Chromecast alternatives


I switched to Tablo a few months ago. So far, it’s been a so so experience. I’ve seen to run into quite a few bumps in the road, which can mostly be attributed to my own level of sophistication as it comes to technology.

I think (hope) that I’m down to one problem. It seems like my recorded programs run fairly well on my laptop. However, when I try to stream to the TV via Chrome Cast, I get loads of buffering.

As I’ve read through, it seems like lots of people have difficulty with Chrome Cast because it doesn’t have sufficient bandwidth. I’ve lowered settings as much as possible but still lots of problems. It’s disappointing that this is listed as a viable option on Tablo’s site given the feedback.

As a result, I’m looking for recommendations on what I should get instead. I’m basically looking for something simple and easy to use (I loved how intuitive the ChromeCast was) and preferably not too expensive. My main need is to make this as easy as possible for my family.

Our basic set up is as follows: we have 2 TV’s in our house. They are in adjacent rooms and share a wall with each other. We have a modem/router with 50 MB download speed and it is located in the TV stand of our main TV. I’m happy to answer any additional questions about our set up if that’s helpful in making recommendations.

Thank you much!

First question - are your TVs “smart”? Do they run their own streaming apps like Netflix? If so, there might be a Tablo app that will run directly on the TV. Android TVs work now, and I think there’s apps in the works for LG and Samsung.

After that, you’ll need some other streamer box for each TV. Could be Roku (which some people are having problems with), FireTV, Android (Nexus Player was cheap, currently not available). AppleTV (Gen4) coming in the next few months, they say. Do you have any of those?

If you go with a box running Android TV you get all the same functions of Chromecast plus apps on the device (including the Tablo app). Unfortunately the cheapest of these, the Nexus Player, is discontinued and will likely be hard to find. You can go with a Shield TV. Google is also rumored to be releasing an updated Nexus Play, but no telling if that is true, or when it might come out.

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Hi @ajv174.

As @FlyingDiver said, there are a variety of options that people report good results (Rokus, Nexus Player, FireTV, …)

I use chromecast though for the reasons you cited. It is intuitive and works very well with every other streaming apps like Netflix, Youtube, … I get reasonable streaming results from chromecast with my tablo set to record Standard definition. If you are trying higher defs at some point it will be a bandwidth problem with wifi. Much of the recording I do is from channels that are 480i anyway so it is a wash. I have my Tablo ethernet connected to the router. I have a Netgear R7000 router, good router performance helps. I use a Nexus 7 and ASUS zenpad - device performance matters. I have used the chromecasts (v1 and v2) wirelessly without issue. I prefer wired however and have recently purchased the Chromecast Ethernet power supplies (works great).

I have no buffering issues. My only issue is that the android app will crash if I do a lot of repositioning with scrubber bar or FF button to get past commercials. If I stream through chromecast and tolerate the commercials, it works fine. But some days, everything works perfectly including repositioning. Those days it is a dream to operate. A mobile device with the app working reliably is a superb UI.

I too would recommend Android TV, due to the fact that it has been extremely fast and stable from the beginning and it is more feature-rich than Roku or the forthcoming Apple TV app. FireTV is also a very good choice based on feedback I have seen on the forum, as I believe it runs off similar code to the Android TV version (they are both Android, after all). However, I don’t have much experience with the FireTV personally.

If you want to try Android TV, you have a few options currently, with more coming soon:

As @nicholb said, the Nexus Player is a good, cheap choice which has been discontinued but you can find them on eBay relatively easily for around $75. I purchased 6 of these for family and friends to use with Tablo and they all love it. Here’s one for purchase on eBay:

NVIDIA Shield TV is the fastest media box around, which also features gaming and 4K support. Currently it is $200 with an included gamepad and remote, but it goes on sale ocassionally (I purchased 2 of them for $150 with an extra remote last year around Black Friday)

Android TV is also built into Smart TVs from Sony, Sharp, TCL (not sure if released yet), and Philips. The Tablo app will work well on any of these.

Soon, the Xiaomi MiBox will be released, featuring 4K support at a low cost. I’m guessing it will be $99 or less. They said it would be released by the holiday season, but considering they had a working version at Google I/O last month, I would be surprised if it came out later than September.

Recently, a refreshed Nexus Player model passed through the FCC, so we may see it re-released as well.

