Best option for viewing on a TV

Currently, what is the best option for using a Tablo to get LIVE/Recorded shows on my TV?

Right now we own:
  • 2 Android tablets
  • 2 Android phones
  • Chromecast
  • Windows Laptop
Using the app on the tablets is too frustrating to consider.  Not only is the interface painfully slow, but casting shows has proved fruitless because the app always seems to crash within 5 minutes of starting a show.

Using the web app on the phone to cast has been a little more stable in the limited testing I’ve done, but only if I don’t use the phone for ANYTHING else at the same time. (I think this is because its casting from the browser, and that app gets closed if you try to do anything else?)

Casting from a chrome tab on the laptop is OKAY, but we don’t usually have (and don’t want) a laptop up and running all day long.

So…what is the current experience like with a Roku?  Is it worth spending $100 to get a Roku 3?  Is the UI performance better?  Is the streaming STABLE?  Is it more polished?  I’ve tried looking at the Roku section here, but can’t get a good feel for the experience overall.  


@TD2779 My opinion (and the reason I went for Tablo) is that Roku is the best way to watch shows on an actual TV.  The interface isn’t brilliant (mostly due to Roku’s limited graphics API I think), but it does what it needs to.  On a all-wired network the experience thus far has been pretty flawless.

We watch most of our other streaming content through Roku, so I specifically wanted a solution that would utilize what we already had.

I use the web app and the android app to set up recordings, but in general I don’t use them to watch unless I’m out and about using Tablo Connect.  I may be in a minority here, but I’m very comfortable with using one device to control and another to watch.  I know some people want a “one-stop shop” for everything, but I’m not one of them!


I would highly recommend ROKU 3.   It works best when it is a wired connection.  I personally use the powerline ethernet adaptors to give me a wired connection.  It works GREAT!   We use the ROKU 3 on our main TV.  We have an older model ROKU HD in our bedroom that is really close to the router and is wireless and it also works well.  My son has the ROKU Stick upstairs and it does ok but not near as well as the ROKU 3 wired.

If oyu want to save some money I can also recommend a Roku 2 XD with Ethernet connection.  Half the price of the 3.

Thanks for the responses!  

I see the XS has Ethernet, and I also see a refurbed Roku 3 for $80.  Hmmmmmmmmm   I can see the potential, but not sure if I want to spend another $65+ in the HOPES that I get the experience I should already be getting.

I like the Roku 3.

Well… apart from people that are using non-Roku solutions… I’d just like to say that Roku is probably the cheapest most flexible frontend out there.  Sure, you could build you own but probably at more than double the cost… and with a lot less support especially on the more proprietary side. 

So… if you haven’t invested anything, I will challenge people to find a solution that works as well and works for less than the Roku.

That’s from my research into cord cutting when I first started the adventure… and I think it’s still true.

If you lived near me I’d let you borrow a Roku 3 to test with.

Oh… and yes, apart from the Netflix interface, the cheaper Roku 2 is certainly a viable option.  Even the prior gen XS/XD units work pretty well.  But I haven’t really done much Tablo TV testing outside of the Roku 3.

@TD2779 did you see the video review of the Roku app in this thread?

That may help you with your decision-making.

Tablo is first and foremost for personal 2 foot viewing experiences… On a tablet or a computer screen; there it excels. If you use these devices with a crowd of people, then read no further… Hookup an HDMI cable and revel in the Tablo awesomeness.

For the 10 foot (TV viewing experience) a Roku is the only way to go until Tablo releases a phone app incorporating the web app ui functionality, focuses on a touch experience, and nails Chromecast stability. A proper remote control experience is what Tablo has to bring to a phone app. Chromecast apps like Netflix already show how it’s done.

Roku is lame… But it delivers stability and performance (as well as a physical remote and phone “touch” remote app)… So you are paying for that and that really matters! You’re not getting a better a Tablo experience… Just the proper 10 foot experience that Tablo is so slow to deliver on its own.

