After 9 months with my Tablo... a rant

I have been pondering this product, the issues, the performance, the usability, etc.

My Tablo ultimately replaced Bell Expressive PVRs. They used to work really well. I didn’t have any waiting when playing back shows, or skipping forward and back. Certainly no crashes.

I guess I expected technology that was far newer than those old PVRs to work at least as well or better.

The iPad app seems to work OK. Since it’s streaming from a box to my iPad, I get that it won’t be instant, and I can live with that performance. The next toy, a Roku, allowed me to use the product without AirPlay. Cool, but a bit slower. Oh well. Unfortunately, it has been getting slower and slower with every firmware and/or software release. And more unstable.

I have to explain to my girlfriend why the Roku reboots when we skip commercials. I’m not sure how she would deal with this if I wasn’t home.

You can imagine my delight when the new Apple TV was announced. I knew that since the iPad app works reasonably well, the native Apple TV IOS version would be as good. So I took delivery of the new Apple device, and looked for Tablo on the App Store. Nothing. Strange, since many, many developers have their apps there, and this should be a relatively easy “port” of the iPad app to the Apple TV. Tablo’s developers have had the same amount of time as all of the other developers to port their app over. I guess I’ll wait. I’m no stranger to waiting when it comes to Tablo. ( I now wait for up to a minute when skipping commercials!).

So I come here, and I don’t even see a date of release. Nada. Just something saying they’re working on it. Hello, the App Store is full of apps that other companies had time for.

Between the nasty firmware issues causing more and more waiting for stuff to play (or crash), and this lack of an app for the Apple box out of the gate, I’m really questioning this company’s abilities to take what is a good concept, and make it work properly (and keep it working properly), and to have software released promptly.

Currently, if I want to use this device, I do this:

  • Launch the Roku app, and wait.
  • Choose recordings - and wait.
  • Pick a show - and wait.
  • Find the episode - and yes, you guessed it, wait while it gets around to appearing on the screen.

The “preview” app is a little quicker to get going, but it frequently tells me it can’t see the Tablo device it used last time, but I can connect to this one…

Basically I spend a long time with the remote in my hand choosing, pressing buttons, with waits in between, just to launch something that’s already recorded, and sitting there.

When it eventually plays, I dare not skip ahead because of the new wait that’s been added recently, and a good chance of it rebooting the Roku.

And besides the bugs causing these extended waits, just look at the number of steps to play a show, even if it worked well. It should be click, click, click on the remote.

I already had to change my hard drive because of compatibility issues. I think those have been solved with the latest release, but I already had to deal with that, didn’t I?

I can’t help but feel that I paid this company a lot of money so that I might be privileged enough to test out their attempts for them. This product is basically in an alpha state.

Again, I can’t imagine my girlfriend, or older relatives dealing with this nonsense. They don’t know why I do, and why does there have to be a geek around just to watch TV now.

I’ve had this thing for the better part of a year now. It’s not improving, it’s getting worse. Yes, it did let me “cut the cable”, but it’s only half baked as far as speed and stability - and again, worse than when I first got it.

I’m about to try their beta firmware. If I don’t see some sign that this company has gotten their butts in gear, and get these performance and stability issues addressed, I’m jumping ship.

Oh, and I just remembered… as soon as I first came onto this forum, I saw posts from Tablo promising an app was being worked on to pull programs off the unit onto my computer. That was 10 months ago I read that. Thought it sounded cool, but what happened? It doesn’t seem to have come to pass. t see there’s something unofficial from a user, but no app from Tablo. Certainly no way to put shows back - say, when I replaced my hard drive.

If Tablo’s plan is to let a user build a solution for them, I get it - they don’t have to provide any support for that, and they reap the benefits of the unit being able to do that. But they did say they were working on that. It seems a user can do it faster.

It appears to me that Tablo’s target customer is a geek, who is willing to experiment with various things, and put up with updates that haven’t been tested fully, and are very buggy. Someone apparently willing to load one app on an iPhone to find one set of settings (a fast start checkbox or something). Another app on an iPad to do other settings. A playback app on Roku that doesn’t seem to have any settings, or even the ability to create timers. Another “preview” app that has more functionality. The promise that this “preview” will “eventually” become the default Roku channel, but no date made public. And if you need to back up your shows, you need to scour the Internet for little utilities, codecs, figure out how to piece it all together, then download a utility written by a user.

And - most people reading this may not be bothered by this - I must come to the company’s on-line forum to find out anything about all the issues, what’s being worked on to fix them, read the promises of new software being worked on…etc., etc.

If I wasn’t “geeky” enough to come here, and was just some typical consumer, I would think that I had a defective unit. Alas, no, the unit is the same as everyone else’s. The company is well aware of the issues - but apparently never reaches out to their customer base to let them know of these issues.

What about the other 80% of owners that are typical consumers who have no idea why this thing just gets more and more unstable? What if my uncle bought one, or if I get hit by a bus and my girlfriend has to deal with this thing?

I follow Tablo on Twitter. I don’t see anything on there trying to inform people of issues or fixes. Nothing. Just advertising on how people can cut the cord. No attempt whatsoever to reach out to their customers who have already handed over their money.

And, why all the different apps, and the need to launch different ones to do different things with the product? If there’s to be different platforms supported, then the app should be as close to identical on each.

