Best quality settings and APP differences...?

Howdy!

I have had Tablo for about 35 days now… Am having a few hiccups from the 2.2.6, but overall a great experience, and I am patiently waiting for the new firmware to resolve… but, I am not writing this to complain… I am actually happy and trust things will only get better…

I am curious about a few things though…

Here is my setup:
4 Tuner tablo
5TB Seagate expansion
1 Roku 3 on a 720p TV
1 Roku 4 on a 4K tv
All on Ethernet connected network

Quality Settings:
720p VS 1080 8Mb setting VS 1080 10Mb…

  1. So, if I understand correctly, if I set to “1080 MB”, them my 4k TV would be fine to play anything, but my Roku 3 wouldn’t be able to handle the 720p signal… is this correct?

  2. I tried to setup the 1080 8Mb, but got the “Roku reset on FF” issue, so backed it down to recommended setting until that is corrected. BUT, in the mean time… is the 1080 8Mb really going to give me a better picture quality?

I was thinking about this, because most broadcast is actually 1080i… As Tablo converts that to 1080p, will there be a degradation of signal? Or does it “double up” the info?

I watched one episode of SNL that I had recorded in 1080 8mb… I thought the picture seemed a bit better… but at the end when the credits ran, the “motion” wasn’t very smooth… I haven’t got to compare to another episode with 720p, but it really stuck out as being oddly “not smooth”… and wondered if this could be an artifact of the conversion to 1080p…

I have also seen it mentioned that 1080i (the broadcast signal), is effectly 540p… which actually means there is more data/pixels in a 720p… (which we could say could be 1440i)… than 1080i and that 720p will actually produce higher quality picture…

So, that’s a lot of “wondering”… but generally speaking, my question is “Does 1080 8MB really produce a better quality picture?”… and, on the 1080 setting, if the original broadcast is 720p, does it record 720p at higher bitrate, or does it convert to 1080p?

Once the firmware update clears the “Roku reset” and long load time issues, I want to get the best picture quality available to me… and I know my home network can handle even 10 Mb/s easily… So, what is REALLY the best setting for the best picture quality given my scenario?

Tablo APP functions:

So, this arises because I decided to get a new TV… and the one I got happened to be “Android TV” based… (not why I bought it though)… so, I have a Roku 4 on that TV… and had only really played with Tablo through the ROKU interface on the TVs…

But, I got curious and loaded up the Tablo App on the Android TV just to see what it was like… (after I discovered there even was an app for Android TV)…

The layout is nice a pretty… I ran into some “clunkiness” and “poor work flow” issues… most of the “clunkiness” I think is the Android TV environment, and not the fault of the app… For the “poor work flow”, I just felt that the steps to set recordings to “Most Recent”, for instance required too many steps to make it happen… there could be an easier way…

BUT, that I accepted those things as “they are what they are”… what REALLY sparks my curiosity, is that when I went to play recorded shows… The shows began to play INSTANTLY… and when I fast forwarded and selected play again… it because to play INSTANTLY…

So, my curiosity is this… How can the Android TV platform play shows instantly at beginning and after FF, where other platforms, such as Roku, have a standard 5 second buffer?

Despite this one amazing quality to the Android TV app, I will probably still stick with the Roku, as it handles audio better for Netflix/Prime, and is overall more intuitive and responsive than what I experienced with the Android TV app for simple navigation, and loading the recordings grid etc… but that INSTANT playback was quite unexpected and impressive…

Curious to know what other’s experiences have been and suggestion for maximizing picture quality and speed of playback… :smile:

thanks!
Jeff

@jcraftatl I don’t have an answer to most of your technical questions, but I personally like the Android TV Tablo app the most due to responsiveness and feature set. That “instant play” you mentioned is my favorite aspect of the Android TV app.

You mentioned that it takes too many button presses to sort by “most recent” recordings, but I have found if you exit the app by hitting the home button (instead of hitting the back button repeatedly, when you go into the app next I think it keeps your recordings sorted by most recent.

I’m surprised you think Roku is more responsive than Android TV, perhaps the processor they put in the smart TV’s isn’t the fastest, but in my experience, Android TV in general is much faster and more responsive than Roku.

By the way, I’m jealous you have a 4k TV :smile:

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Thanks for your reply… I may give it more of a chance… at least for Tablo… my spouse isn’t so tech savvy, and so having the Roku be a consistent interface on all TVs make it easier on that end…

But, I could always load up the Tablo on the Android TV section myself… I have to admit that not only was the response instant, but the picture quality was better via Andoid TV app as well… I am assuming the 4K tv is doing a better job of up converstion than the Roku is on that end… And the volume was also a little louder through the Android TV app…

But the loading time for Live TV grid, as well as the Recordings list took a long time… very sluggish on that part of it… which is part of what felt so clunky to me…

I tried the Netflix and Amazon Prime apps on Android TV… (well technically, I think they may be “Sony Smart TV apps” as they were pre loaded)… and the Netflix app said it couldn’t connect to Netflix server, even though the TV confirms being connected to an Ethernet connection to the internet… and the Amazon Prime app — I wasn’t able to get it to send Dobly 5.1 through the Optical out on the TV… whereas Roku sends the Dolby Digital through the HDMI and the TV processes and sends through the optical out (finally) allowing me to enjoy Dobly 5.1 with Netflix and Amazon Prime on an older model AV Receiver…

I got “options”, so I will play with it a little more…

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As an update… I played more with the settings and realized that android tv app having a “better picture” via assumed better upconversion was not true…

The roku input and the android app jut past had different picture settings on the tv itself… So, that is a wash…

The roku is still giving a more consistent ease of flow… Android a little more clunky and longer load times for recordings menu, etc…

Plus, I just learned that Amazon Video app is not available on most android apps. I got a Sony 4K tv, which has Amazon app, but 1) I don’t trust that will last, and 2) it doesn’t support Dolby digital, which the roku does…

So I am sticking with the Roku 4 for a single user experience that covers Tablo, Netlix, Amazon streaming and Plex…

Your Amazon Instant video will stay on there…Amazon and Sony made a deal.

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Thanks for that info.

Surprised no one has offered any insight on the Tablo quality settings though… oh well. :smile:

Peace!

@jcraftatl - The details on all of our quality settings can be found here: https://www.tablotv.com/blog/choosing-right-tablo-recording-quality/

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@TabloTV Hey There. Yes, I had already seen this article.

It explains that 720p will remain 720p even at higher bitrate, just with more data… That 720p with 60fps only records if it is broadcast that way and is set to 10MBs… but how much is really broadcast like that? I didn’t want to set it that high, and then only have my Roku 4 be able to handle it, but not the Roku 3…

Also, what’s not clear to me is what happens with a 1080i signal (which is the majority in my area)… is it converted to 1080p? or left as is, but with higher data rate for crisper picture only?

And if it is converted to 1080p, how might that affect the picture quality? Is it just doubling frames to fill in the “p”?

As I noted, I had recorded SNL with the 8MBs setting, and while the show itself seemed fine, I noticed when the credits ran that it was not smooth at all… I was shocked how rough and hard it was to read… but perhaps that is just how they do it, and not an artifact of the 1080p conversion…

So, I was really just hoping other Users with experience and their own observations would chime in and help me sort it all out… :smile:

Thanks!