Considering Making The "Quantum Leap"

Hello All,

My name is Alan. I live in Cheshire, Connecticut (USA) and I am considering making the “Quantum Leap” from cable to OTA. We have used DISH, Comcast, and most recently AT&T U-verse for as long as I can remember. However, AT&T sold their cable service to Frontier and everything went drastically downhill. This has had me considering cutting the cord for over a year now. However, I want to make sure I have all my bases covered.

To give you an idea of our TV usage, we have three adults and two children who use six televisions in our home. We almost exclusively DVR our programming (why wait for commercials?). Since the change from AT&T to Frontier we have completely stopped using the On Demand functions. I went through the list of shows we record and input the networks, date, and time into a Google Sheet. We record as many as 4 shows at the same time. Therefore, I am considering the Tablo 4-Tuner OTA DVR. As I understand it, If it is recording 4 shows at the same time, I can still watch the recorded broadcasts on 6 WiFi devices. Can I also still watch live TV on those WiFi enabled devices?
I also discovered that almost every show we watch is from network television like ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW. Any recommendations for watching shows on AMC, TNT, Cartoon Network, Nick, and Disney’s Channels?

I plan on purchasing a number of antenna to test signal reception in my wooded and hilly region of the New England. I would ideally like to use an indoor amplified antenna. However, I would not be opposed to using an outdoor or attic receiver if necessary. Do you all watch live television through the Tablo? If not, do you split the signal from your antenna or purchase separate antenna for each television?

In order to watch our recorded and live television through the Tablo, we will need a Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, etc. This device will have to be universal throughout the house so that my mother-in-law, wife, and children all understand how to access their shows. My mother-in-law has a Roku 3 connected to her television and feels comfortable navigating her way through it. I believe we will choose this device unless someone has an overwhelming reason to go with Apple TV.

In terms of a HD, I plan on purchasing a Seagate Expansion 5TB HD which was recommended on the Tablo website. I have heard that there is the ability to take videos on the Tablo and play them on your computer. Is there a way to take video from the computer and convert it to play on the Tablo? I would love to take “movies” on my computer and put them up on the big screen

Once I have made sure that everything about my plan is up to snuff, I will purchase the equipment and test it for at least a month before the big reveal to my family. I want to make sure that I understand every aspect of the operation of this equipment before officially cutting the cord.

Any thoughts and recommendations from current users would be most appreciated.

I appreciate your help,

SlingTV for $20 per month but only one stream.

Fellow Nutmegger here, Tablo 2 Tuner. I live in West Hartford and we get all the CT stations except ABC out of New Haven (think the transmitter is in Hamden). Luckily we pick up ABC out of western Mass. Post your tvfoolreport and we can see what should be easily available for you or at least discern if you’ll need to go full blown rooftop install.

SlingTV for $20 will get you AMC, TNT, Cartoon Network and regular Disney (as well as other channels). The kids extra adds $5 and a few more channels, including Disney XD, no Nick though. Downside to Sling is only 1 stream at a time and some users report lag/crashes during peak hours (think Monday night football on ESPN and walking dead premieres on AMC). I have personally had zero issues, but we mostly use it for Food Network or the occasional movie on AMC/TNT/TBS. YMMV.

Roku 3s are also limited to wireless N (if you aren’t hardwiring). I would suggest making sure you have a good dedicated router, preferably on 5ghz. Also, consider powerline adapters for TVs that are further from the router.

With regards to adding video to Tablo, this is not possible. What people do instead is rip videos from Tablo and add them to their existing media, Plex media servers being a common means of distribution.

No need for Tablo for this if you have Roku boxes. Just stream from computer to Roku using Roku Media app or Plex.

You won’t be able to watch live on any devices if you have all four tuners recording programs, unless you want to watch one of the recording channels while it is still recording.
There are only the four tuners…so if they are busy recording, there is no tuner to “tune-in” a different live channel.

I have one antenna to an amplified splitter that feeds 6 TV’s and a Tablo box in my house. I have a dedicated feed to my Tablo so that I can watch anything I want on my TV. I do not use my Tablo for Live TV. MY antenna is in my attic. I have a 4 tuner Tablo and my understanding is that I can record 4 shows and at the same time watch up to 2 recorded shows. I may be wrong. I have never done this. I have recorded 4 shows at the same time.

Hi. My experience with indoor antennas has not been good That includes Mohu leaf amplified and the like. If you can purchase one locally with easy return, no harm in trying. If you have access to a window not far from your TV facing towards your local towers it will enhance your chances. I live in Seal Beach, CA which is a suberb of the greater LA area some 35 miles from transmission towers. I’m using an RCA compact outdoor antenna with a two way splitter and getting excellent results - 100 channels rock solid. Good luck.

