way to consume GB content.

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ev77

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ev77

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I've released a new build (93) that has some bug fixes with regards to the multi video player controls and the watched carousels (when you have no items and then get a new item the carousel didn't reappear).

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ev77

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I didn't think it was ever going to happen, but after 2 months of back and forth I've finally gotten my app to pass review. So find it in the tvOS app store and download it. It has a few minor changes from the latest testflight build, and in the future if/when I add in new features I'll update with a new testflight link for interested early testers. Thanks!