Full disclosure: The BS with Roku not long ago, the lack of honest disclosure, the continued advertising campaign featuring the Roku during that period, mismanaged product announcements and releases, along with a fair number of significant quality problems (i.e. right now, my Tablo can’t be found on my network) don’t make for a very happy customer. I have no respect for Tablo the company - but, I’ll admit freely that it is the best OTA DVR on the market since many of the crippling issues have been addressed.
So, what accessories can you buy for your tablo to make the experience better?
There are two (or three, depending on how you count). First, get an Android based streamer. Why? Well, because Android TV’s “Live Channels” is THE BOMB. You can add content from multiple providers (OTA, Pluto, Weather, etc.) to a real time channel guide. Second get an HDHomerun Connect or Extend - and optionally, get a HDHomeRun Prime.
Why do the HDHomeruns make such good accessories for the Tablo? (and note, I’m not referring to replacing the Tablo - I literally mean this to be accesories). It’s simple: Tablo’s core competency is providing a rather expensive OTA DVR. This is what they do well. What do they do “not so well?” What Tablo isn’t very good about is giving me the “instant channel change” that I get with cable, or normal OTA. HDHomerun does just this! It’s simply a better solution for this very specific task. Plus, you can get an HDHomerun Connect for under $70!! The difference between the connect and extend is simply the compression. If you have a wired, or MOCA network, you can get away with the Connect. If you need to go wireless, go with the Extend. When you pair this functionality with Android TV’s Live Channels - you have your tried and true cable experience back - the part of the cable experience that you enjoyed. So, what do I do with the Tablo? Easy!! Record with it!!! Just use it for what it’s good at - being an OTA DVR!
A note here about the HDHomerun Prime: The Prime is not OTA, it takes a cable card. You might not be aware, but all cable boxes in the US these days are just a STB with a cable card inserted. This is the result of FCC regulations from back in 2006 - anything you’ve been led to believe about cable cards being inferior is / was started and propagated by the Cable companies because these are FAR less expensive than renting cable boxes on every TV.
As I mentioned, I have both - the Connect and the Prime - I can switch between them if I want using the Live Channels app on Android TV with a click of the button. Plus, since there’s no hardware to buy (STB) it was very affordable for me to add a number of channels I can’t get OTA that I wanted - for only $4 net increase per month. This was offset by being able to cancel SlingTV and HULU - I had an extra pack on Sling, so that’s a total savings $34 monthly. Now, I still have Netflix, but my monthly “cable bill” has decreased from $340-ish per month to $83 all in. I’m not missing a single channel that I ever watched. I have zero cable boxes. The Prime has 3 tuners and I paid $99 for it and the cable card is $3.99 per month from my provider (Fios) - included in the $84 - obviously, internet is included here 75/75.
So that’s it! Aside from the fact that my Tablo has once again decided it isn’t on my network anymore - I use it for what it’s good at, which is being an OTA DVR. The HDHomeRun device(s) allow me to change channels with zero lag and have better OTA tuners (by far) than the Tablo. Finally, other than having to go reboot my Tablo, all is good with the world.
I highly recommend you consider accessorizing your Tablo if the channel change lag time is killing you.