Finally, Sharp is going to release a new player this year called the Net Player. Other than the OS, we don’t know anything about it yet.

I started out with Chromecast, then moved to Roku, and finally settled on Android TV, which I am very happy with. I’m happy to answer any questions you have.

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And of course, there is also the Apple TV Gen 4.

I switched from CC to Nexus Player. The transition was amazing. No more buffering (loading) issues, quick and responsive FF, etc. Remote has voice search for apps. Built in casting.
Unfortunately discontinued but still available on some sites including Ebay.

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Thank you all so much for the feedback! Here are a few responses below:

Are my TVs smart? One certainly is not. It was purchased in 2005. I believe the newer TV is a smart TV, but it’s Samsung so seems N/A based on above. It does have certain streaming apps like Netflix but, truth be told, we’ve never tried to use them. We simply don’t watch enough TV and even fewer movies that I never bothered to look into these.

I don’t currently have any of the Nexus Player, Shield TV, etc. Only the Chrome Cast that my wife bought that started me down this long road of cutting cable. Chrome Cast has worked just fine with the streaming that we’ve done from Amazon Prime and You Tube. Not so much for Tablo.

HD is important for me. We lowered the settings to the lower 720 setting (3 mbps). Still issues. Very few shows, if any, that we watch are not HD and I want to take advantage of that. We also have a Netgear C3000 and it’s pretty new (actually upgraded after we bought the Tablo).

It seems like the Nexus Player, while discontinued, has very good feedback above for a reasonable price on eBay. Do I understand correct that Nexus Player is a type of Android TV product as mentioned above? It sounds like getting a pair of these might be my best solution.

Yes, the Nexus Player is an official Android TV product . It is a very solid device for the price. I have been able to stream in full quality (10mbps) with a Nexus Player without issue on 2 different Wi-Fi networks (mine and my mothers).

I have seen Xiaomi MiBox mentioned in these forums a few times. Does anyone have any hands on experience with something like “Original Xiaomi III Mi Box 4K Android 5.0 Media Player”?

@getcashmoney, I share your pain. I too have Chromecast units on my Samsung TVs and was sold on the Tablo website where they state that it’s a valid item to use however reality is something else. While the units do work for some the vast majority they do not. There are to many reports of issues such as you are seeing and my $.02 is that it’s not a priority for support judging by my open tickets that have been open for 2 months with no resolution. Right now I believe their focus is on the Apple TV app which I get as it will open them up to a large audience. They have stated that they will revisit Chromecast support but I have not seen a timeline as to when.

Anyway, you are better off finding an alternative to the Chromecast units to enjoy your Tablo content with. For me I ditched using the Chromecast to Tablo direct connection in favor of the SurLaTablo script to extract content to my Plex media server. From there I can then cast content from my Plex media server without issues and the Tablo runs as a OTA DVR (which is what it’s good at in my opinion).

Depending on how tech savy you are there are a wide range of options available for you. The simplest is to get a Roku unit to use on the TVs to view content from your Tablo.

Not the “old” one, the new one that is soon to be released. (The old one is way too Chinese for the majority of English readers…)

Processor: Quad-core Cortex-A53 2.0GHz
GPU: Mali 450 750MHz
Flash: 8GB eMMC
System: Android TV 6.0
Security: Widevine L1 + PlayReady 3.0


Yeah, that MiBox isn’t running Android TV, it’s running their custom skin of Android “MIUI”. They released that one first, and they are going to release an official Android TV version soon. Tablo doesn’t support any Android box which isn’t running Android TV, the app wouldn’t even run. See my earlier post for the only legitimate, Tablo-supported Android TV boxes.

Ok, so I’ve gone ahead and purchased the Nexus Player. It looks like a pretty neat interface.

As far as basic functionality, do I use this the same I used ChromeCast? That seemed to work. But I also hear something called Kodi and am not sure how to use that. I’m searching the internet but can’t seem to find any easy “this is how you use Tablo with Nexus Player” instructions. Is there something you fine folks can point me to?

It took me some time but I realized that I needed to download the Tablo app from the Google Play store. It seems like all is working fine now. :slight_smile:

Thanks again all for the advice. If there’s any tips or tricks that are worth sharing, let me know!

My transition from Chromecast to NP was the second happiest day of my life (well almost). Luvin the remote access and built-in casting. Kick back and enjoy.

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