Allow a different recording quality for each show

This might be a repeat, but as it stands, the recording quality is set for the box, not for each show. I’d like to edit the recording options for a show, and see an option to choose “default”, which would be the settings for the box, or a specific recording quality for that show. This would allow me to record sporting events at highest quality, but regular TV shows at 720/30fps.

The way it works now, I have to change the recording quality on Sunday morning, and set it back on Sunday evening if I want to get NFL games at highest quality without burning through storage for my regular shows.



The simple solution is just get a big hard drive. I have a 4 TB hard drive (which is far from the biggest), and I keep everything at the highest quality. After 6 years, I still have 1.5 TB left (I do delete season and sporting events occasionally).


Definitely a good request, but likely low on the priority list for new features.

They sort of understood the reasoning behind this request when they allowed Live TV and Recordings to have different quality settings. As in most people watch sports live (don’t quote me on that, that’s what I think). When Tablo first came out, there was only one global setting.

The decoupling of the Live TV and Recording Quality settings was done primarily for Tablo DVRs with onboard storage like the Tablo DUAL 64GB and Tablo 128GB. The recommended Recording Quality for these DVRs is lower (HD 720 - 3 Mbps) as higher settings will fill up the onboard storage more quickly.

Then, as you mentioned, it give examples using sports programming…

1 Like

I agree with you, this would be nice. Even if it was a dynamic/auto feature (“match transmission quality”) it would help immensely.

I happen to enjoy a mix of catalog shows (I Love Lucy, Mash, Frasier) as well as newer shows, and live sports. It’s silly that a 1950’s show transmitted between 480i-720p seems to get recorded at the same bitrate as a newly-aired pristine 1080i show.

I’ve only had my unit a few days, and have every show set to keep All recordings, so I can see how much space is used after a week’s time, recording at the highest quality setting.

1 Like

I presume you’ve seen this:

Higher Resolution Settings Do NOT = Upscaling
Broadcasts being sent to your antenna at lower video resolutions (for example an old episode of I Love Lucy) will not be ‘upscaled’ to a higher resolution if you set your Tablo to 720 or 1080.

But, yes, gets transcoded at the same rate as all show from the same channel.

1 Like

Yes, exactly, but even though the highest transmitted copy of a show may be in 480p it is still saved at a much higher bitrate.

For a 480i broadcast the actual quality can be determined by whether it is broadcast as 480i in 16:9 aspect or 480i in 4:3 aspect.

I think the 4:3 has a better picture before trancode. But many users don’t realize that some networks still broadcast in 4:3. So having users making these decisions could have negative side affects.

I think 720P is 16:9 and is considered HD and part of the 1996 ATSC 1.0 standard. And the FCC didn’t force NTSC to be turned off before 2009.

For what it is worth, I am not talking so much about the 480 programming. I am talking about stuff I watch on my TV in my bedroom (42") vs. what I watch in my home theater (120"). For regular shows such as “This is us”, I am fine with 720 at 30fps. But for live sports, I want 1080 or 720 at 60fps. The latter consumes a LOT more storage. Also, I have a remote weekend place in the mountains without any live TV signal (and no internet either…joyous!), so I often use the Tablo ripper to download a show or two for the kids to watch while traveling. It is much simpler and faster to download TV shows recorded in 720 @30fps than 1080 or 720@60fps due to the relative size.


Agreed. I’ve been transcoding the larger files using Handbrake. Intel CPU’s, as well as AMD and NVIDIA GPU’s, can handle this task rather quickly. You can also optimize the resulting transcoded file for streaming; not what you’re asking for directly, but it’s another way that leads to the same goal.

I had not seen that, and honestly I’m not entirely sure what it means. Will it record at 480 even though I have it set for 1080? I can’t tell.

I really wish there was just a setting for “native” for both recording and viewing. When I record “I love Lucy” that’s being transmitted at 480i and a low bit rate…just record it and stream it at that bit rate. Don’t transcode it to something higher. That’s what I think is really missing here.

In a perfect world, I would prefer to record it as it’s broadcast, and let me choose to set a max playback bit rate. If the recording format needs to be limited (as they elude to for the 4 tuner version) then set a “max recording” so it records native up to a max of 720 8mbps (for example) or whatever value you choose.

That’s my 2 cents.

From what I can see, using a 3party app like APL-Tablo, it digs out more information available from the tablo DB. (other apps may also display, and well as manually browsing data).

My setting for recordings is 720 - 5 Mbps
MeTV broadcast at 480i (digital standard). A 60 minute recording takes ~1 GB.
CW broadcast at 720 where as a 30 minute recording takes ~ 1GB.

But then Comet also broadcast at 480i and a 60 minutes ranges ~ 620 MB - 680 MB +/- (593 - 760)

So I’d say it records at either the max broadcast or settings which ever comes first.

It means, if the show is 480, it records at 480 even if you set max to 1080 because it won’t upscale and make it more than it is to start with. If it’s only 720 and you set your max to 1080, I’d bet it would record at 720 because it can’t make it more that what it gets.

I may not have explained it the most eloquently, but hope it makes enough sense to understand.

Isn’t the objective to only transcode once from antenna to H.264 HLS file. - and not from HLS file to TV/device.

And wouldn’t controlling/changing recording quality at output require a tuner to transcode.

And isn’t the size of 480i recording set at 720P determine based on whether the broadcast is 4:3 or 16:9 and also if the broadcast is pillar.

Can’t a 480i SD, as part of the digital specs be broadcast either 16:9 or 4:3 - isn’t it the actual source which determines it’s actual aspect ratio?

Some users complain shows are the wrong format, isn’t this because they are recorded at one and broadcast at another?

Indeed, the information for aspect can be properly transmitted, but a lot of broadcasters don’t pay a lot of attention. So, they sometimes just do a fixed ratio and let things get all messed up.

(btw, this has gotten a bit better over the past couple years, there was a time when 480i broadcasters fixed at 4:3 and just “tiny” letterboxed any 16:9 media they showed. It’s gotten a lot better.)

With that said, your TV also can be configured into “fixed” aspect ratios rather than scanning… so there’s that as well.

The broadcast can be 480i and 16;9 but the actual picture pillar and thus 4:3. Or it could be broadcast in 4:3.

Isn’t the purpose of transcoding to h.264 or h.265 to compress the broadcast. Aren’t the compression formulas based on an original start of picture followed by a series of frames only containing the differences. Wouldn’t the size of a transcoded broadcast with either 4:3 or 16:9 pillar be smaller.