Brand New Owner - First Impressions

I just purchased the 2 tuner Tablo, and connected it up to my home network (fully wired gigabit Ethernet). Set-up was straightforward, and after swapping USB hard drives, playback seems to work well, but the Tablo in general seems sluggish. The UI on the NVidia Shield TV isn’t very responsive (considering the Shield TV is a pretty beefy box), and the time to start a live stream hovers between 10 and 15 seconds. Using a web browser (Chrome) on a computer averages around 10 seconds. The Roku 3 is better, at 3 to 4 seconds (but even that isn’t anything to be particularly proud of considering everything is coming from a very fast local network, not the Internet). Is there anyone else using the Shield (or a Nexus player) having similar long wait times for a stream to start?

Also, I have no idea how to get the Android apps (Moto X 2014 or LG G.Pad 8.3 GPE tablet) to play live TV. The apps load fine, I can get to the guide grid, but when I select a show, there is only a record button, not a play button. I can record it, then go to recorded shows to start watching it, but that seems preposterous and can’t possibly be how it is supposed to work. Has anyone else seen this?

I use a Nexus Player and Shield TV. What you are describing is extremely odd. Performance on Android TV has been significantly better than Roku in my experience (I recently came from 2 Roku 3 models). My Shield usually loads streams in 1-4 seconds with no loading at all after fast forwarding.

I have no problem with Nexus player and Fire TV (2nd gen), and they both have better performance than my Roku 3 (2015). The only issues that I found on the NP and FTV are the disappearance of the recordings when exiting from playback (which takes 15-20 secs for the shows to display again), and the broken resume on recording playback (it always starts from beginning even if I choose resume at xx:xx). On those two devices, I haven’t see a “Loading… please wait” message which I have seen a lot on the Roku Tablo Preview channel.

1 Like

To start the live stream from the Android or FireTV app, you can navigate to the channel number on the left (not the show) and press select. On the FireTV you can also press the play button from the highlighted show name.

Is your 1 - 4 second loading time for live TV streams, or for recorded shows? I’ve done a bit more digging, and it appears a 10+ second live TV channel change is “normal” on almost any devices. Now that ddd671 pointed out how to watch live streams on my Android devices, those aren’t very quick to load live streams either (10+ seconds). Granted, those are over 5Ghz wireless, but I have my house well covered in access points, and since the wired devices all take that long as well, it seems more like a Tablo is lacking the proper horsepower or good streaming algorithms. Why not start streaming, at least to wired devices, right away, as you slowly build a buffer? Wired networks are pretty rock solid, so the liklihood that there will be a network issue, necessitating dipping into the “buffer” to keep the stream going, is pretty low. Wireless, especially in a multi-family type setting with lots of interference, is a different story entirely.

Thanks! That worked. I’m a little shocked at the inconsistent UI. On the Roku/Shield TV/web browser, I can click on the show in the grid to watch it, but it works.

That is when starting recordings. Live TV starts in 10-15 seconds on average for me on Shield TV. I use Tablo for live TV about once every other week, so I hardly experience loading.

This has been a widely discussed item on this forum, and the short answer is that Tablo encodes everything you watch from MPEG2 to H.246 on the fly - and the delay you experience in “tuning” a channel is the time it takes to build a sufficient buffer of encoded video.
In case you haven’t found it yet, there is a setting in the Settings menu for “Fast Startup” of live TV - which reduces the time by a couple of seconds.

Also, one thing you may not have seen yet, is that once you tune a channel, it continues to buffer for some period of time, so if you channel surf back to that already buffering channel, it will tune quite quickly.

1 Like

That is what I have seen so far. That live delay may end up being a deal breaker for me. I bought the Tablo mostly to watch live TV (sports and news) on broadcast networks (and DVR select CBS shows). Otherwise, I mostly rely on Hulu for non-CBS broadcast network shows.

As it is, the delay is enough of an annoyance to cause me to order an HDHomeRun Extend (with transcoding). Granted, it is a more fragmented solution than the Tablo, but if it works better, I’m happy to spin up a VM on my home server to run Kodi. One of them is going to be returned, the question is, which one?

I ran two HDHomeRun’s dual-tuners with SageTV for a long time - and they worked very well. Do the Extends still allow for MPEG2 feeds in addition to transcoded?

Have you considered a Tivo OTA ($300 with lifetime sub)? I haven’t tried it but I don’t think they have any delay on live channels. As a matter of fact, I ordered the Tablo while I was waiting on the shipment of my Tivo (it was on back order earlier this month at Amazon), but I ended up liking the Tablo and just shipped the Tivo back without even opening the box :smile:

1 Like

I have a Tivo Roamio Basic (same as the OTA) and can confirm there is no delay in channel changes…works as you’d expect a TV tuner to work (which is to be expected as it is straight MPEG2).

I believe the extends still do MPEG2 as well. I’ll know for certain once it is delivered. There are a lot of cool things that the Tablo could do in the UI, like show a thumbnail of the show playing as you “hover” over it in the live TV guide UI, and keep a thumbnail of what you were watching as you pull up the live guide, but all of that seems impossible if they can’t improve the 10 seconds+ tuning time. That is a shame.

I looked at the Roamio, but it doesn’t look like it is a whole home DVR solution, but rather something you attach directly to your TV. I know they sell the Tivo mini, but I’m not going to buy a bunch of those just to watch Tivo shows on other TVs. There was a rumor at CES 2015 that Tivo was going to create a Roku client, but it doesn’t look like that ever happened.

1 Like

I hate the idea of buying proprietary boxes also and that’s one of the reasons I went with Tablo. Unfortunately there will always be delay in channel surfing on the Tablo due to transcoding and there is probably not much that Tablo can do about it.

Please keep us posted on how the HDHomeRun solution work out for you. If I already have their network tuner hardware, do I just buy their DVR software to start?

I know it’s been discussed before, but when I wanna watch real live TV I use my TV tuner. Of course this doesn’t allow pausing or rewinding, but that’s the least of concerns. The picture and sound quality is better too :slight_smile:


That is all true…but somewhat defeats the purpose of a networked tuner solution, and of course requires you have an antenna run to your TV which some Tablo users won’t have - but no doubt that it is fast and has the best OTA PQ you’re likely to get.

Same here.

Oh, I agree with what you’re saying. The only place I do it is on the main TV.

Can the Roamio record in 60fps? Have you compared between the Roamio and Tablo the NFL game recorded from 60fps broadcast like Fox? The game recorded by Tablo looks really good and I’m curious if the Roamio is on par or even better :smile: