New Apple TV Giantbomb app! In testing.

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ev77

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#1  Edited By ev77

Hey there interested Apple TV Giantbomb video watcher. I found the current (and only available) Giant Bomb Apple TV app lacked in a lot of key areas (number of clicks to view what you want, the ability to view your recently watched farther back than 20 videos, the ability to customize what you want to view) and eventually just decided the best way to get something done was to do it yourself.

Here's the public link to install it: Click here to sign up on testflight (Thanks conmulligan!).

I'm made a bit of progress on this app since I first made this post and now have a nearly ready for release build. I am taking any and all testers who'd like to try it out and provide any feedback (if you want, no pressure). I've been using it at home for months w/o anything less than some minor weirdness so I feel good about releasing it to others. The biggest issue I had was for me the HD videos stuttered a lot; so if you are seeing that please just report back here and switch down to High. I also put in a video switcher which will automatically downgrade/upgrade the video quality (to your set "max" default) based on how the health of the video has been. Other notable features are the ability to watch up to 4 videos at once and being able to create your own custom carousels.

Installing from testflight is simple, just click the link above ("Click here to sign up on testflight") and follow the instructions. Thanks in advance!

-Paul

PS: Here are some (little out of date) images of the app.

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edit: I've posted a new build with a number of small tweaks and fixes as I realized there was both A) Some room for exploitation and B) a number of the weird sort/filters wouldn't refresh properly w/o an app restart. So now the different sort/filter changes you make to carousels should reflect when you go back to the home screen.

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.

Released a new build (43) that has a number of ui improvements and some bug fixes. It also introduces the multi-video video player. Turn the option on in settings and enjoy streaming up to 4 videos at the same time!

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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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chango

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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.

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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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rorie

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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?