Accessories for the Tablo DVR

Hi Everyone,

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.

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The HDHomeRun is not a standalone unit. Are you running its server software on a 24/7 computer? Or a NAS?

I use my direct to TV input to surf channels instantly. Switch back to Tablo when I’ve decided what to view. Seldom watch live TV anyway. That’s why I invested in a DVR. Time management and zipping past moronic commercials is worth the price of admission alone. Anything more is icing on the cake.

My setup is simple, no NAS, no Plex, none of that.

I don’t think you read my post theuser86 - read it again. I said keep using the Tablo as a DVR. The combination of AndroidTV and HDHomeRun directly address a very popular complaint regarding the guide, channel change lag time, etc. The Tablo still has it’s place as a DVR. Honestly, it took a very long time, but I have a wife-proof, child-proof, setup now that could never be achieved by any other configuration I’ve tried.

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How long does it take HDHomeRun to get the new channels when they come on the air? I really do wish they would have picked TitanTV, but we’re stuck with the company they picked. TitanTV already has programming for the two channels that just started broadcasting yesterday. It’s not like they had to find the schedule. Just know what channel to put it to, since it is on other channels throughout the US.

How do you run Android TV on a Fire TV device though? I understand that with a Nexus Player, but you provided this solution to someone running a Fire TV previously.

He meant Android TV, not android-based streamer.

theuser86 - perhaps I’m incorrect about the Fire TV (I don’t have one) - my understanding is that Play Store items (Like Live Channels for Android TV) were available, and when they’re not, they can be side loaded. Is this not the case? I have Shields and Nexus players.

No idea.

I have a hd home run extend and the picture quality is vastly inferior to the tablo. Maybe it is the tuners, I don’t know. I tried it with the live channels app and had excessive pixelation. I have tried Tivo, hd home run, and the channel master dvr and the tablo is just better in my setup in every way.

I have a Fire TV and a Roku3, I personally have not had much luck with the FireTV but you can sideload Kodi which I’ve heard is awesome. When it comes to Plex (I admit I’ve become a junky) you can use someone elses server and just use the channel on your streaming device (go on Reddit and search for Plexshares) there is a whole channel devoted to it and many times people will have 6TB+ of stuff and right now that includes DVD screeners of movies turned into the academy for possible nomination) When you talk about accessories (its not gonna help you with live tv) I use TabloRipper which can be set to eliminate recordings after it converts them into mp4 and copies them to whatever destination you choose. I’m not sure how much of an accessory that is for you, but in mp4 format you can put it on a external USB drive and it will play on many streaming devices (Roku) or what you lack (Plex, serious man its awesome)

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I see PLEX and TABLO being devices that complement each other … the PLEX is better to think of as a DVD server … to serve movies / videos you have from prior sources … and the TABLO is pretty much your OTA/TV DVR … they dont really replace each other but complement each other … (now that said you can do things with plex plugins/channels, downloading scripts and such but thats not what I am talking about here … just the basic out of the box core-functionality of each)

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Live Channels is a system app, likely reliant on the framework of the OS. I doubt sideloading the apk to a Fire TV would work. Not to mention then you have to consider app integration.

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Well, my recently added accessories were a Leaf antenna and a remote outlet control that I can kill power to the Tablo via a smart phone ap. I am pleased with the performance of the Tablo, and the constant upgrades to the firmware and software, but every time I travel away from home, the Tablo stops working, generates the “error weak signal” message or something else to tick off the wife. At least now I can remotely reboot it with my phone. And I will just use the Leaf antenna for OTA viewing, and leave it at that. If that does not make her happy, then it is back to cable.

As an interesting experiment, search the forum for the term “wife” and see what pops up in the postings.

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My “accessories”…
laptop cooling mat - usb powered
invest some money into a quality SSHD, saberent usb 3 enclosure, and usb 2 type A cable. I did this and it made a big difference in performance.
Quality mohu antenna like a curve or leaf 50

cooling mat:
usb 2 cable:
usb drive enclosure: