DUAL HDMI video quality vs DUAL lite

Hi, I purchased a Tablo DUAL Lite and tried it for ~2-wks. I ended up returning to Amazon today due to the video quality. Even at 10Mbps (best video encoding setting) the video on my 4K Sony was poor compare to OTA antenna directly into the Sony and Xfinity cable feed. The motion for football was poor and rough edges around the text. I just couldn’t accept worst than the cable (Xfinity) signal.

I now thinking about the DUAL HDMI since it doesn’t transcode the MPEG source.

Can anyone provide feedback on the DUAL HDMI video quality vs best OTA direct to TV? Or how it would compare to the DUAL Lite that I didn’t find acceptable?

i have both the regular and HDMI Tablo units. The HDMI has a better picture. I also view it over my ethernet network with a Roku or FireTV and get a great picture (subject to reception of course).

@rbryan when accessing via your Roku can you do all the same things (set recordings, browse shoes, etc) that you can when accessing the HDMI unit directly?

My network Tablo QUAD runs headless (all access via Roku/PC/etc) and am curious if the HDMI unit can be run the same way after initial setup.

I seem to be able to do everything on my Roku (or Firestick) that I can do on the unit itself, except for a couple of things. I can’t access the screensaver, and CEC on the settings page (maybe something else there, I haven’t compared the screens side by side in detail), but all the scheduling and watching seems to be available on Roku or Firestick.

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How is the responsiveness of the menus/interface on the Roku/Firestick vs HDMI direct? About the same?

As far as I can tell, about the same. Keep in mind everything in my system is hard wired ethernet.

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This is the key point for anyone considering the DUAL HDMI for in home streaming to other devices. MPEG2 video has a lot higher video bitrate so trying to stream via WiFi to a Roku or Fire TV might result in buffering issues. I quote:

To watch Tablo content on additional TVs within your home, you’ll need a strong home WiFi network and one of these:

  • A Smart TV powered by: Roku, or Amazon Fire TV, or Android TV OR
  • A Set-Top-Box/Streaming Media Device: Roku, or Amazon Fire TV, or Chomecast with Google TV, or Nvidia SHIELD”

Thanks for the feedback. Going to back to my original question on video quality. Has anyone compared the video quality of the DUAL HDMI to OTA feed directly into their TV? Based on my DUAL LITE experience, I’m still concerned that the Tablo MPEG decoder chip/software could limit quality even without transcoding of the original OTA signal.

Dual HDMI should be the raw ATSC data. I suppose it’s reasonable to ask about the decoder side. But, it would be weird for that to be an issue. Usually things either decode fully, or not. It’s not usually a level of quality thing.

I realize this revives the topic, but I bought a Dual HDMI for the video quality everyone comments on being poor with the Dual Lite on 1080i sources just a couple days ago.
There is one MAJOR limitation I didn’t understand and no one seems to mention that I want people to be aware of: YOU CANNOT ACCESS THE DUAL HDMI FROM THE BROWSER APP.
This is a major point for me, because due to cable routing issues, I can’t locate the Dual HDMI at the TV, it needs to be close to the router where the antenna coax feed also is. So I intended to set it up hardwired to my router (Roku is hardwired also) and control it thru the Tablo app on the Roku. That works fine for everything EXCEPT managing recordings. I have very structured viewing habits and only need to record (to timeshift) the local nightly news and possibly one or two series sitcoms, so I never intended to pay the monthly TV guide service. I always intended to manage the setup of series recordings from the browser app. Tablo is telling me that can’t be done. I want everyone to be clear on that limitation before shelling out money like I did.

Did you read the product description for compatible streaming devices?

Yes. I did. The Roku is compatible, I made sure of that. There are caveats that weren’t entirely clear that mattered in my specific use case which I detailed in my post.

You stated that you don’t intend to purchase the guide subscription, but without the subscription, your HDMI model will not stream to your Roku either.