I am frustrated. I’m a bit of a geek, but I’m getting too old for this. I am starting to expect stuff to work. And improve over time.

Cool idea though.

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Have you contacted support and started a ticket?

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Hate to say it, but he is DEAD ON!

Contacting Support and they Blame ROKU.

This is an Alpha Product!

I consult with many people trying to cut the cord, as I have a friend that installs antennas and just can’t recommend Tablo at this time. Wish I could as it has so much potential!

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For which concern, that the unit and all of the code it requires is still in an alpha state?

I’m not sure that opening what would need to be several tickets would accomplish, when after coming here, it is obvious that each of these issues is already known, and well discussed.

I have made an general “statement” covering all of the known issues and how they affect me, and my opinions on them. I expect there will be people that will disagree, and tell me to “start a ticket”.

I also suspect that many people who are fed up with a product so full of issues might feel the same way as me.

But your input is appreciated.

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Is there a set of people that have this issue, Yes. Are there a lot of people that have no issues at all, yes.

All products have issues of some sorts. But this does NOT affect everyone. I personally have 2 Roku 3’s. 1 TCL Roku TV and have only seen a reboot once from Tablo. I also have seen reboots happen from Hulu and Netflix.

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Let me add to my previous post that most people that come to this forum are here to complain about issues. People that have no issues probably visit here very seldom if at all.

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huh, too bad. I have seen them fix a great many issues. Have I had a few minor issues? Yes. Most of which have been so minor I have been able to just wait for a patch.

But, If I had the number of issues you seem to and it was so unusable, you bet I would call support.

Are you really looking for a solution?

xxx ccc xx cc

I’m not sure why you are appearing to be so insincere. He has documented issues, which support would tell him, and he wants those documented issues fixed. I partially agree with him - though I am not experiencing almost any of his issues since I switched to Android TV.

Note: It appears that the firmware in beta fixes some of your issues with slowness. I would recommend joining the beta testing group.

I can explain the purpose of the above rant for you…but I can’t understand it for you.

I suspect that if you had all of these issues - well documented issues, acknowledged by the company - you would be as frustrated as I am, and you might even consider posting a rant about it.

You seem to not have these issues. You’re lucky. Your input is appreciated, but I don’t think this particular post is for you.

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I agree too! Honestly I do.

I just don’t see how you get solutions ranting here. Personally I would go straight to support. If for no other reason but that his logs might provide key information to help provide a fix…

Especially a single unit showing so many of the documented issues at once. It might be a gold mine of information for the company.

just my 2¢. We just might have to agree to disagree…

Well, I did put it in the “General Discussion” section…

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I honestly do hope it helps

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Seriously, check out the beta group. @MotobikeMan makes a good point - if you are having almost all of the documented issues, you would be a perfect candidate to see if the newest beta firmware fixes them.

You do have to submit a ticket to get in on the beta… Just say’n :grinning:

I kid, I kid :wink:

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As mentioned in my rant, I have signed up for the beta. I am awaiting the “trigger” that actually installs it. Hopefully it addresses the recent issues. All of the other parts of my rant will still apply though!

Not only that, fixing the issues for others as well :wink:

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Tablo is a great product which needs some serious software quality assurance to make it reliable and possibly improve speed. It does a lot for its size, price, and power consumption.

As a vocal critic whose rants appear in this forum, I share your pain, and I detest the dismissive comment of someone who persistently needs to remind everyone that the issues are trivial, uncommon, Roku’s fault, or arise due to user network faults. The Tablo just will require some patience, and fingers crossed that this will be rewarded with a truly great and stable solution soon

Larry

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I have seen many of your posts and have not really gotten into this with you. Are some users experiencing issues yes. Are a lot experiencing no issues, yes. So from my perspective my Tablo’s, yes I have 2, have almost zero issues. So It is hard to watch people complain about the quality when I do not share the same issues you are having.
I do feel your pain, and would probably complain more than you if I had the issues, but saying a product is beta or alpha because you, or a small set of users, has issues is a stretch.

Now, I do hope all of your issues get fixed and wish the best to you. I would suggest working with support on each issue and possibly join the beta group to see if your issues get fixed and/or are already fixed in the latest betas.

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I agree that the concept is wonderful, and so is the hardware. As you state, the major stumbles are in software/firmware - however those are not the only issues.

What of software that is missing when promised. What of the issue of releasing software that’s not tested fully. Why do other vendors seem to be able to get an Apple TV app out the door on time? Where’s the tool to back up and restore my programming? Why is there different apps for different settings?

And really, what is the purpose of a company Twitter account that is only used for advertising? Who are their followers, potential customers that want to see more and more posts advertising the product? No, it’s likely people people like you and me that have bought it already and need posts with actual useful information. Posting ads to people who have already bought the product is such a waste of a useful communication medium.

If I saw in my Twitter feed some useful information stating that some units may have issues, and here’s the fix (or beta to try), I would be impressed. If I saw that letter from their CEO linked there, I would be impressed. I keep seeing information directed at people that don’t know about the product - who do they think is seeing those posts? I wouldn’t follow them if I’d never heard of them, and hadn’t yet considered cutting the cord.

This company needs to be open and up-front and openly admit issues. Those are the companies I will buy from a second time. And have a little more patience with.