Buffering is a real problem, might be done with Tablo

I recently purchased a Tablo with 4 receivers. and the Seagate 2tb drive STEA2000400. I get about 35 OTA channels, all really strong, no pixelation. I’m about 8 miles from the broadcasters on top of Sandia Peak, absolutely no buildings or other structures between here and there. I have 100mb internet and the Tablo is directly connected to my ASUS RT-AC56U router. Short of hardwiring everything I can’t imagine a more ideal environment for Tablo. My problem is that i get constant buffering with Tablo - live or recorded. By that I mean I get the loading circle about every 10-15 seconds, making anything really unwatchable.

I also use Sling, Playstation Vue, Netflix and Amazon Prime. Absolutely no buffering with any of those services, only Tablo. I have Amazon Fire TV and a Roku 3. Performance about the same but Roku might be a bit better.

I’ve tried turning off fast start, lowered the quality settings and have analyzed my wifi channels to ensure I don’t have any contention. Most devices are getting better than 10mb speeds, still no improvement in buffering.

Any ideas for other troubleshooting options, maybe try the WD hard drive instead of the Seagate? I may try relocating the Tablo to my main TV so I can hardwire everything, but that involves some fancy antenna work. I really don’t want to give up on Tablo, but given how long they have seen this problem, I’m a little concerned that they are not competent enough to solve it. Ideas

Sounds like your setup should work just fine.

Disconnect the USB cable of the HDD from the Tablo. Reboot the Tablo (just tap the blue button on the back). Then try streaming Live TV. If you don’t have any buffering here, the problem is your HDD.

If the issue isn’t the hard drive, then I would go through the exercise of hard-wiring to the Roku 3 box (to see if it is your wireless setup). I have a 100 foot ethernet cable that I use for this purpose. Just temporarily run it down the hallway/steps in order to get wireless out of the equation.

Your wireless router looks to be good enough for running a Tablo, but, wireless is wireless and there are so many things that can cause interference. For my situation I found a way to run CAT-5 (and later CAT-6) ethernet cables to every room in my house. It was some work, but, I never have issues with buffering. So it was worth the effort.

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Thanks for the responses.

This morning, everything is working fine, no buffering whatsoever on either Roku 3 or Fire TV. I did make some configuration changes to my wireless router last night which didn’t appear to resolve the issue, but this morning everything is rock solid.

Makes me think the HDD is not the problem, and I wonder if I’m not picking up some interference in the evenings when my neighbors are home…I’ll see how it works tonight and try the hardwired solution if we get more buffering.

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@Stephen_Nelson - Please keep us posted!

Our support gurus are also happy to lend a hand.

Are there ANY other transfers over wifi? are you in an apartment complex with lots of wifi around? With my new plex server being wifi, I have been doing a few more file transfers over wifi than in the past and I have found that the file transfers take up all bandwidth and the amazon stick in the other room will buffer into ANYTHING it is currently streaming. I’m just now tinkering with my routers QoS priority mode. In the end though wifi’s bandwidth can be most unpredicting.

Have you tried using the 5Ghz band? Everything in my house is wired (TV’s, xbox, PS4, FireTV, etc) except for our iPhones/iPads. My neighborhood is saturated with wifi signals using the 2.4 Ghz band. I also have a 100 Mpbs internet connection but at times my wifi speeds would drop into the single digits. That is, until I switched to using the 5Ghz band. To prevent my phone from connecting to the 2.4Ghz band I just told it to forget that network. Now our wireless devices all use 5G and have not had an issue with speed since.

Screen shots of previous speed tests on my iPhone. “Grumpy” is the 2.4Ghz and “Grumpy5G” is the 5Ghz band. You can see the difference.

How far from your router are the devices you are using to access Tablo? This can effect things as well. When I first set up my Tablo I had my router at one end of my house & never had any issue with wifi on the other end, but Tablo was a problem and I had to relocate my router in the center of my home & that improved things dramatically.

Don’t count out the HDD either until you test that theory & eliminate it completely.

Lastly, what antenna are you using? Having it properly positioned is also very crucial. I was having some issues even though Tablo was showing 5 green dots on all my channels until I tweaked my antenna angle by only a few degrees.

I’d like to add a few words from my own experience here.

I recently (2-3 months ago) found out something about Roku that’ll make me think twice before getting another Roku into my house. The Roku remote controls operate on WiFi Direct, They do it in a particularly evil way. Roku picks the very same band that you transmit your SSID on and then sends a stronger signal on the same band, thus causing as much as 1-2 MBytes worth of wasted throughput. (it’s a long story on how I found this and measured this).

Here’s a picture: The yellow line is the Roku signal near my TV, it drops when I powered the Roku down. The blue, cyan, red and green lines are signals from my WiFi routers on the 2.4 and 5HHz frequencies.

I can’t lay my hands on the companion screenshot that shows the Roku’s transmission in the exact same band as my WiFi SSID, but the ROKU forums are full of complaints about this.

I had more, but forgot them now in the search for my images. :frowning:

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@JeffD - I am in a single family home and the antenna is mounted in my upstairs office with no other buildings between me and the broadcast antennas. Here in Albuquerque most of the broadcasters have their equipment up on Sandia Peak at 12K feet, so little to interfere in the way of buildings. I think I will do some more in depth traffic analysis before I launch into QoS, that will at least tell me how to set my QoS if I do need to.

