Rodger and others here,
My apology to this forum for acting aggresively here, but I am as anxious to see this set of problems solved as anyone, and take strong exceptions when either my motives or my technical reasoning are called into question.
At risk of being flamed, I wanted to very briefly offer you my credentials and my suggestions, not to seek praise or any thanks, but merely to clarify my intentions here. I have no stake in Tablo other than as a user and as a retired engineer and manager who can bring some insights to a problem with hopes of solving it. Such has been my career of 50+ years.
I also want to establish WHY I think Tablo is at fault, and HOW I think that Tablo can take steps to improve things. I have sold consulting services for thousands of dollars per day, but offer this input with no expectations of any payback other than a truly working Tablo.
In the way of background, I bring 2 degrees in electrical and computer engineering, a Masters in Business Administration, 3 FCC Commercial Broadcasting Licenses including First Class, and 5 amateur ham licenses up to the highest class dating back to the 1950s. I have worked in broadcast engineering, built and put a televsion station on the air, and performed and managed many dozens of software and hardware projects, first as an engineer, and later as a project manager. I eventually managed several hundred engineers and programmers delivering several million lines of code, retiring as a Division Vice President of a Fortune 100 aerospace company most of you have heard of. I have taught at the local university (student population 34,000) and enjoy particularly expertise in systems engineering and RF engineering. To this day my hobbies include electronics design, programming, and especially video, and I have about $55K of current video, editing, 4K UHD, servers, projection, ham, and electronics instrumentation including oscilliscopes, signal generators, etc. to keep me occupied in retirement and educate my grandchildren.
I believe Tablo is responsible here for two basic reasons.
First and foremost, there are now over 2500+ Roku channel apps for the same number of Roku channels, and literally 13 million or more Roku users. The problems we have been seeing on the Tablo DO NOT, and I repeat again, DO NOT show up with any significance on other channels. If you would take the time to look at the Internet and especially the Roku developer forums, the appearance of any topics related to fast forward reboots particularly, are extremely rare. I have seen a total of 3 channels each with one complaint.
The temptation to affiliate this issue as being a Roku problem is patently obvious, since the Roku box, afterall, is the thing which crashes.
The RIGHT question to ask would be, however, why don't 2497 other channels crash the Roku? And why aren't Netflix, HBO, and other extremely large consumer populations complaining about their Roku crashes? There are many, many millions of users who are satisfied.
The answer is that those Roku channel app developers who screw up create crashing apps. Those who write code correctly have apps which run without FFReboots.
The second reason is even more basic than the first. If Roku truly has the bug which causes these crashes, isn't there still an obligation for Tablo to understand how to circumvent this with recoding to the revised update which avoids this crash? Clearly (2497) other channels have figured it out. Should Tablo sit back as they did for over 5 months saying, we are waiting for Roku to fix this? Absolutely not !!!! This is terrible, non customer focused head in the sand. It disrespects the investments and risks all of us were willing to take to try an untested product like Tablo. It shows an utter lack of taking some leadership in making this problem disappear.
The two reasons above are not the only reasons I believe Tablo is responsible.
Since the day I plugged in my new Tablo a year ago up until just a few minutes ago, the list of recordings on my Tablo and my iPhone have never agreed. The connections have never been solid remotely. The Roku returns to the Home desktop when I hit the Tablo button some of the time, starting Tablo app but then quitting. I could go on and on. The current Roku code is badly flawed and shows it in many ways.
The number of threads in this forum with issues very clearly shows a software development project in trouble. More bugs are being created than being fixed.
And finally, I have to really wonder why the offical Tablo channel app for the Roku has been untouched since February 2015. Are we saying that it is finished and working properly? Hardly! It did not work properly in February 2015 and it does not work properly now. Some of my earlier complaints and observationws go back to bugs discovered a year ago, still unfixed, unacknowledged,and most annoying in total. The Preview channel solves none of them,
Finally, I feel that Tablo has done a very poor job of communicating. As anyone in management or especially in publuic relations will tell you, the worst thing to do in any crisis or problem is to stay silent. I personally have been astonished at the 5 month denial, followed by the 2 month offer to send crash reports to Roku follwed by the fairly recent acknowledgement of issues with a nebulous claim this problem is being worked.
Eight months is far too long to be passive.
I suggest that:
Tablo postpones / stops all new feature work on the Roku to focus exclusively on getting the current version fixed.
Tablo hires an independent software verification and validation company to do code walk-throughs, validation of designs, verification of code compliance, and define software quality assurance standards.
Tablo hires a Software Quality Assurance Manager reporting directly to the VP of Engineering or CEO with full responsibility for software testing and delivered software quality.
For the above, staffing should be provided which is 'egoless', a term used to ensure that a person does not get to review or test code which they have had any prior involvement in. Needless to say, those with very strong credentials in Brightscript and recent Roku channel app development should be sought out and hired.
I appreciate that Roku is but one of several supported players, but it is, by a huge margin, the largest present plus potential customer base, and is clearly a very weak area for Tablo currently.
A status report should be developed and distributed to all parties, on a periodic basis, with completion time and manpower tracking. An abridged version of this repoprt should be made available online to interested users to indicate work in progress and status.
Optionally, an employee incentive program which rewards bug discovery and bug elimination should be established and administered through the Software Quality Assurance Manager office / budget.
Diagnostic code visible to the user, the Tablo support group, or both to better instrument what is actually going on. The current Tablo offers absolutely no visibility into its working paramaters and failure modes.
A more open architecture allowing the wealth of expertise in the user base to complement the Tablo team, rather than wasting enormous time discussing mostly irrelevant topics like cooling/thermal, router and network confounding problems, RF / EMI, etc.
Perhaps a dedicated Tablo player at a relatively low price which allows HDMI output and remote control, putting the entire end-to-emd Tablo code base under your company control, and avoiding altogether the reliance on 3rd party updates and changes.
This is just a start, issued with good intentions, with hope of some implementation.
I will post this request above in the Open Letter from the Tablo CEO thread with hopes that he will read and act upon some or all of the suggestions.