The basics will be your antenna reception. Cheshire (my former home town) is positioned well to get Channel 8 as well as all of the Hartford stations. You will likely not have much luck with an antenna in your attic. If you lived in an Urban area (Hartford) an indoor antenna might be fine - not in Cheshire. You are also likely surrounded by trees. At my house in Centerbrook, I need 2 Amplified antenna mounted on my roof - one points to New Haven, the other Hartford.

As ChrisFix said, yes you can. Note that when you join a show in recording progress you can FF/REW to your heart’s content up to the live point.

Since you already have coax all over your house you could consider using DECA (DirecTV Ethernet to Coax Adapters) and hardwire your devices. You need one at the source and then one at each device. Learned of them in here and they work fantastic. At the moment they are $13.50 for a set (with power adapters which you’ll need) on Amazon. Unless you’re lucky enough to be wired already.

+1 on the SlingTV but with 1 stream only you may need to do some refereeing. Would be nice if they offered a 3 stream family plan for considerably less than $60 a month. Supposedly you can stream more than one HBO simultaneously but that’s the only channel.

It’s a leap to cut cable that’s for sure especially if you watch a lot of TV but once you find the perfect setup and everyone gets the hang of it you’ll love it and love saving the money. Buy from a place that you can return easily (and cheaply) and try it for 30 days…see what you think.

What Dave48 say… or if it’s not reasonable to split to multiple TV’s, use the Tablo as DVR and with a splitter use an HDHomeRun to distribute like OTA over your network without the channel change lag.

I really appreciate the responses to my post. Upon further research I discovered PLEX and set up a quick server on my home computer to try it out. I watched my first 1080p video last night and it was so cool! I understand that PLEX has a Tablo channel which would then allow me to watch computerized media, live OTA, and OTA DVR. However, I am at a loss on how this all gets connected.

As you can see on the left, I have three (technically four including the antenna) forms of data that need to make it to all of the devices listed to the right in the most streamlined (aka User Friendly) enviornment. Sadly, all of that data is sucked into a black hole without the appropriate connections. I am trying to determine how to wire my home to provide the BEST viewing experience.

First, we have data from the internet streaming into my home via Frontier’s wifi. At this time, our phone line is the only thing directly hooked up to the router. All of this data is broadcast via wireless N to the Roku, iPads, iPhones, etc.

Second, we will have a PLEX Media Server that will manage distribution of Audio, Video, and Photos.Currently this data is output from the server and input to the devices through WiFi. However, would hard wiring CAT5 give better performance?

Third, we have the HD antenna bringing in OTA signal to 7 televisions. I am still stuck on how this signal is distributed throughout the home, given all the other connections. I could use the coaxial cable throughout the home but doesn’t that eliminate the possibility of hardwiring the Roku 3 boxes using the DECA adapters recommended by MULLERMJ?

Lastly, we have the Tablo recording OTA programming and sending this data to the entire home through the Roku using the Tablo or PLEX channel. Again, I hear that hard wiring will give better performance. Also, should Tablo save to the PLEX media server or a separate external HD?

As you can see, I understand how everything can work but am befuddled on how to make all those connections as user friendly as possible. Thinking out loud, I could connect all of the TV’s to the Antenna using coax and run Cat5 to each of those locations to connect internet, Tablo, and the PLEX Server through a router … I think …

I just can’t visualize how to set it all up and I don’t want to buy anything before I know it will work. Any insight would be most appreciated!

-Alan Smith

This is my current setup

A few things to note. At the point where I connect the HD antenna to the tablo, I could run a splitter. One split would go to the Tablo and continue as shown. The other split would go to the house coax and directly connect to each TV via a coax. This would allow me to watch live TV on the TV input of each TV. There would be no DVR or anything special, but it would get the signals to the TV.

Additionally, you asking about saving Tablo to the Plex media server. You cannot do this natively. However, there is a 3rd party tool on this forum that allows you to rip files from the Tablo and save them to a separate storage. So we could add an arrow from my external storage to the Plex Server representing this capability.

Finally, note that the arrow from router to set top box is one situation. That set top box could be a roku, chromecast, nexus player, iphone, ipad, android phone/tablet, etc. The point is, both Tablo and streaming services come in to the router and then get broadcasted over the network. Any devices with appropriate apps can then access those services. Also, I should really make the tablo to router arrow two sided, as the Tablo pulls information from the internet (the guide service).

Thinking out loud, I could connect all of the TV’s to the Antenna using coax and run Cat5 to each of those locations to connect internet, Tablo, and the PLEX Server through a router … I think …

This would be the safest bet. You would have coax TV connections for live tv/if the network goes down and you would have all your devices hardlined back to the router, for optimal network performance.

This image was very helpful!

As I understand it, you have the Tablo, PLEX, and Internet all connected to a router which broadcasts this data to the set top box (in my case a Roku 3). Is it better to hardwire Cat5 or Coaxial from the router to the set top box or are you connected through WiFi?

