Comments and pet peeves

First off, let me say that I’m overall happy with my Tablo purchase. It’s giving me the ability to view, pause, record live TV at minimal expense. The user interface, while not optimal, is adequate and I’m hoping will improve over time.

My TV system, current and past. I have a 1080P 60" TV with a Roku 3 hard-wired to the router where I also have the Tablo hard-wired. I also have a second (old) 720P TV with an Amazon Fire TV stick wireless. I have a very strong and fast router (NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900).

I’ve had Comcast/XFinity, DirecTV and a Tivo Roamio OTA. I still have Comcast for internet only (about 50Mb). I currently still use the Tivo but I’ve completed my one year contract, I’m not renewing and the service expires this month. I was not unhappy with XFinity or DirecTV except for the expense. I am very happy with the Tivo, except for the $15/mo guide charge. This is excessive and if they offered this for cheaper ($5/mo) I would likely have continued with the Tivo. For a single TV, this is a great option, except for the ongoing charge. But adding additional TVs to this is very expensive. My Tablo 4-tuner plus lifetime guide (which I haven’t purchased yet) will be cheaper for all my devices in just two years than the Tivo OTA would be for one TV.

Second, my work background. I’m now retired but have been a software developer for over 30 years. Designing GUIs has been a large part of my work. I know what works and what doesn’t.

Now, on to the critique.

Live TV delays:
I’ve perused the forum and see lots of comments that people (including myself) are not happy with the 15 second plus delay when changing channels on live TV. Many responseshave stated that the Tablo is not meant to go head-to-head against the Tivo and other devices. I think this is completely wrong. The Tablo, Tivo OTA, and several other OTA DVR devices (, DVR+, etc) compete exactly head to head. Any web search for OTA DVR brings up all these devices. These are the exact devices I was considering before deciding on the Tablo. A 15 second delay is a deal breaker for many users and not necessary. That it’s not necessary is seen by the lack of this delay on other OTA DVRs.

It was a design decision to convert incoming video immediately allowing for playback on multiple devices and this (according to the forum) causes the 15 second delay. This was a bad decision and should be changed. Moreover, recording OTA TV in native format and then converting when requested by a device would allow for playback at different resolutions as needed. The requesting device could say what resolution it wanted and the native recording would be converted on demand. If hard-wired, maybe no conversion would be necessary. The Tablo unit should know what resolution the target machine wants and whether it is wired or wireless. Then it could decide the optimal way to send the video.

GUI issues (These pertain to the Roku 3 and an Amazon Fire TV stick. I can’t comment on other streaming devices). The user interfaces are good but not great. These are a few things that can and should be changed:

  1. Going to a recording, the only select/Ok button option is Delete. It’s not clear at all (at first) that a down arrow will take you to the recordings (I had to tell my wife what to do). Delete should NEVER be the first or only option (With perhaps one exception. After viewing a recording, delete could be the first option as it makes sense that you likely want to delete after viewing).

  2. It should be possible to view the guide (or a minimal guide) while watching live or recorded TV. Tivo offers this in a couple different ways. A mini guide can be brought up at the bottom of the TV or a mini (PIP) view of the current show can be viewed in the corner while perusing the guide.

  3. The guide itself. It should be possible to change the scale so that more or less of the guide can be seen at one time. On my computer I can see 4-1/2 hours of programming but on my 60" TV only 1-1/2 hours. The TV and my computer are the same resolution.

  4. While watching live TV, if I press the right arrow or fast forward and there’s nothing there (I’m current), it goes to pause mode. It should just keep playing (maybe beep and show a gauge at the bottom to show that it heard me but had nothing to do).

Active Channels:
I have about 9 channels I watch regularly, but there are others that I want to watch on occasion. It should be possible to change the guide on the fly to show active or all channels (and maybe there could be another category as well that would be more than active but less than all). I understand this would require longer to pull the guide data but that should not be a deal breaker.

Some of my recorded shows are cut off at the beginning or end. There should be a global option to add x minutes to the beginning and/or ending of recorded shows.

Loading Please Wait (LPW):
As stated above, I have the Tablo and a Roku 3 both hard-wired to my router and still I get the occasional LPW (which upon completing replays the last few seconds, sometimes multiple times in a row). That should not be there at all with my setup. On my second (wireless) TV, the LPW is recurring and irritating, making it painful to watch. Changing the record mode to the recommended 720 helps a bit, but does not correct this. Moreover, I want 1080 on my main TV which is used 90% of the time. Why should I record at 720 when it’s necessary at this resolution for only 10% of my viewing? I can watch Amazon Prime or Showtime on the Fire TV without any (or minimal) LPW glitches. Watching videos originating on my own network should not be worse that watching off the internet.

