Image: Plex, Alex Cranz/Gizmodo
A wise colleague once told me I should never have anything on in the background just to have it on. He’s probably right, but I still like to pop on a show while I’m cooking dinner, tidying up, or working on home improvement projects. The noise is soothing to me, but cable, with its weird programming choices and commercials, is not.
A new service, dizqueTV, is now available (for those brave enough to try out untested software) to help you create TV channels that pull content from what you already have on hand.
My solution for the last few years has been to just create a playlist of shows and let it run on a cycle in Plex, but dizqueTV should be a much more robust option. dizqueTV is a fork of pseudoTV-plex, which is itself a fork of PseudoTV, a service available for Kodi users. One of the major differences, for now, is that dizqueTV should handle multiple video file formats more smoothly that pseudoTV-plex does (my adventures with ripping and encoding in the 2000s continues to pain my Plex library). Like those services, dizqueTV should give you the ability to create whole channels of content that are always running and better mimic the live TV experience than a simple playlist can.
So if you want a channel that plays nothing but The Simpsons and King of the Hill episodes from the ‘90s, you can make that. You can build a channel that’s only live-action spy shows from the ‘80s. Want to give the kids an easy stream of diversions without worrying about them messing with remotes or going down a terrifying YouTube rabbit hole? You can!
And, yes, for the particular masochists among you, you can even have episodes interrupted by commercial breaks—which you can choose yourself.
How dizqueTV works is by spoofing a TV tuner like the Homerun tuners we’ve previously recommended. Plex then sees dizqueTV as a series of streams it can play, complete with a TV guide that shows upcoming episodes in your custom channels. You can even create and upload custom artwork for your channels.
dizqueTV has currently been tested for Windows and Linux 64-bit and appears to work. The dev has also released macOS and Windows 32-bit versions, but they haven’t been tested, so you’ll need to use at your own risk. I’ve already installed the available Docker image to my own server and can’t wait to tinker with it off the clock.
It’s also absolutely crucial to note that dizqueTV is open-source software that’s still in the very early stages of development, so you probably shouldn’t try it out if you’re not familiar with command line or comfortable with buggy software. If you’d prefer something verifiably stable, PseudoTV is a great option.