Can Tablo record cable RG6 COAX Input

I have just two OTA channels so I have cable along with the cable company DVR?Set TOP Box. I would still have the expense of cable tv service but it could be reduced by nit having to pay the monthly fees for the DVRs. Can I input into the Tablo the RG6 coax from the cable company instead of a RG6 coax feed from an exterior antennae which in my case would get almost nothing. The cable coax normally feed into the cable company DVR/Set TOP Box whose output is hundreds of channels but it can also be fed directly into the coax antennae input of a tv which will decode a lesser number of digital tv channels. So I am thinking that Tablo should not know the difference between a real antennae and a cable feed.

Is this correct? I have asked Tablo tech support and got an ambiguous answer.

@terrym - We don’t support cable content. Sorry.

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I don’t see or understand how Tablo can detect the difference between an antennae signal and a cable signal. My TV sees the cable feed identical to an antennae. Is this a legal or regulatory issue?

I’ll let Tablo get into the nitty gritty, but basically the answer is not legal or regulatory, it’s technological. The Tablo only works with Antenna. You can try HDHomeRun or Tivo, Sorry.

@terrym - Our tuners are only able to accept/decode Over-the-Air TV signals. Plus, our guide data is only OTA. We don’t actually have cable data via our provider.

OTA HDTV uses ATSC spec for their signal.

Cable HDTV uses QAM spec for their signal.

The two are very different. Your HDTV has two separate tuners it in, one ATSC tuner and one QAM tuner. So it looks like your TV does not discriminate between the two. The tuner in the Tablo is strictly ATSC. This is strictly a hardware limitation, which was by design. It is nothing to do with the Tablo software.

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Not to mention the lack of Cable Card support to decrypt encrypted channels.

QAM can be Clear QAM which is not encrypted. This is at the discretion of the cable company. Encrypted QAM requires a cable card as well.

Ever since the government removed the restriction/requirement that cable companies must carry local channels as Clear QAM… most have been removing it completely …eg. Comcast … hence those new little “converter” boxes they have offered to send out…

FCC Relaxes Basic-Tier Cable Encryption Prohibition
Friday, October 12th, 2012
Federal Communications Commission logo
Commission Relaxes The Cable Encryption Prohibition

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has amended its rules to allow cable operators to encrypt the basic service tier in all-digital cable systems if they comply with certain consumer-protection measures. The rule change will benefit consumers who can have their cable service activated and deactivated from a remote location.

By allowing remote activation and deactivation, the FCC expects that its amended rules will result in benefits to both cable operators and consumers by significantly reducing the number of truck rolls associated with provisioning service and significantly reducing the need for subscribers to wait for service calls to activate or deactivate cable service.

At the same time, the FCC recognizes that this rule change will adversely affect a small number of cable subscribers who currently view the digital basic service tier without using a set-top box or other equipment. If a cable operator decides to encrypt the digital basic tier, then these subscribers will need equipment to continue viewing the channels on this tier. To give those consumers time to resolve the incompatibility between consumer electronics equipment (such as digital television sets) and newly encrypted cable service, the FCC requires operators of cable systems that choose to encrypt the basic service tier to comply with certain consumer protection measures for a period of time.

In addition, the FCC notes that this rule change may impact the ability of a small number of subscribers that use certain third-party equipment that is not CableCARD compatible to access channels on the basic service tier. To address this issue, the FCC requires the six largest incumbent cable operators to comply with additional requirements that are intended to ensure compatibility with certain third-party-provided equipment used to access the basic tier.

The real question here is this: Do the folks at TABLO have any plans in the near future to see about changing the capabilities of their equipment so that it will be capable of receiving the QAM signal put out on our basic cable service. Like many, many, many, many … people I feel a bit duped. I could find no where in any of the literature a note about TABLO’s lack of ability in this area. It is pretty obvious that they are aware of the potential loss of revenue if future buyers are made aware of the limited capability here. I found out only after trying, failing, and researching the heck out of it. Certainly most users interested in this topic have a similar situation. We get maybe 3 or 4 channels (if you’re lucky) that we would want to record from OTA. On basic cable there are numerous channels to choose from. From what I have read here it appears to be a choice made by TABLO that must involve standing agreements between them and the other service providers. Can TABLO at least come clean about that piece of the puzzle so we could bury this almost dead horse. Then we can move on to a service that will provide what was intended.

I don’t know if it’s just me, but seems TabloTV’s website goes out of its way to mention Over the Air/OTA HDTV many many times. Or were you getting your Tablo information from somewhere else?


Also Cable and ClearQAM are called out specifically as unsupported in the Tablo’s tiny FAQ:


If you’ve got cable, get a DVR from the cable company. Or buy a cable DVR. Which Tablo isn’t and has never implied they were.

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