There are other GUI issues but this has been long enough. As I said above, by and large I’m happy with my purchase and I’m hoping that over time the software will improve to the point I’m completely happy with it.

All the best to Tablo/Nuvyyo and it’s designers and programmers.

  1. Absolutely agree with this. I know I have clicked it a few times. Luckily it takes a couple clicks more to actually delete, so no accidents. But still, you are right, it is not intuitive that you need to click down to actually get to the recordings. Nor should the first use of the selection button be “delete.” You should have to navigate to such a button.

  2. I believe this is something on the road map.

  3. Interesting. Haven’t really noticed this.

  4. Interesting. No feelings either way.

Active channels: agree on this. I shouldn’t have to wait for the guide to do a full update just so I can change which channels are active

Recording: we need more control over recordings all around. Control over extra time, control over which channel to use if two channels are airing the same show, control over what time slot to prefer to record at.

LPW: no roku, can’t comment.

Overall: Tablo works, but it definitely has tons of room for growth. Luckily the devs seem open to feedback. Hopefully 2016 is a feature packed year.

Agree 100% on all your experiences and recommendations. As for LPWs (on Roku3 in my case), though they are much less frequent, they do still occur.

Very well stated!

Especially agree with item 1. Having to press a down arrow to see your recordings is not at all intuitive. Also, it took me forever to figure out that the fast forward could be used to skip through seasons if you have a large number of recordings.

I personally rarely use the Tablo to watch live TV. I think that I would use it for Live TV if the channel switching were faster.

My wife was complaining about the menu for selecting recorded shows last night. “Why do I have to push a damn down button to see them? Why don’t they just show a list after I select the show like DirecTV did?”

The GUI and slow channel switching are killing her acceptance of the Tablo.

High maintenance eh?

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Great points. I especially agree with the need to press down to see recordings. If they showed at least a preview of your recordings below, similar to the new Apple TV app, it would be much more intuitive.

She’s not a big technology person. Just wants something simple that works.

I would guess the majority of people fall into that category. I really think the simple functionality of most cable/satellite DVR’s is a lot of what keeps people from cutting the cord.

I think this post has been very well thought out, and even though it is very long, I hope Tablo is paying attention and making note of some of his suggestions. I am also a longtime software developer, and one of the best things I ever learned is to copy and borrow from the best solutions on the market. Even though both Apple and Microsoft were very innovative, they didn’t get where they are today without looking at what others are doing that seems to work best, and in many cases making it better. I have mentioned this before that I think Dish Network has probably the best DVR user interface on the market, and I hope Tablo folks have looked at what they have done, learn from it, and make it even better. The Dish user interface is very easy to use, it doesn’t require a manual, and it is very fast and responsive. I am not saying you have to copy it verbatim, but learn what works best, and apply it in Tablo as well. For us, watching Tablo Live TV is so incredibly slow, it is unbearable, and the experience is so frustrating, I just won’t watch Live TV. For people that like to watch Live TV, this could be a deal breaker, because it is to clumsy and slow to use. For us, we just decided to record everything we are going to watch, and so the Roku/Tablo experience is much better. I am very happy to report that since the last update from Roku, it has been several weeks since I have seen a LPW or Reboot. I just about gave up on Roku until this fix came out, and since then my Roku/Tablo experience has been much better. I still believe in Tablo, and think there is some promise, but some things really need to be changed and improved upon before it can make a dent in its market space. Improving the user experience and performance really need to be top priorities.

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Tablo has indicated the next Roku update will include an improvement in how you access recordings. Specifically, adding an “Episodes” button as the default next to the “Delete” button.


Yeah. Thats more appropriate by far. Hope to see it on Android TV.

@TabloTV right?

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This was requested a while back and I still would like to see it. In my case, both the Roku app and web app have the program art taking up half the page with the guide info the other half. Seems to me that the page art could be reduced to make the pertinent info - the guide - show more info at once.

When they first announced it I asked if it was coming to Android TV and @TabloTV remained silent :confused:

Hopefully plans have changed.

Another thumbs up for faster live TV. I have several places in my house that are good places for a TV but there is no coax there and no easy way to run it without making an ugly mess around baseboards, etc… Fishing walls is not doable in these cases.

I had hoped to totally get rid of coax to TVs and run everything off of a Table and Roku.

Not going to happen at current live TV speed.

Just a short update to my original post. I replaced my HDD and the LPWs have stopped on my wired Roku (but not on my wireless Amazon Fire TV stick which currently sees the Tablo device but won’t connect even after several minutes).

Adding the Sessions button (as noted above) is a positive change but, as stated elsewhere, this screen should be skipped if there’s only one episode available. Also, deleting that one episode should return directly to the recordings main screen.