Buffering/ Spinning Circle

Hi all.

To let you know right up front, no, I am not a “new” user to Tablo. I have had the Tablo Quad for over a year.

Through my time of having the device, yes, there have been times I’ve contacted Tablo Tech Support. Most of the time when I contact them it’s via e-mail; I like my responses from tech support to be in writing :wink: I have contacted support via a phone call, but when a conversation is over…sometimes I forget things. But when it’s e-mail/ writing? I can always refer back to it!! :grinning:

And I’ve dealt with some great support reps at Tablo who are very patient and informative (Clarke, Arash…).

I’ve had tech support perform a remote-connection to my Tablo device when I put my device into remote-access mode. I’ve also run an app on my android cell phone called “RouteThisHelps”. With both of these - remote-access & RouteThisHelps - tech support said that all looks good.

My Subject line is “Buffering”. Yes, this is something I’ve contacted support about in the past.

In my home, I have a high-speed connection to the Internet (around 80 to 85 Mbps). Our TV accesses the Tablo app through our Roku Ultra player. I’d like for the Tablo to be hardwired into our modem via an Ethernet cable, but, for now it’s wireless.

And just to let you know, I’ve also perused some articles on Tablo’s web site for buffering issues. And yes, I remember seeing something in an article (plus it was mentioned to me in an e-mail from tech support) that you can experience buffering through Tablo, yet, if you have things like Netflix, Hulu, etc., you can have no buffering issues. Tablo is using your internal home network; Netflix, Hulu, etc., you are pulling from their servers.

So, with over-the-air reception (through my roof-mounted antenna), I sometimes still get buffering on a certain channel (not all channels, just a certain one/ ones).

I even just came across something on these message forums regarding buffering, and it mentions “I initially assumed that buffering issues must be a network problem (internal network that is), but in the recent thread ‘Tuner Strength & Buffering’ one user claimed to be having buffering issues that were resolved simply by better positioning/pointing his antenna”.

I must admit, I was surprised to see that. Since getting my roof-mounted Channel Master antenna, I have great reception (in the Tablo Settings/ setup section, all channels are 5 green dots). With this roof-mounted antenna, my reception is crystal-clear; no pixilation, no artifacts.

Also in the Tablo Settings, I’ve tried different settings regarding Live TV Quality & Recording Quality - HD 720 - 3Mbps - etc.

Well, I’ve front-loaded my post and given a lot of information up front so as to hopefully avoid some questions.

So even though I’ve gotten some great information from Tablo Tech Support, I just wanted to check with all of you here because…well, you never know!!

Anyone? Any idea why I sometimes receive the buffering spinning circle on-screen?

How about this: For those of you that are tech-savvy regarding computers, modems, routers, have you tried logging into your modem/ router and tweaking the settings? Perhaps choosing a different channel rather than the default?

For those of you whose Tablo is not connected wirelessly but rather is hardwired via an Ethernet cable to your modem/ router, how are things for you? Never any buffering?

And out of curiosity, how about this: If you access your Tablo through the Roku app, when you change channels, how long is it until the next channel loads? How many seconds?

Looking forward to replies & input; thanks,
Pez

There are quite a few things that can cause buffering.

  1. When the channel has issues (noise can cause this, not just low signal), and it loses the “lock” on the channel, the Tablo must recreate the stream (transcoding the channel), which requires a few seconds of buffering). The channel strength can also “overload” the tuner (this happens with preamps/distribution amps that amplify the signal too much).

  2. The jitter (variances in time it takes to send/receive packets to/from the server) is high, or the speed is low, buffering can occur. Even though the speed shows up fast (i.e. 100Mbps), the jitter can also be high and create a problem. On fiber internet, ping times are generally 1-9ms, and jitter is 1ms (via ethernet). Up/down is 1Gpbs. However, on wifi, it can vary between 100Mbps and 500Mbps, and ping raises to 30-50ms, with jitter as high as 30ms (this means ping can be +/- 30ms of the number provided). On wifi, noise can also effect the jitter times.

