Chromecast Ultra

Chromecast Ultra seems to have solved my worst Tablo problem. 1080 recordings from 1080i broadcasts no longer stall or freeze during playback.

Since Dec 2015 I had been recording at “HD 720p - 5 Mbps (recommended)” to work around these problems. This week I switch to the Chromecast Ultra, and set Tablo recording to “HD 1080 - 10 Mbps, 720@60fps”. None of the streaming issues reappeared; and even some minor stability problems I was having at the 5mbps setting disappeared. Stream startup is fast, stream navigation is trouble-free, and there aren’t any stalls at all. So far it looks rock solid.

Since I have only tested this with a few recordings, I need more time with it to be sure that it really is trouble-free. However, since Google claims it should be able to support 1080p @ 60fps, I suspect the Tablo 1080p @ 30fps bitrate is no longer an issue.

And since I can now record 720p @ 60fps, 720 playback should be about the same as antenna equality now, so that’s great.

Quality of recordings from interlaced broadcasts still doesn’t seem as good as viewing direct from the antenna. 1080i and 480i recordings don’t appear to be quite as clear and brilliant, and objects can be ragged at edges. I’m a bit uncertain about the quality issues. I don’t have any side by side comparison environment. The best I can do is watch a program direct from the antenna, then watch a recording of the same program. I need a lot more time to evaluate this.

In any case, I believe the quality problems with 1080i and 480i recordings are inherent in the current Tablo hardware, and will persist no matter what type of streaming device or player is attached to the Tablo.

TabloSupport NEW Firmware Release - 2.1.18
About deinterlacing
“ … De-interlacing is very computationally intensive. Tablo needs to de-interlace multiple streams of video (and transcode it to H.264) in real time, and at an affordable price. While we use the best chips that are available to us, with current technology it remains possible to see some artifacts under certain circumstances. … We continue to work with our chip vendor to improve de-interlacing performance but we may have to wait for the next generation of silicon to make substantial improvements.”

Be that as it may, Tablo with Chromecast Ultra appears to be very stable, and the user experience is now quite good overall. There are still some quality and functional issues, but no showstoppers. And with all the major issues out of the way and no longer detracting from the overall experience, the slick Tablo user interface on an Android phone or tablet has a chance to shine; it’s really very nice.

I’m not saying it’s perfect. For example, when left paused Chromecast eventually times out, at which point the video resumes on my phone; so when I return I have to figure out where the heck it was when it took off running in my absence. And if I back up from an active Tablo player screen (for example to look at Tablo’s Scheduled Recordings), I have to go find the episode list and resume from there to get back to the player screen; since the notification doesn’t take me to the player screen. On the other hand, if I start doing other things like mail, or put my phone to sleep, Tablo in the background no longer loses control of the stream. All in all, Chromecast Ultra along with the 2016 Tablo releases offer huge improvements over 2015 Tablo.

cc- @theuser86 @beastman @TabloTV @TabloSupport

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There was a football game today broadcast live from CBS 2 Los Angeles, 1080i 1pm Bills v Raiders at Oakland. For video quality, this is about as good as it gets, NFL live on CBS; best cameras, best comm link, best transmission.

I watched bits and pieces of it on two different TVs with two different antennas, then watched some more of it live from cable at another location, then returned to the first location and watched some of my Tablo 1080 recording of the game. Really sloppy analysis I’m afraid, no side by side comparisons. Here’s my rating of video quality:

Antenna: Excellent
Recording: Good
Cable: Poor

1080i done right is simply dazzling, as it was for this game live from antenna. It does require quality deinterlacing, as found in televisions, but given that it’s as good as Blu-ray.

I also have a Chromecast Ultra, and generally it plays Tablo really smooth whether on wireless AC or ethernet.

BUT there’s one bug I haven’t been able to resolve, and it was so annoying today that my wife threatened to throw one of our cats at the TV.

If I’m watching a show for a half hour on another device, like my phone, then decide to cast to my Chromecast - the Chromecast will start at the very beginning of what I watched. The first minute of the 30. If I try to skip forward, it will instead go back to the beginning. My wife got annoyed at the same commercial playing over and over again.

Any way to resolve this? With my other players, launching a channel will default to the “live” time period, so I don’t know why my Chromecast goes to the very beginning.

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I think it is a known problem, probably long standing, and Tablo is working on it; but the fix will be in a release with many Chromecast improvements, so it will be awhile.

I believe this or similar problems with Tablo Live have been reported many times. Here is a topic in the Support category that includes recent discussion of the upcoming fix. The chatter also includes the usual about switching to Roku, but I have dozens of other uses for Chromecast, and given Chromecast Ultra have no need to switch. I also like the Chromecast strategy, including using my phone or tablet as the focal point for all TV, music, film, … content.

Live TV starts at beginning of show every time when using Chromecast

This kind of thing is very frustrating. It’s good that we now have Tablo Ultra to deal with some of the other problems.

I don’t use Tablo Live. I only use Tablo for recordings. When I first got the Tablo in 2015, I found a lot of problems with Live. But I haven’t tried it in over a year, so am far from current.

For other reasons, I decided to have one antenna for Tablo and one for each TV. For live viewing, input straight from antenna to TV provides better quality for 1080i and 480i; and people can use the TV remotes rather than learn Tablo. This might seem like a workaround, but even if Tablo Live functioned perfectly, I think I would stay with my current scheme, using antenna for live viewing.

During my initial testing, I tried to find workarounds for Tablo Live problems, but that experience is far outdated. I have been meaning to try Tablo Live with Chromecast Ultra, just out of curiosity, and If I do will report under some appropriate Support topic.

In any case, one of the reasons I got my first HD TV was for 1080i soccer, so I’m sticking with antenna for live viewing.

One other concern about defaulting to the “live” time period. This might not be what the Tablo redesign team has on mind, although I think that best suits most users. Just a warning that you might not get exactly what you want in the upcoming release.

Thanks for the heads up, I’ll read the other thread.

I also own a retired Roku Stick, a Nexus Player and a new 2016 Amazon Fire Stick. The Nexus player had the best Tablo performance, and the Roku stick by far the worst. The Fire Stick is what I use most these days. All these default to live viewing when you select a channel.

The phone is most responsive for selecting streams, and I’d really like to get the Chromecast to work. Even if I could skip forward during a live stream I’d be happy.

Specifically, I have a nerdy setup I’m working on. Bought a clearance Zidoo X9 for PIP so I can watch 2 football games at once with the Chromecast plugged in to the X9. The Zidoo has its quirks but works well for Tablo also.

We hope to look into this in the future - no timelines at the moment. This is part of the HLS live-seeking limitation we currently see on the platform.