Tablo’s TV Guide Data Service subscription provides the beautiful cover art, episode and series synopses, and metadata that makes it easy for you to browse content and set recordings on your Tablo. A subscription also enables some of Tablo’s cooler features like in-home streaming to secondary TVs. After the first 30 days, you can choose to subscribe and continue to enjoy the benefits of a TV Guide Data subscription.

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I don’t need “the benefits of a TV Guide Data subscription”. As I said, my use case is specific. I know exactly what station and time the news is on. I know exactly where the 1 or 2 series sitcoms I bother to watch are and what time they start and end. Everything else I watch is streamed thru other sources from their respective apps on the Roku. The article from Tablo itself ( https://support.tablotv.com/hc/en-us/articles/360051810972-Streaming-to-Secondary-Televisions-from-Tablo-DUAL-HDMI-or-Tablo-QUAD-HDMI ) does not mention any requirement for a TV guide subscription to stream to up to 2 in-home networked Roku devices. So either you are misinformed, or Tablo is putting out incorrect information. I am simply trying to determine what is actually true. I am “cutting the cord” to save money. I can’t justify the “benefits” of the TV guide subscription since I don’t surf the channels and record random programs willy-nilly.

It says it quite clearly on the Tablo HDMI product page: TV-Connected Tablo DVRs and How They Work | Over The Air (OTA) DVR | Tablo

It does, just like it does on the other page I linked to yesterday. Having said that, it would probably be prudent for @TabloTV to update this page as well so it’s obvious there and consistent with the other pages. Seems relevant to that page since it’s specifically about streaming to devices on other TVs…

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Well, now…since the verbiage has been updated to the link I posted, it IS clear that I won’t be able to use the Dual HDMI as I intended. That is disappointing, but at least now the next action is clear: I have to return the Dual HDMI :frowning:
It’s disappointing that the in-home streaming functionality is tied to a seemingly unrelated option. It’s almost like when the cable company bundles a bunch of worthless channels into your subscription package that drives the price up. :wink:
Hopefully the Dual Lite streams & records at the same quality level as the Dual HDMI and system response time is the same. If so, the fix will be relatively painless. If not, I will likely implement a different platform.

Consider getting a 4 tuner unit. I started with a 2-tuner, but ultimately had to upgrade. The programs started ending at odd times (e.g., 8:31) which was causing conflicts.

Also, there is no doubt that my live feed (antenna to TV) is of a better quality than what my network Tablo records, but it isn’t a great difference IMO. I watch both Live TV and Tablo recorded programs and don’t notice any quality differences when watching. The comparison between the HDMI Tablo and network Tablo will probably be the same.

The performance and video quality of the Dual HDMI is acceptable to me using it to stream to my Roku, and being controlled by the Tablo app on the Roku. (I’m able to do this because of the free 30 day trial of the TV Guide Data Service) Once that’s up, my set-up will be non functional, apparently. If the Dual Lite has the same video quality and performance, all is well and good…I’ll just simply switch hardware. But, from what I’ve been able to tell by reading up on the HSL format the networked Tablos use, the performance is going to be considerably worse because that streaming standard has up to (and in some cases more than) 30 seconds of latency. In English, that means that every time I switch channels it can be half a minute or more before the picture and sound start coming. I hope someone can jump in and correct me if I’m wrong. That was one of the key reasons I opted for the HDMI version instead of the Network version initially. “Surfing” channels would become an unbearable experience. But I don’t generally surf (I know what I want to watch and I nearly always record it to time-shift and skip commercials) so it may not be a huge dealbreaker. I just don’t know. Wish there was a way to “test drive” for a week or so to get a feel for the real-world difference between the two.

I think with most playback devices you’ll find it’s more like 5-10 seconds depending on the device. And if you are switching between two channels (or 4 channels with a 4 tuner model) to which you have already tuned recently, so “pseudo” channel surfing, that’s near instant. The 5-10 seconds is when first tuning to a channel.