Backup to My Tablo

I’ve been a very satisfied user of the Tablo (2 tuner) for the past two years. My wife has been recording a lot of shows and I didn’t feel like tying up the Tablo for hours recording sports events.

So for $29.95 I got myself a PVR just to record sports events. Nothing fancy - the device uses the PSIP guide data sent with each channel’s OTA stream (24 hour EPG). It’s the Mediasonic Homeworx 180. When it dies, throw it away and just get another one…:grin:

What surprised me about it was the speed with which it changes channels and the great tuner sensitivity! I can just plug in any USB drive\key and it will record in native mpeg format - which is way better than MP4 for live sports events. Get it to record 3 or 4 football games this fall over the weekend without fear of overheating, etc. Leave the Tablo for the Downton Abbey’s of this world. My wife gets the classy DVR while I go slumming with the grungy one…:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Not bad for a thirty dollar backup :relaxed: No, I didn’t buy it at Crazy Eddie’s.


Welcome to the club. That’s what I use to link my projector to the antenna. Watched the Super Bowl last year on the big screen and it was awesome.

It also has RF Out so one can daisy chain it with a TV’s antenna Coax In.

My wife is also happy to have this backup. For “must record” programs, we’ll schedule them on both devices so if one fails, the other will have it. We used to do that with Downton Abbey - had it recorded on the Tablo and also on a PC.

There’s a good review of it on YouTube by “Better Way to Connect” which is where I found it. Never mind that it’s a PVR, I still can’t get over the fact that one can get a tuner for 30 bucks or so (which I needed for my projector)!

Just got one for my daughter so she can have her own private DVR (in her room) and record her own shows. Thirty friggin bucks! Heck might just get another one for the basement home theater and record sports (as you say). Can’t beat mpg.

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This thing’s a media player so she can also put her pix and music on it.

Yup, loaded it yesterday with pics & songs.

BTW it just occurred to me that this is a cheap way of “adding a tuner” to the system. I wasn’t willing to upgrade to a 4 tuner Tablo so now I have a 3 tuner system :relaxed: In any case I wasn’t willing to record 3-4 hours X two on the Tablo for 6-8 hours at a time so this PVR fits the bill (moneywise as well). It’s my wreckable car…

I like that it has a power off button so when I don’t use it (like Monday thru Friday) I can turn it off completely. Just want to use it on weekends to record football this autumn.

Get another one, put it in another room and you’ll have a cheap 4 tuner system :wink: Ha! the weekend PVR.

Mark Kindle:
Yes, sounds like an ideal backup/supplement for Tablo. Instant channel surfing, 5:1 audio. .What kind of hard drive or thumb drive are you using? Any problems with extended recordings of say 3 hours or more (sports)? FF/rewind thumbnails?
To all currently using this please chime in with your experience, tips, suggestions. Expect to order one from Newegg shortly. Thanks

So far, to test it out, I’ve scheduled and recorded just a couple of shows (each one hour long). No problems thus far. Tonight I’m recording a 3 hour football game so we’ll see tomorrow how that turned out.

I have a 32 GB thumb drive that I have used for these tests and intend to continue using it for the games this fall. Should be able to put 2 to 3 games on it over a weekend.

It is a very simple (primitive) DVR. Guide is all text based (no pictures or icons). This EPG has whatever data the stations choose to put in (and some put in very little - just title and actors for a show). It supposedly supports a 7 day guide BUT stations tend to send just the next 24 hours. Haven’t seen any program info beyond 24 hours on any channel.

I wasn’t being facetious when I said it is a “throwaway” device. At other forums some people have gotten a year or two and then it died. My philosophy is, “OK, I know what I’m getting, it may have a limited lifespan BUT it is a $30 supplement to take some pressure off my Tablo.” It will be a secondary device, not the primary PVR in our family. If it extends the life of my Tablo by sharing the burden of recording long running events, then it will do its job. I just do not feel comfortable in putting the Tablo through a 6-8 hour “heat grind” continuously recording.

As well because it may not be as reliable as $300 DVRs, I will relegate it to doing non-essential tasks - the Tablo will shoulder the major burden of doing the “must record” programming. If the Homeworx misses a football game, fine, there’ll be others. But it won’t be recording things the family depends on.

Now there are others of this type in the same price range. They seem to all be clones. I bought this one because of the YouTube review I saw.

I’ve had it for 6 months to feed my projector. Have used it sparingly as a DVR. Usually it stays with my projector with an 8 gb flash key inserted so we can pause, rewind or FF. The YouTube review is here:

Since we use it in my home theater perhaps once or twice a week (on weekends) it doesn’t get overworked so can’t testify to its reliability or longevity. However it is fast switching channels! Recorded live events such as sports do look great as mpegs in 1080p.