Have you had any issues watching live TV through the Tablo rather than the directly connected antenna?

Yes, all my content is passed through the router and then broadcasted over the network.

For my case, wireless works fine. This is because both of my primary streaming devices (shields) support wireless AC. The beamforming technology of wireless AC is incredible - I pull down ~85mbps on both of them, easily. For roku 3s, I would not trust wireless n and would hardwire with cat 5.

Also, you might be confusing coax and cat5? Cat5 is for your network; that is what you would use as opposed to wireless. Coax is only for connecting the antenna to the tablo and/or directly to the TVs. And if you have cable internet, used to connect to your modem.

I have no issues watching live TV on Tablo but I will note that watching live TV through Tablo is not the most optimal for traditional channel surfing. There is a 10-15 second delay for live TV to load. If you wish to channel surf, install a splitter from the antenna and run one line of coax to the house coax connections (and thus to the tvs directly) and another line to the Tablo. I believe quite a few users on this forum use this method. The downside here is that you will need to change the video input on the TV (presumably between the TV input and the HDMI input that your set top box is connected in).

Again, great information.

I had heard that wireless AC was slowly working its way into devices but was unaware of the specs especially as it pertains to beamforming. I only own one Roku 3, which I bought for my 70 year old mother-in-law so that she could enjoy movies from the computer. I decided to stick with Roku as my set top device because she understands how to navigate through the hardware. I could easily purchase Roku 4’s for their AC connectivity and my future 4K video needs.

In terms of Cat5 vs Coaxial cables, I do understand the difference. MULLERMJ responded to the initial post with a link to a DECA ethernet to coaxial adapter that converts your network data so that it can be sent through the coaxial cables already installed in the home. I had no idea this existed! However, I am unsure if this would be the right way to go for hard wiring all of these devices.

Thanks again!

Yes, Roku 4s would definitely be an option. I did not recommend it as I know upon launch there was some fuss about heat issues and they are a bit on the pricier side. The heat issue may have been resolved though, there was a recall back in November or so.

As for the adapter, I am not a big fan of messing with signals/data like this. Might be worth a try but my guess is that with 7 TVs to fuel, odds are at least one of those connections will have an issue. Another adapter solution is power line adapters. I have used these in the past and they work but they are quite subject to the quality of wiring in the home and the specific manner in which things are circuited.

The safe and clean solution would be to run coax and ethernet to each tv location. Then again, if you go roku 4s, wireless ac will nullify the need for ethernet lines. And if you are okay with not being able to quickly channel surf, the coax is irrelevant. I remember your original post mentioned that you almost exclusively watch DVR content so, in theory that shouldn’t be an issue.

If you do go the wireless route, just make sure you have a dedicated modem and a dedicated router. The Arris 6121/6141 (modem) and Asus ac66u (router) is the typical recommendation I give people.

I totally agree with your point about a unified platform. Over the course of the first 3 months living with my girlfriend (started beginning of August), I played with every platform before I settled on the shield TV. When the sales came around, I got a second for the bedroom. The identical interface/hardware makes it very easy for my non-tech savvy girlfriend to use the systems.

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Wow … a fellow Nutmegger (way better than Yardgoat!) While I live in Cheshire, I am a teacher in West Hartford.

The transmitter in Hamden is visible from my back yard at night. I am certain I can pick up stations from there very easily. I am more concerned with picking up the Hartford stations. I was planning on using a either the Cord Cutter or the Clear Stream. I was leaning towards the Clear Stream only because I can get it at BJ’s and return it if my experiences are not ideal.

Here is The TV Fool report for my home

I would also throw out a recommendation for the TP Link Archer C7. It is currently less than $95 on Amazon and has very reliable performance. has tested almost every router available and they claim the Archer C7 is still the best option for most people. The Asus that @Andrroid recommended looks good as well, but I haven’t tested it myself, so I can’t speak to that.

AC Wireless and the 5GHz frequency makes a massive difference in Wi-Fi performance, especially for demanding applications such as Tablo.

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Or a live streaming service like slingTV. I tested the different sticks, a roku 3, fire tv, nexus player all on a dual modem/router combination. They all had issues from time to time, often with SlingTV, but occasionally with Netflix or other services. Simple fact is that wireless N (and those combination devices) are a bad idea if you are a cordcutter relying on heavy streaming.

Wireless AC or hardwire is the way to go for streaming video.

Perhaps these are is a stupid question …

My internet service provider uses a modem. I am not sure what make/model as I am not at home. #Android - Are you suggesting I replace it with the Arris?

Also, both the Asus and TP-Link routers have the same connection ports on the back. The media server would easily connect through the USB port. The Tablo can only connect hard wired through an ethernet port (or wifi). How would I connect the internet connection? Moreover, how would I send that signal out to 7 hard wired set top devices? Would I need another router w/o wireless?

Thanks for all your help!