@Homer3D - I have most everything on the 5Ghz band, except my phone and Kindle which only operate on 24Ghz I get similar results to what you show for the 5GHz band.

@rccolts - My Tablo, antenna (MOHU Leaf) and router are upstairs in my office. I’m pretty sure the antenna is correctly oriented. I have never seen any interference when the MOHU was directly connected to my TV, and in fact the picture quality with Tablo Live is still outstanding, but the buffering, oh the buffering! The master bedroom is directly below and the living room is just off the master, I would estimate the devices are no more than 15-25 feet away from the router.

Are the bandwidth requirements for Tablo so much higher than Netflix or SlingTV? Because even when Tablo is buffering I have no problems with those other services.

@Bardel - Interesting, thanks for sharing that about Roku. I haven’t noticed any real problems but we don’t usually run the Roku and the Fire TV at the same time, and both seem to struggle with the buffering issue.

It looks like the Roku remote consumes bandwidth whether it’s being actively used, as long as the device is powered on, is that your understanding?

Sorry to revisit. I am having buffering issues also. I have Tablo Dual lite, and its hardwired to my ethernet. My Roku is ultra model, and also hardwired. I use the tablo app through Roku. I have rebooted everything. I have put setting for streaming at lowest setting 480p in tablo. Still buffering. I plug antennae directly into TV and have no issues at all. Ideas?

It’s typically broadcast signal, which you say is good, or the hard drive.
What make and model hard drive?

It’s a SanDisk 126gb usbd rive
Plugged into the tablo. But what would that have to do with live streaming?

The Tablo has to buffer to the drive to enable replay etc for live viewing.

Is that a flash drive? They’re specifically disallowed. Too slow for video buffering.

So try removing the flash drive and rebooting.

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I have issues with buffering too, but mainly with live TV. DVR playback seems more reliable. I disconnected my HDD (Seagate) and ran live TV with the onboard storage and it worked better with no buffering. I can actually probably get by just fine with 64 gigs that it comes with. But now I have to watch everything that’s on the hard drive and then start recording on the on-board storage. I don’t think there’s a way that you can have the external hard drive plugged in but have it record using the on-board storage. It’s one or the other as far as I can tell.

It’s video, Jake.

Always, always, ALWAYS start with hardwiring first to see what happens. Always suspect wifi.

Even if you have to go out and buy a 100ft cable and run it up the stairs to see what happens, start with that. The simple fact is, video requires reliable bandwidth–and that means a wire.

Last night I ran some speed tests on my laptop. DSL Reports showed 16 megabit speed. But I have 100 megabit coming into the house…hmmmm. Then I tried fast.com–same results. My son was downstairs video chatting with his girlfriend, so maybe that was it?

Nope–a minute later he comes up and wants to know if I’m fiddling with things, because his video chatting has gone to dogmeat.

For grins I remote into my hardwired computer that’s serving me Plex, and run the speed tests there. Prime time, Sunday night, I get 110 megabit results.

Yup. It must be the wireless. So I pick up my phone and restart the Google Wifi. A minute later it’s up, and all the wireless issues are resolved.

So be it with wireless. If it’s video you want, wires are your friend. I’m not saying wireless can’t work, but you’ll wrestle with it more times than you like.

I completely agree.
While I would never recommend having a set up like my mom’s, her Tablo uses wifi, and is 1 floor above, and 2 rooms over from the wireless router, and all her Rokus connect via wifi, too.
She has zero issues.
However, she is superstitious, and performs pagan rituals for luck, so that might be the difference that counts.

I too am having severe buffering problems with Tablo…
Most advice given here is pointing to anything and everything but Tablo itself.
I believe I can unequivocally now point the finger at Tablo.

First off, my primary device is a 4-tuner Tablo with a 2 TB Seagate drive.
It is hardwired directly to my router.
I have a second 2-tuner Tablo in a different physical location that I can also test with.
I have no buffering issues with Firesticks or Roku-3s clients if the server and client are on the same network

Externally is where my problem lies.
The remote buffering I’m experiencing renders the Tablo unusable remotely!
Buffering occurs sometimes every 20-30 seconds.

I have tried the Tablo client on Gen2 Firesticks, 4K Firesticks, both wireless, and hardwired.
At the server location with the 2-tuner Tablo, I also have a Dish Hopper. Their remote client runs flawlessly.
So I’ve ruled out network issues with 2 different sites and by using hard-wired connections only.
My upload speeds are typically 10 Mbit at both server sites.
I have tried to throttle Tablo down to SD speeds (2 Mbit). No help.
So I’m down to poor remote streaming protocol implementation on the Tablo.

Tablo support gurus - jump in.

I have seen numerous problems with Tablo related to signal strength. Not too little but TOO MUCH! I finally put a splitter in front of my Tablo which cut the signal by about 3dB and virtually all my problems went away. I did have some buffering problems but I’m convinced those were related to the FireTV stick. Since you are so close to the towers, as a simple test, try cutting down the incoming signal. Use a splitter or two in front of the Tablo and see if it makes any difference. It may not help but it looks like you have tried a lot of other things and this is pretty easy to do and in my experience, solved a number of problems.