Thanks Mark. Your experience pretty much coincides with my expectations after reading reviews on Amazon and You Tube.
If it performs reasonably well within it’s limitations for a year or so it pays for itself. Engineered and produced in China I expect - so what else is new :smirk:
Please let me know how your 3 hour recording turns out. I’ve ordered one from Newegg just today. I spend more on an average visit to the supermarket.
Thanks to all for your feedback.

Thanks for the input. Have one on order.

Yes Chinese no doubt. I think I know where the specs and chips came from. I was looking at it from the back and it resembles 100% the Samsung STBs of a few years back. Totally identical (I have one). Samsung stopped making their STBs several years ago.

My guess is that Samsung, in getting out of the STB business, either sold or gave away their STB and tuner designs to these companies. They are probably very low price because there has been no upfront engineering cost for them. They got all the specs to churn these out.

In fact, the way the EPG on the Homeworx is displayed is 100% identical to the way my Samsung TV shows it. They probably got not only the designs and hardware but also the firmware. Samsung got out of the STB business to concentrate on smart TVs.

BTW Channel Master (antennas and DVR) is now also a Chinese company.

The main reason I have the Homeworx is that I want to see sports recorded in 1080 mpeg2 NOT MP4. There is a huge viewing difference! In fact cable customers are going to get shafted once again because their sports will get even worse. Here is Comcast lately:

“Some of your HD channels have transitioned from 1080i to 720p60. As part of our ongoing work to improve and modernize the way we deliver HD channels, we are transitioning all of our HD streams to progressive format. We are making this change in conjunction with the transition to MPEG-4. This means that some channels that were delivered in 1080i will now be delivered in 720p60.”

FOX broadcasts football in 720p and it is ughh compared to NBC and CBS at 1080. But then again I’m the guy who thinks vinyl had the best sound…

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I noticed the Comcast phrase “ongoing work to improve.” Made me laugh - Comcast and improve together?

BTW in the old analog days satellite companies such as Dish and Direct had great picture quality AT THE BEGINNING. It was so good that I wondered why the need for HD. Then as they started adding and deploying more channels (and compressing their streams more), the picture quality worsened.

One would read at a variety of satellite forums in those days more and more topics that dealt with the degradation of the picture quality. Of course, the satellite reps denied that the channel streams were lessened in any way. But eyes don’t lie.

And you’re right about mpg2 - I watched the Super Bowl last year through my Homeworx and preferred that to the Tablo.

The three hour recording of Thursday Night Football on NBC was perfect. Love the picture quality! No glitches. I’m ready for autumn football. And hockey on NBC this winter. Love NBC’s picture quality and to have it replicated on the DVR EXACTLY AS IT IS TRANSMITTED - just great. I don’t mind watching some sports events a day or two later if the picture quality makes you think it is live and you are there.

Darn it, the wife is asking whether we shouldn’t get another one for the bedroom (this one is attached to the living room TV). She likes the idea of fast channel switching with a guide (no matter how primitive). “It’s just $30,” she says… And to think, she was the one who banished me to the wilderness of the Homeworx away from “her” Tablo!!!

Just a word of warning - the recording is a whopping 18 gig (6 gig per hour). But the picture quality (1920 x 1080 13 mbps) is superb! No compression or cutting back there LOL. And no I’m not getting a larger disk - $29 is $29 period!

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I’m tired of compression…in everything! Just give me the full blast :astonished:

Now you see what I meant when I said the Super Bowl was superb in full 1080 mpg2.

18 gb LOL. You’re not going to get more than one game on your 32 gb flash. But 29 bucks is 29 bucks not a penny more… Got yours on Amazon, I think Newegg had it going for $27. Lost two bucks there LOL.

Newegg has it back up to $31. Since I have Amazon Prime, there was no shipping charge for 2 day delivery.

I’m wondering if online stores don’t price their products the way stocks are priced. I noticed that the day after I bought mine at Amazon for 29, the price went up to 31. It’s as if there is an indicator inside the computer that says, “Jack up the price by 5% when a sale is made or someone shows interest browsing that product.” The prices are volatile just like stocks…

Then two days after I made the purchase, Amazon sends me a notice that a competing DVR (ViewTV) is available for $27. Amazing how computers are playing around with prices and products on a 24 hour basis depending on consumer traffic and interest. Prices have become commodities in a real-time market.

What is deceptive about these little boxes is that they started out being primarily advertised as digital to analog converter boxes for old analog TVs doing OTA (a capability these boxes still have). So they were out of public view until someone recognized that they also had HDMI out with recording functionality.

After their analog period, they became popular as inexpensive tuners for tunerless display devices (such as projectors). When Vizio anounced they were developing tunerless TVs, people started inquiring about these little boxes to augment their Vizio TVs for OTA.