  3. A hard drive that is going bad.

On my wired devices (4 of the 7 streaming devices), rarely do I ever experience buffering (the Tablo DVRs are both ethernet as well). On the wifi devices, once in a while I see buffering (maybe once an hour or so). I have the Orbi AX6000 Wifi Mesh System, with 3 nodes, all with ethernet backhaul in a medium sized home. Great wifi coverage throughout the house.

Noise, on either wifi or OTA antenna reception can happen from almost anything, from a truck passing near your home, an airplane overhead, a flaky LED lightbulb, electronics (my waterpik causes TV reception issues) and even your electrical wires in the wall. I had an issue about a year ago with a lightbulb on the street lights causing issues with reception.

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I am a long-time user of Tablo as well. However, I started having this issue only recently with no changes that I know of. Although 2-3 people can stream content from streaming channels like Netflix and Amazon simultaneously with no issues, when 2 people are watching including one Tablo user watching the recording, the Tablo user experiences this issue frequently. Any solution/suggestion to address this issue? Thanks.

Does the buffering occur with Live TV also? If yes, try temporarily detaching the hard drive (power off Tablo before doing this), if Live TV buffering goes away it could point to a hard drive or USB cable issue.

Only test for a short time, don’t let the Tablo run overnight with no hard drive attached, the nightly maintenance may kick in and mess up your data.

Of course you can’t record or playback anything with the hard drive detached, but Live TV will still work.

Your comparison to Netflix and Amazon isn’t really apples to apples.

We’ve had constant issues with our Tablo box also. We were told to reset the box, get a better antenna, etc. etc. etc. and Nothing ever worked.
What Finally fixed everything is that we removed the Tablo recorder and replaced it with another brand OTA recorder/tuner. Now everything works as it should.
Unfortunately, we are left with a $150 doorstop…[;-D)

Rather than being stuck with a door stop, you might try posting it for sale on this forum. That way you might be able to recoup some of your money.

FYI, I know you’ve already switched devices, but I suppose a bad Tablo power supply could possibly have been an issue as well. Tablo sells new ones for $12.

Thanks, mbellaire, for your suggestions. Yes, we tested power supplies, antennas, coaxial cable, even moved the bedroom TV and Tablo into the living room and connected it along side of the working living room TV and it was the Tablo that had the CONSTANT barrage of problems.

As far as selling it, my morals wouldn’t allow me to pass on an inferior product to another person. I’ve already Proven that it is the Tablo box or Tablo software that is causing the problems, and I just couldn’t pass that off to someone else just for money.
After all, Tablo wouldn’t offer a refund for their defective product. They said that it went pass their “30 day guarantee”!<<<LOL…a 30 day guarantee!!
Tablo has said that they have new software coming out that may fix one of the MANY problems that people are reporting and one day I ‘may’ connect it back and give it a try.

In the mean time, we found another company that sells a tuner/recorder and replaced the Tablo. The new tuner/recorder works flawlessly.

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How far past the 30? Would think they would exchange for another one if cash refund is out of question. If only so they can go thru it to find problem. I’ve had my dual lite for 2 weeks, very impressed with the tuners. Lock quickly and stable.

I’ve been using a Tablo Quad for a year now. I generally use the Tablo via a Roku Ultra and a Roku Premier. Initially I was seeing buffering when watching with the Rokus. I tried a bunch of things, eventually switching both the Tablo and the Roku Ultra to wired connections, rather than my WiFi. That solved the problem for me. I subsequently upgraded my home WiFi to a mesh and the Roku Premier is working just fine with the Tablo as well, even though the Premier is still WiFi.

