Cutting the cord with Tablo in Canada despite upcoming cheap TV package?


I am a would-be cordcutter in Canada who has been going back and forth about cutting off satellite TV from Bell. I have already made the switch to VoIP phone and am very pleased with the voice quality and savings.

At first, I chose Tablo as my potential OTA DVR because it best fits my needs (I was, however, very disappointed that the fair and honest questions I sent via the web form were utterly ignored by Nuyvvo staff).

However, due to the CRTC’s ruling, Canadians will soon be able to have a basic TV package at a cost of $25 (basically getting the channels they would have OTA – possibly a bit more if US channels are included). Right now I have 3 satellite receivers in my house, all paid off. Once the ruling is in effect, I would pay $25 with satellite VS $5 OTA with Tablo (or $150 lifetime).

My question here is: are $20 a month less (after initial expenses) worth the hassle (aside from the satisfaction of ditching a telecommunications giant)? My hardware is paid off and I know the technology is mature and relatively stable. With Tablo, we are still in “early adopter” stage and there are some annoyances that may never be eliminated (such as delays when watching live TV – not something I do often, thankfully). I have read quite a few negative things about Tablo, but most comments and reviews were from 2014; I know there have been many important updates since.

In terms of OTA equipment, I already have a large external hard drive and a Roku 3. I also have a Playstation 3 & 4, but I am not sure they are viable options as replacements for a Roku, even with Plex. I’d still need to have an antenna professionally installed.

So now I have a 4-tuner Tablo in an unopened box from Best Buy (I got it on sale and now I have to decide whether I’m keeping it – cutting the cord – or returning it – staying with satellite).

Thanks for reading this!

(disclaimer I live in the states not Canada) …

I would first ask … how is your OTA HD tv reception? have you tried just connecting an antenna to a TV directly to see how your reception is and what stations you get and/or if you get all the stations you want? (I had to go thru about 3 different antennas due to my distance and terrain from the broadcast towers before I got a setup that worked for me) … (this was the hardest part)

secondly does your current equipment provide DVR capabilities?

The other thing I personally did was keep my cable and do a “test” … I disconnected the kitchen TV (one we use a great deal) and put it directly on an antenna … and tried it out over the summer … if we could “survive” the 3 months without needing or wanting cable there then the rest of the problem was easy to solve… also if things went poorly … then it was easy enough to just reconnect the cable box and forget the whole idea … (no harm … no foul) … for us, once I got the proper antenna and got it pointing correctly (something if I did again I would pay a professional to do) … we were very happy with what we could get OTA and actually ended up ditching the cable several months ahead of our original planned disconnect date…

IF they release the Tablo firmware soon you will have support for large USB drives. I hope it is released this coming week.

I also suggest hooking up the antenna to the TV to see what you will receive.

Yep, I should have mentioned I do have DVR capabilities right now (it’s limited and not as extensive as Tablo’s).

I already had an engineer check the signal from my house, and I was told I would get all of the major channels that are available around here with good reception and quality. (I’m located near Nuvyyo.) Of course, it’s not nearly as good as what you would get in the states.

How is Tablo right now in August 2015 in a typical multi-device home? Most of the reviews I am reading are more than a year old.

Thanks for the replies :smile:

Pretty good… I use iPads, iphones, desktop computers via chrome and Roku boxes… with the odd Android mobile device being used by visiting friends.

Pretty good, and will only get better once the new Table firmware is released (should be this week). For example, you will be able to use larger hard disk. I have two Rokus (a Roku 3 original model and a Roku LT in the bedroom). I also have a Fire TV Stick, because the Roku does NOT have Tablo Connect (watch remotely) and the Fire TV Stick does. I wanted to be able to watch on a TV when away from home instead of only my phone. I got my Fire TV when it was Today’s Deal on Best Buy and paid under $25 -Amazon wants $39 for it.

Speaking of Rokus, this could silently add a hefty cost to one’s OTA setup if they had to be upgraded every few years. Same with the Tablo hardware itself. In the end, I would not save much… But it is still tempting.

The OTA stream is not going to change the way it’s broadcasted any time soon so I don’t think I see the need for major hardware upgrades any time soon.

I calculated the initial investment and generally you recover all your costs with the savings over 12 months. So even if you upgraded after 2 years you’ve saved a lot.

