5.1 Surround Sound on Tablo [Offical Tablo Response/Position?]


That is cause your Plex Media Server will transcode on the fly the 5.1 AC3 audio to 2.0 AAC for any players that do not support it. Most people have a powerful computer hosting their Plex Media Server. The Plex DVR is not a standalone unit.

What devices do you use for playback from your Plex DVR?


iOS, Roku, Android (tablets).

Android is the only player that requires the audio to be transcoded to 2.0, iOS and Roku handle it just fine.


Well in fact, the Roku video player doesn’t decode 5.1 audio and play it back. It just passes through the audio stream to your HDTV and it decodes.

As for Apple devices, the support for AC3 audio is quite new only introduced with iOS 9.3 - versions before that don’t decode AC3 audio. See link below.

Even then, certain devices upgradable to iOS 10.2 such as the iPhone 5c cannot playback AC3 audio natively even with the upgrade. So if the OG Tablo DVR only recorded the native 5.1 AC3 audio, many older devices wouldn’t have audio. Another example of a device that wouldn’t play the 5.1 AC3 audio is the 4th gen iPad running iOS 10.2 - and that device is not old by any means.

If your case you don’t have any issues cause you likely have a new Apple device, and likely a nice computer hosting your PMS.



For me the 5.1 Sound option would also be important. Any respond from support on where the limitations are. Recording a second sound file was one of the comments I read, but why would it not be selectable on which sound table is recording? Then the user at east still has a choice.

I even put another antenna on my main TV to overcome this.

This and the long delay during buffering when the channel is changed are the two short comings I have so far.


It’s been discussed over and over, a quick search would find that Tablo has repeatedly said that – it’s doable, but it requires a lot of effort – both from the internal Tablo team and from the chip maker. At this time they are putting their effort for other things, as 5.1 does not seem like a high priority for them.

If I were you, I wouldn’t hold my breath on getting 5.1 – enjoy to love DPLII or get a new device capable of 5.1.


I have to admit I considered the HDHOMERUN after I found out that Tablo didn’t have 5.1 or the ability to easily transfer my videos to plex without 3rd party software. But honestly, the movies that I record are not 5.1 worthy really. Most movies are trimmed so I’m not planning to keep the movies forever. Just more to kill time. Sporting events can pass with simulated surround.

Would love to see this update however and more speed with buffering and switching channels.


I must say that 5.1 would be the sprinkles on my cupcake when it comes to Tablo. My 4 month experience has been phenomenal, being able to watch live and recorded programming from every tablet, smartphone, PCs and even TVs in the house. All of these devices are stereo only, with the exception of my theatre system. And as mentioned earlier, I can put it into “cinema mode” to get a decent surround experience from a stereo source. We generally watch Blu-Rays on it however. Most of our TV watching is more casual.

I do encourage the Tablo engineers to keep 5.1 on the corner of their whiteboards as a future enhancement.


The upcoming Tablo DROID will record in 5.1 audio.


The new HDHomeRun Extend that was released last year does do 5.1 audio for recordings (obviously, as long as the show is in 5.1). I have my Extends’ “Default Transcode Profile” set to “heavy” and the Extend output file is a TS container with a MPEG-4 video stream and an AC-3 5.1 audio stream (take a look at the MediaInfo output below for more detail). My PVR software is NextPVR on Windows 10 (going all the way back to Windows 7) on an old desktop PC. One hour of recorded TS video on the “heavy” profile is usually a little over 4Gb. Even with the old PC, I sometimes record 3 shows at once. These individual files can be easily backed up, moved, copied, taken over to someone else’s house to watch, etc.

I have automatic remuxing (not transcoding, the streams are not touched) to a mp4 container setup with MCEBuddy. I have MCEBuddy remove the commercials and remux the file to a different container (it does the remuxing at night and we watch all our shows at a later date, sometimes weeks later). My final folder/file output is friendly to both Kodi and Plex. I run Plex server as well to transode whenever necessary to the Plex iPad and Android app.

My clients are either Fire TVs (bedrooms) or a small Zotac Zbox with Kodi 17.1 in the living room (I could use the FireTV in the living room as well). The Zbox in the living room passes through my Onkyo receiver and it has worked fairly flawlessly over the years (the Onkyo receiver displays Dolby Digital when passing through the audio). By far the hardest part for me was setting up the outdoor antenna and getting it to work properly where I live at.

However, I wouldn’t recommend that setup to a person that’s only about convenience, and only convenience. Meaning, if you don’t like tech and learning, then it’s probably not for you. It’s not overly hard to setup at first (just a lot of reading, watching videos, and configuring), and once it’s setup, it usually just works, and I’ve rarely had issues over the years. No more than with Comcast or DirecTV.

But, and this is a big one, you’re the tech support for yourself. If something isn’t working, you gotta fix it. I personally don’t see this as a minus, but a plus. I don’t have to wait on Comcast or DirecTV to get something working. I can start fixing it immediately. Yeah, I’ve had stuff happen over the years. Things break, both hardware & software, but it gets fixed as fast as I want it to get fixed. Amazon next day shipping solves many issues.

I’ve got my Mom setup similar (but more basic) with one old HDHomeRun Connect, an old laptop, and her FireTV. She uses MrMC (a Kodi fork without the addons) on the FireTV to watch her recorded shows. However, I manage the whole setup for her. I considered a Tablo for her, which she could probably manage herself, but I already had an old Connect and laptop, so the initial cost was minimal for me, it just took a little time to setup. Again, the hardest part of the setup was the outdoor OTA antenna and all the coax cable, getting the antenna pointed properly, etc. I would had to do the same with Tablo or any other of the home PVR solutions.

My Mom’s current setup is much better the her old one with Comcast basic cable TV which wasn’t even HD, just SD (it looked horrible). Plus now, Comcast requires a cable box for even basic cable TV, and they’ll soon start charging a monthly fee for that box as well, if they haven’t already. A Tablo would probably have worked as well or better for my Mom, but with the minimal costs and already knowing the whole HDHomeRun setup, it was cheaper/easier for me in this case.

I probably would have purchased a Tablo by now, just to test and play with, if not for the lack of 5.1 audio. They’ve had awhile to add it/release a new model, but for some reason they don’t consider it important, or something else. They’ve got their metrics, but something just seems a little odd about not having it. Fortunately nowadays, there’s a lot more choices than there use to be for consumers, so if one tech item doesn’t match your criteria, just try another one. Just don’t be too wary of learning something new. Also, if you don’t like it, just return it, it’s that easy.

Here is an example of the HDHomeRun Extend “Heavy” Profile TS video file output from MediaInfo before I remux it:

Complete name : The Blacklist Redemption_20170330_22002300.ts
Format : MPEG-TS
File size : 4.34 GiB
Duration : 1 h 3 min
Overall bit rate mode : Variable
Overall bit rate : 9706 kb/s

Format : AVC
Format/Info : Advanced Video Codec
Format profile : High@L4
Format settings, CABAC : Yes
Format settings, ReFrames : 2 frames
Codec ID : 27
Duration : 1 h 3 min
Bit rate mode : Variable
Bit rate : 8838 kb/s
Maximum bit rate : 12.0 Mb/s
Width : 1920 pixels
Height : 1080 pixels
Display aspect ratio : 16:9
Frame rate : 29.970 (30000/1001) FPS
Standard : Component
Color space : YUV
Chroma subsampling : 4:2:0
Bit depth : 8 bits
Scan type : MBAFF
Scan type, store method : Interleaved fields
Scan order : Top Field First
Bits/(Pixel*Frame) : 0.142
Stream size : 3.95 GiB (91%)
Color range : Limited

Format : AC-3
Format/Info : Audio Coding 3
Format settings, Endianness : Big
Codec ID : 129
Duration : 1 h 3 min
Bit rate mode : Constant
Bit rate : 384 kb/s
Maximum bit rate : 395 kb/s
Channel(s) : 6 channels
Channel positions : Front: L C R, Side: L R, LFE
Sampling rate : 48.0 kHz
Frame rate : 31.250 FPS (1536 spf)
Bit depth : 16 bits
Compression mode : Lossy
Stream size : 176 MiB (4%)
Language : English
Service kind : Complete Main


That really stinks that there’s no support for 5.1 audio yet. Tablo is right on the verge of having my complete dream setup: A OTA DVR solution that I can fully control with my AppleTV. Unfortunately, surround sound is a showstopper for me (every show I watch broadcasts in 5.1). Frankly, it’s the only reason I haven’t pulled the plug on cable just yet…HDHomeRun doesn’t look like it’s nearly as convenient of a setup as Tablo, but it appears it just might get me everything I’m looking for (it’s just not clear to me yet if I can fully control all DVR services via an AppleTV app)…I’ll have to look into that further.

Tablo: Let me know if there’s another place to cast my vote for 5.1 surround and/or if there’s a way I can be notified when you are ready to beta test a solution. I’d be totally fine if the feature required a wired ethernet connection on my AppleTV.




Sure - I’d need to invest in buying an Nvidia Shield…so my total out of pocket would run about $270 for Shield + Table Engine instead of $140 for the standard Tablo…but I could justify that pretty quick after I cut my cable…

The bigger downside with that solution is I can’t control any of it from AppleTV which is one of the major selling points of Tablo for me (I use AppleTV for Netflix, Hulu, renting movies, music, and pretty much everything else - so getting my DVR through AppleTV is incredibly appealing). The other thing that isn’t clear to me is the “Tablo Engine” indicates that you can only see the guide & schedule recordings from the web app - so it all feels far less cohesive than the standard Tablo setup.


I was just pointing out that Nuvyyo/Tablo now has a “solution” and so has a 5.1 position right now.


Part of the issue is that Tablo was developed with flexibility for modern technology in mind. It can stream live &/or recorded OTA broadcasts to a multitude of devices (computers, tablets, phones, streaming boxes, etc.) wirelessly. It is the transcoding required for this flexibility that makes 5.1 surround sound problematic and in many cases useless for the end device.

While I understand that this is of no consolation to those who want to view their content on their home entertainment system, but for me Tablo is the best solution to my OTA whole-home DVR needs.


TBH, every home has a unique mix of needs/ wants/ etc.

For example, I use Tablo for DVR only; I use HDHomeRun for Live since it “channel surfs” better (As well as the much desired 5.1 audio). Neither solution is 100% for my use on their own, so I went hybrid :slight_smile:

Family is happy, I am happy, party on…




In order to appease the Google gods…

Tablo supports 5.1 Surround Sound now!


Wow table did a lot recently

I love the 5.1 sound!
Also the new table preview app is starting to eliminate the largest short coming -> speed on changing channel and startup of the live TV It is a lot faster!!!

One idea of improvement would be to keep the audio of the last watched live channel on when you check the guide about what is on.

Keep up the good work!


Linbox…try continue watching the station on your Media Player and browse the guide with the app on your cellphone.


I like that, @TabloTV.