My (perhaps unjustified) conclusions:

  1. First and foremost, the Tablo App for the Roku seems very dependent on having plenty of bandwidth to the Tablo. My Premier was using the 2.4GHz band on my original network, with a theoretical 72Mbits/S. While that sounds like plenty, realistic WiFi throughput is usually about 1/2 the apparent signaling rate. If I was seeing an actual rate of, say 24Mbit/S at the Roku Premier, then I doubt I was getting anything more than 12Mbit/S, at best.
  2. Connecting to the Tablo with a wired connection, appears to be secondary. Between a wired connection to the Roku Ultra and putting the Roku Premier right next to one of my mesh points, I haven’t seen any buffering during the admittedly limited testing I did after re-trying a wireless connection to the Tablo. Also, I wasn’t seeing buffering at my wired desktop computer clients when the Tablo was still on WiFi. Still, if you have multiple users all simultaneously streaming 10Mbit/S streams from the Tablo, it is not a bad idea to have all the bandwidth you can get.

Hi all; I’m the original poster of this thread.

I gotta admit, I was surprised when I received some e-mail notifications that there were people responding to this old post of mine. I couldn’t remember, so I had to go check: I originally posted the first message of this thread back in December of 2020 :laughing:

From looking at the continuation of this thread, goseecal, was it you that perhaps did a Search on this forum and came across my post?

And then, boy, a bunch of others replied after that.

Well, just to let all of you know:

In December of 2021, I posted another message: https://community.tablotv.com/t/vpn-buffering/28588

To sum up that post, roughly around January of 2021, I relocated my Tablo unit (the Quad) to my home office; I have a coaxial cable that runs from my roof-mounted antenna into the home office. This is also where I have my DSL modem. So, this way, after reconnecting my Tablo unit to the home office and connecting the coaxial cable in there, I was also able to hardwire the Tablo unit with a Network cable directly to my DSL modem (download speeds are between 80 and 85 Mbps).

So, after launching the Tablo app on my Roku Ultra player in my livingroom and accessing the Tablo unit, I adjusted the Live TV Quality and Recording Quality, and I was able to put it at its highest setting of “HD 1080 - 10 Mbps, 720@ 60fps”; no buffering :grin:

And then almost a year later - in December of 2021 - I started seeing the little spinning buffering circle again.

There were no changes made on my end to cause this: no more devices added in the household that would draw on the bandwidth. And, it’s not as though, say, someone would watch Netflix AND watch Tablo on another device at the same time; no, it was either one or the other.

So, I had contacted Tablo Tech Support, and then, posted that message that you see in the link I posted above. In that post, I thought perhaps that the VPN that I sometimes use on my desktop PC was interfering somehow. But no, I don’t think that was it…

Since then, I tweak around with the Settings in the Tablo: Sometimes what seems to work is that I have the Live TV setting set high - HD 1080 - and then the Record quality a little lower at 720.

I don’t know…even though firmware updates get released from time to time to the Tablo unit, I still think the problem is with the Tablo app itself (I’m referring to the Roku app; when I use the Windows version of the application on my desktop PC, I don’t see any buffering).

DiverDan: You mind saying which company/ device brand of OTA tuner/ recorder you switched to?

Pez

That’s kind’a what it’s about… hey, I haven’t used it for a long time - yea I come to support forums because I’m bored… don’t want anything, it’s great what everyone suggest - but I can’t get it to work right it’s defective so never mind, just killing time.

just multiple posting waiting to tell you something.

I am planning to use the following product along with Roku Ultra with ethernet connection to eliminate the buffering issue. Has anyone used this setup? If so, what has been your experience?

Amazon.com: TP-Link AV2000 Powerline Adapter - 2 Gigabit Ports, Ethernet Over Power, Plug&Play, Power Saving, 2x2 MIMO, Noise Filtering, Extra Power Socket for other Devices, Ideal for Gaming (TL-PA9020P KIT) : Everything Else

Update as of 4/8/2022. This is working great so far without any buffering issues. Thank you all!

I have not but tablo “recomends” them

And there several topics around powering adapters

I used an earlier version of these adapters in our previous house. It was a 4 bedroom 2 story house, and wi-fi at the time was not as good as it is now.
I was able to reliably run a mail server and web site from a closet in an upstairs bedroom, plus keep 2 desktop computers connected.