(COMPLETED) Switching Channels without having to go back to the Channel guide

Well, you will note the first word in my post was Compromise. Note that some of us cord cutters started watching live TV via an antenna on the roof, followed by various forms of cable vision over the years. So after a while you get conditioned to flipping the channel up down buttons (I won’t debate the pros and cons of channel surfing).

The issue is the user interface experience. Before cutting the cord, it was simple to go up and down in the channels if you were surfing. Now with Tablo, you have to do a minimum 5 clicks to change to the channel immediately before or after the one you are currently on (more depending on how far you must go up or down the guide to select the next channel).

Now I am not personally complaining. I chose the Tablo for the concept of a central antenna feeding a central unit that would distribute the signal to multiple TVs, provide DVR function for OTA shows, and also provide a guide for shows, and Tablo delivers all of this and more. However, some folks can be somewhat technically challanged (aka wife) and find the overall user interface concept a little cumbersome. Of course, she reduces her complaints when I point out that we are saving over $120 per month versus cable.

It took me a little effort to realize that the Tablo uses a somewhat different paradigm than what I had been used to. Before Tablo I had cable DVR service for many years, then in between cancelling cable and acquiring a Tablo I used another cheapy DVR for a while. In both cases the DVR was connected directly to one TV and flipping channels was no different than if I had my antenna hooked up to the TV, i.e. it was nearly instant (just a little lag now and then when changing between SD and HD channels). The Tablo uses a whole different scheme in that it doesn’t connect directly to my TV, but gives me the flexibility to send it to multiple TV’s via multiple streaming devices. The Tablo fills a need that most (if not all, I don’t know) other DVR’s do not, and the price paid is buffering. I’m no expert, but I don’t really see how that can be overcome for this way of doing things.

Some people live in an area where there are morning and evening local news shows. Where I live I only consider 2 worth watching. So it might be kind of nice to flip between 2 channels and thus avoid some rather annoying segments that pop up every once in a while.

And since I live in a 3 story house and I have multiple tablos on the 3rd floor with the antenna, ripping out a bunch of dry wall to run new coax seems to defeat some of tablos features - Live TV.

That sounds like a case for PIP, while I never before thought PIP was a useful thing, I can see with the buffering thing, that the ability to instantly switch between PIP inputs might be cool.


With my house the utility lines run on the opposite side of the house with regards to the garage. There are 3 coax runs - one for each floor. Each coax and power run goes through the ceiling and only goes to the wall on exit into a room.

While I might convince the wife to run a specialize coax run just for the direct antenna connect, I’m concerned she might turn the rewiring into a $20,000 redecorating adventure.

I may be missing the point of some of these comments but it seems switching without going to the guide has nothing to do with most of the lag experienced when selecting a channel. My previous DVR allowed a user to scroll through the channels by overlaying the guide while the currently selected channel continued to play. I stepped though the guide until I found the channel I wanted then pressed OK. Otherwise I waited a bit and the guide went away. All the while, I could listen to the currently selected program.


What drives the delay between channels mentioned above? What enables Sling to do their version seeing what is on other channels while still watching a channel?

An overlay of the guide while watching live TV was one of the options you could vote for in the survey, when asked what two features do you want next.

The delay between channel changes is due to 1, the Tablo having to transcode the MPEG-2 video to h.264 video, 2, then creating a 10-second buffer in h.264 video, 3, then starting to send the stream to your playback device.

Let’s say you have 20 OTA channels, it would take you like 5 minutes to just go from channel 1 to channel 20. That’s not really ‘channel surfing’ lol

Is this actually happening? Have they stated thats how it works? Whats the reasoning for this? Immediate DVR functionality.

I ask because the HDHomerun Extend transcodes to h.264 and then streams, without the 10 second delay.

The HDHomerun doesn’t record however so the functionality differs.

I know the HDHomerun does not record. What I am asking for is clarification on what actually causes the 10-15 second start delay. Does the Tablo cache 10 seconds of stream before starting? If thats the case, it’d be nice if there was a way to toggle this off, to speed up the loading of a channel and facilitate that “channel surfing” experience.

theuser86 indicated that the transcoding + stream initiation is contributing to the delay but my suspicion is this is mostly not the case, as the hdhomerun does not have much of a delay and I would consider the Tablo to be more powerful and refined.

An alternate strategy would have been to start the display immediately while building the recording buffer in background through a different asynchronous thread of execution. Display and recording don’t have to be synchronous.

So yes I agree, it would be good to know why caching is a prerequisite for display?

I have always assumed the main reason for the 10 second buffer is to make the user experience as smooth as possible. Without that buffer, any interruption in signal would result in a blank screen or a buffering message. By having those 10 seconds, watching TV should be uninterrupted (though with the Roku, that isn’t always the case).

And has that been the result? Seems as if this aspect is quite irritating to many users. Not very smooth… :grin:

Besides for a few LPW messages on my Roku (which happens in other Roku apps as well), I do find the playback to be very smooth.

I admit that I don’t do channel surfing on the Tablo. My main TV has it’s own antenna, and if I need to channel surf live TV, I just use that input.

As opposed to the black screen with spinning circle and “Loading” text we currently get?

My Hauppauge PC tuner card has a DVR functionality. It buffers and caches the OTA stream for rewind and FF. However on startup there is no delay. Granted it is not doing MP4 but MPEG2. However its initial display is immediate even as it buffers.

My wife gives a show TWO seconds to prove itself otherwise she is on to the next channel. The ten second delay is eight seconds too long for her… :anguished:

By default, the HDHomeRun Extend does not transcode the MPEG2 video to h.264 video for playback on live TV unless the transcode feature is specifically turned on. The MPEG2 video plays back live immediately because of no transcoding.

Which playback device are you using with the HDHomeRun?