4th Gen Poor Picture Quality

Just installed a new 4th gen 4-tuner Tablo. Easy process and strong antenna signal (156 channels!) and strong wifi. But… I’m very disappointed with the picture quality. It’s very cloudy and washed out with lackluster colors compared to the same showing on cable. WiFi is fine with no buffering or other such issues, just a poor picture. The interface and overall operation is just fine but if I can’t make the picture quality better it’s back to cable for me! Any suggestions?

Have you checked the video settings on the HDMI port you are using it on? Those may need to be changed. Because the picture quality on the 4th gen has not been an issue.

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It sounds like it might be your picture settings. Likely, you had your cable on one HDMI and you adjusted the quality to suit your needs. If you’re using an external device (Roku/Firestick/Chromecast), you might need to adjust those picture settings individually per port. If you’re an app through your TV, you might need to adjust those quality settings. And if you’re casting or using AirPlay to watch on your TV, that would be another thing to note. One thing to check if you’re using an external HDMI device, is that you are allowing the full picture quality versus automatic.

Cable compresses their images before sending them to your television and what you’re seeing through your Tablo is raw video, so the image should be clearer only to an extent. Many 480 channels can look choppy compared to how they would present through cable because they’re not smoothed out by another layer of compression.

It would help us to know what device you’re using to watch your Tablo. If you are using an external device, it could be that it is of a lower lower quality than your television. This will make the image look a lot worse than it actually is (for example, using an HD Roku on a 4k television gives extremely poor results.)

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I’m accessing the Tablo app on a Roku TV which has great picture quality on both live and recorded cable channels via a TiVo DVR (no set top box). Being all plug and play, I had not messed around with any picture settings. Here are sample snapshots of the “cloudy” Tablo vs Cable output.

But on a whim I did go into the Roku TV’s picture settings and cranked up the color and sharpness settings a notch which seemed to help improve the Tablo output. Really don’t know why as such adjustments didn’t seem necessary for cable viewing but I won’t argue with success. :wink:

Still not perfect so I’ll have to tweak the settings some more but at least I find it usable now. Hopefully it will only get better! Thanks!


Hey, at least something’s working!

I would try to duplicate whatever the settings are on your DVR HDMI input for the Roku TV’s general display settings.

I’ve got the opposite problem on one of my TVs – it’s default was too bright before I changed it to match my preferred HDMI settings!

I’m glad something made you think of what to look for and that it’s helping.

I hope your Roku TV doesn’t experience the same issues as some of the STBs. Good luck!

(Despite turning the brightness, etc, up, the Tablo pic does look like it’s kept more of it its full spectrum of colors.)

Did the Tablo compress the video? The 4th gen Tablo will record in full quality but compression is an option. I don’t remember the exact details because I don’t have one. I think it only applies to internal storage IIRC.

That’s one of those other awesome Tablo mysteries. It will compress the MPEG-2 into MP4 at … some idle point … after a recording is done … to save space … using the best quality it can provide. But if you’re using an external, it’s supposed to keep its MPEG-2 format. (Screwing around with some .TS files today, they’ve all seemed to be mpeg2.)

FWIW, when I was using the internal drive, I thought the quality was amazing on FHD. Any compression was negligible, if even noticeable. Although, I thought some of the 480 looked like crap – but this could be a matter of the channel vs the compression.

So many variables are in play. I can watch the same show on two different 4k TVs, and they look entirely different. (I actually like seeing the bits and crackles of older film. For some reason, it feels more authentic than any softening a TV will do despite turning the feature off.)

They posted it somewhere and the number 72 keeps popping into my head but I read the details months ago so that could easily be wrong.

72 for what?

And I was actually looking at that support doc earlier, but it didn’t have the answer I needed! LOL

Recordings older then 72 hours get transcoded. IIRC

Possibly. I was trying to figure out how to safely unplug my external and start using the internal again. Don’t remember seeing a certain time, but who knows.

Compression(H.264) only occurs for OTA recorded to flash not external disks. And the time to compress is twice the length of the recording.

The only thing I’ve seen on FAST recording is that they remain as they were transmitted. And I’ve never seen what the various video qualities are for FAST channels. The only one I paid any attention to was a 2 hiur recording off of FAST grit channel. . The size of the recorded file seemed to be the same as 720 - not 720p. And 720 was the default recording quality for network legacy devices. tablo quotes 500 hours of storage on a 1 TB drive for FAST channels. Tablo needs to just blab out the answers for FAST channel video quality.

IDK if there’d be a set standard. Wouldn’t each station be coming from a different source? I keep wondering if some of the channels stream at higher quality than what the Tablo can handle, thus the constant splits.

… this sounds like it’ll take 3 hours to compress a 2 hour recording. Which is reasonable. @jimtablotv was trying to remember how long after a show was recorded before it gets transcoded, understanding that this only applies to the internal drive space.