If you watch Best Buy deals of the day and other stores deals, you might find a good deal. I recently got a Fire TV Stick because it has Tablo Connect (remote streaming) which Roku won’t have until the Roku gets Tablo connect (if it is ever going to). @TabloSupport any chance of Roku getting Tablo Connect? When I got my Fire TV Stick it was Deal of the Day and I paid under $25 for what Amazon normally charges $39 for. Also if you sign up for Sling TV and prepay for 3 months they were (might still be) offering Roku 3 and Fire TV Sticks on discounted prices or free.

Thanks for the feedback. (Unfortunately, I don’t believe the Fire TV works here without spoofing a US IP address.)

How is the image quality right now (live and/or recorded)? I have read conflicting information about this (streaming vs HDMI – but personally, I think Netflix streaming looks fine, so I am not too concerned).

I have my Roku 3 and Tablo on 5 GHz WiFi. The FireTV stick said the 2.5 GHz network is better and is what it is connected to. I use the Roku 3 the most. I have the antenna on the TV and to the Tablo, so I can watch live tv on tv or on the Tablo. I have the 4 tuner Tablo. Large hard drives will be available soon (hopefully this week),

I just did a google search and found

I got all my ROKUs from when they had them on special (which they often do) for a very cheap price…

That said… if apple comes out with a new AppleTV that supports an “app store” … and I can get both PLEX and TABLO on said mythical new appletv then I might ditch the Rokus for that (at least in the family room/kitchen)

@Consolarificus - Sorry to hear you didn’t get a reply from us. We generally answer all questions coming from the form within 1 business day… Perhaps something went wrong with your submission.

@TabloTV In general, it’s always concerning when you have pre-sale questions and the company ignores you, as if they get enough business already and don’t need yours. I’m willing to consider something did go wrong :weary: Thanks for the reply.

Going back to my original question (cutting the cord despite upcoming cheap packages in Canada), I’ll reply with my feedback once I have things running. Free TV is still better than cheap TV: this was my reasoning. One thing to consider is that you can sell off the equipment you own (in my case, 1 HD “PVR” as we call it here and two HD receivers) and get some of your money back on your initial investment.

I’m double-excited by this as well as well as the prospect of streaming my media over Plex, which I keep on hearing about. Time for a change :+1:


@Consolarificus one advantage that you have with Tablo over the skinny TV packages that will be coming is that you can basically do anything you want with the recordings. For example, I’m on vacation right now at a cottage on lake Huron with limited internet access but I wanted to take a few shows with me to watch when it’s raining outside. So I exported the last 5 episodes of Under the Dome to my Android tablet that I had recorded with the Tablo. That would not be possible if I had TV with Rogers, bell, Shaw, or whichever cable provider you go with on the skinny package. The recordings world be locked to the DVR

1 Like

I’m afraid you can’t really expect the CRTC’s ruling to change anything for the better. Bell and Rogers have shown incredible imagination and resourcefulness when it comes to side-stepping or defeating rules.

My bet is the “cheap” package will be nothing but channels nobody wants to watch. And everything else will be an additional fee.

I cut the cord from Rogers VIP HD package. Thats 5 outlets, 2 HD PVRs, and 3 digital to analog adaptors for my older TVs and Computer tuner card. That cost me over $100/month CDN. My investment in Tablo and a professionally mounted roof antenna will pay for itself in 6 months.

And I was SHOCKED to discover the OTA HD is MUCH SHARPER than Rogers HD!

The biggest unknown, it turns out, is how good is your TV’s digital tuner? I’m seeing a lot of variance between manufacturers, and even between different models from the same manufacturer.

Tablo has not disclosed its own tuner sensitivity either. However, I can attest the Tablo is better than my worst TV, and seems comparable to my mid-level TVs. And, maybe its actually close to my best TV - its hard to tell because of the way Tablo reports signal strength.

Bottom line: Jump in. Get a professional to select and install the antenna, run new RG6 and you will be very happy.

Hope this helps,

1 Like

I hate Rogers and Bell - overcharge for everything. But they’re a necessary evil to invest in infrastructure.

@MarcCharette I didn’t know Tablo-recorded content could be viewed offline at all :no_mouth: Under the Dome is one of those shows you like even though you feel as though you logically shouldn’t!

@rcooke You’re probably right about Bell, Rogers & co. No worries, I have jumped in indeed. Even if Tablo doesn’t work out for me (but I have a feeling it will), I really want to move on from traditional subscription TV. I wasn’t expecting anyone to defend “skinny” TV packages here… Just wished to share my musings, I suppose.

There are websites that debate all the different offerings if you really want to read up on that stuff.

@Consolarificus the video export program was created by community member Jestep so not an official part of the Tablo but it works very well. It can be downloaded here: