Demoing a New Lab Project at CEDIA – Tablo With Cable Card Support

If I was planning on staying with cable (will be making that cord cut leap soon) I would probably go with a device like this since some big-name-national-cable-providers-who-were-recently-in-the-news-regarding-customer-service (and wont be named) dont always roll out their top products in markets like mine that have little to no competition and we are still using the previous decade’s DVR technology… heck my old and god rest its soul REPLAY TV was more advanced than the cable company provided DVR …

Totally interested in this as an option!

cable card support is a good thing and should be viewed by all Tablo owners as such.    Cable card support for Tablo allows it to attract a huge new pool of potential customers which means more development for all the features everyone wants.    I say bring it on!

Thanks for the explanation @TabloTV.

I would worry about having to plug in a second appliance to make this work. As we’ve seen with some of the variance between hard drives and Roku performance adding a go between could further weaken the end output. 

Then again, if I were looking to replace multiple set top boxes and stand alone DVRs in my house it would still be appealing to me. 

@RFSox That’s the idea :slight_smile:

I personally would love this product.  Tablo provides a convenience that is useful for people with cable as well.  Having a simple solution to access to all channels on every device with dvr features would  be great.   

No plan to go back to cable, now that I have my Tablo.

That being stated, if I had to have cable due to no options OTA or limited options, then this would be a good idea. The problem I then see is the cost for more equipment and the possible loss of 4 tuners down to a possible 3 tuners.

Whole house is great but my house has four shows periodically being recorded. Currently if I need to watch say a football game or baseball game I can switch over to a straight feed from antenna to my tv and not interfere with my Tablo. 

Also, most cable providers have the ability to offer a DVR to record 4-6 shows at one time. My last provider had a whole house five tuner box. 

Costs to set up and available tuners would be the decision maker for me…if I had to go back.

Looks like something similar to the Slingbox M1, unless I’m missing something…Is that right?

@napercort, yes… at first it doesn’t make sense.  If you’re paying the huge cable bill, then shouldn’t you be using what they provide?  And why would you need a Tablo? 

Makes sense…

However, cable companies do not carry (I know, it’s weird) all of the available OTA channels.  They may carry the “main” frequency, but not those sub channels where all of the good content is at.

So… yes… I do think it’s weird going back to paying a ton of money to cable, but I can understand why those with big bucks would still want a Tablo.

I’d be interested. In the process right now of getting better OTA for my current setup and when I do Tablo will be the next step I think.

Cable DVRs cost extra.  HD costs extra.  Multiple TVs cost extra.  

With a cable card enabled Tablo, you likely avoid all three of those extra costs (though I don’t know if you can get around the HD cost or not).

@snocat I hate HD cost… what???  I mean does that even make sense anymore?  But yet all (I think all) providers charge you for HD.  Ridiculous!

With that said, at least for US providers, you can’t just get a cable card without paying for the normal fees… so all a cable card does it save you (maybe) the cost of a DVR (but sometimes it’s included anyhow).

In general a provider cable card gets you all the high cost of cable minus many convenience features you’d have if you used their DVR. (just saying)

But I guess we’re talking about their “basic” package which is primarily just OTA (minus many OTA channels)… IMHO, better if you just cut the cord…

This would be an ideal product for me. We don’t have great OTA reception here, although I think I could make it work. But the bigger thing is the increased WAF in cutting the cord in stages. We’d still get the cable channels we “need” while losing $40/month in equipment rentals and terrible interface. After she’s used to the setup, I can convince her that it’s not worth $50/month for the handful of shows we’d be losing. (Assuming the cable card version also supports OTA. Having to buy a new Tablo and ditch the old one to go OTA would be a dealbreaker.)

And yes… certainly of OTA doesn’t work, you are sort of forced to buy cable… though possibly  reduced cost by using a cable card.

Question:  Is Tablo going to charge a premium for the ability to use SiliconDust tuner?

For single TV with streaming to tablets/phone cost is:

Tablo+Sub/Lifetime Sub+Hard drive+Silicondust+Roku

Additional TVs cost:   Roku

Does it make sense?    Tablo features/functionality not presently competitive with TiVO or cable co DVR.   
Tablo app on Roku works but currently isn’t an “awesome” experience.    the emperor has no clothes

What is impact of copy flags?

To be successful as a cable co DVR solution Tablo is going to need:
Significant improvements to feature set and functionalty as DVR
As John McEnroe would say, "15 seconds to change channel?  YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS???"
Fully functional EPG for Roku is a must
Support additional STB, Apple TV, Android/Fire TV
Now, this would be something!!!

Yes!   I’m in an area where I could get some OTA broadcasts, but having a cable option would be the way I would go.   Charter is moving to all digital here and I just setup a HDHomeRun Prime + Cable Card to work with my current SageTV system.    So I’ve got part of the system already working.

I’m looking for a good alternative to SageTV and right now Tablo (maybe + Plex) is looking to be the best option.

If you need a beta tester I’m here.  :-)


Thanks for all of the feedback everyone! 

This is very early days so there’s still a lot of details we need to address like content restrictions, form factors etc. 

We’ll keep you posted as things progress. 

I know Tablo knows this but in case anyone else wonders. No go for us Canadians. Cable card are not supported by the big cable companies.

Regardless, like many here I went with a Tablo because of OTA.


I have unscrambled basic cable (ClearQAM); does this mean that TabloTV will soon provide a cable EPG (for clearQAM cable) and record cable shows that are clearQAM (without the silicondust product)?  I am assuming that the cable card and silicon dust product are descrambling the channels for TabloTV to record.