Go Roku if your impatient or love physical remotes.

Get on Tablo’s case to get a phone app out to market if your serious about using your phone for the 10 foot viewing experience, through Chromecast.

Go hookup an HDMI cable to your laptop… if you still use cables in your life.

I hate that I’m a Roku user… But the dang thing just works good enough. At this point, with football season coming up and my recent firmware hell experiences… I’m planning to continue to use my Roku and stay off the latest firmware revision all throughout football season. I don’t see other acceptable options for stable group viewing.

Basically… What no one ever points out… Tablo missed the ball. They didn’t incorporate an HDMI port on the device. Tablo just isn’t for TVs.

They are trying to make there Roku and Chromecast capabilities sufficient to meet TV viewing needs… And presently Roku is simply good enough.

Chromecast is going to take multiple app updates… Firmware updates (maybe)… And the release of a phone app on multiple platforms… (The idea of which seems to overwhelm Tablo presently… As there is no stated commitment to do so)… At the rate at which Tablo is releasing hardware… It’s possible Tablo would release a hardware solution with an HDMI port before they nail down Roku and Chromecast TV viewing experiences. Should we all hope for that!?

Disclaimer: these comments are brought to you by “honest beer Friday”. Telling it like it is, since 1999.

Thanks everyone for contributing! The videos were especially helpful.

I went ahead and ordered a Roku 3, so we’ll see how it works in a few days. Worst case, we have yet another way to watch Netflix, YouTube, HBOGo, etc…

For an iPhone with Safari or Apple iPad with TABLO app, an HDMI is what I find best. No Roku or Plex account. If the Tablo box had an HDMI out, it would need to be near a TV - the tablet is portable.

Just an update after a full evening of testing using the Roku 3 (refurb) I ordered.

Everything just works!  Not a single hiccup in streaming everything I could throw at it, both live and recorded.

I’m going to up the recording to 1080 and do some additional testing tonight.

Is your ROKU 3 wireless or wired to router?

Wired.  Goes through at least 2 gigabit switches to get to the tablo.

Question:  Is the reason for the 12ish second delay in streaming LIVE content due to recording in 10-second chunks?

I believe the delay is for pause rewind and such but not 100% sure. 

As for the Roku 3. I have two, one wired the other wireless. Both work great. I am different than some, I got the Tablo to work as a DVR. That’s it. I don’t need to watch TV while I am out and about so it does what I need. I pop on my Roku tune into Tablo and watch TV on my TV.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

I have been enjoying Plex on a dedicated desktop for the past few years as a TV/Movie server. Both LG smart TV and Plex desktop are wired to same router, and this solution works perfectly!. Am not familiar with the Roku, so cannot comment on usefulness or pricing comparison. The laptop could easily run Plex, and with external USB drives maintain a robust library of TV/Movies. This is now an even better option considering that Plex has a working Tablo channel.


I have 3 Roku 3’s and I love the Roku’s but I have always had a concern with the bandwidth of the Roku’s. I have 50 up and down service and my connection consistently test between 45 and 49 down but the Roku 3 consistently test between 5 and 19. On the Roku forums people often complain about the same. I is almost like the Roku throttles the connection somehow.

My main apps are Nexflix, PLEX, Amazon Instant, Amazon Music, Sling TV, and Tablo. Hoping the Fire TV Tablo app comes out soon because I just ordered a Fire TV to test side by side with the Roku 3 and Tablo is the last app not available at the present time.

perhaps in the next hardware model, tablo can consider adding a single hdmi port for connecting to a primary video screen. the current method of streaming to video devices would still be retained for additional screens.

this will make it work more like a traditional dvr where functions such as switching channels, fast forward, rewinds, 30 second skips, etc., will respond instantly (only for the primary screen, of course).

or you can think of it as taking the traditional functionality of a dvr and adding tablo’s network viewing functions.