Fix - Heat causing video pixelation, and overall slow performance

Heat kills.
Highly recommend standing the Tablo unit on its side (vertical) to reduce heat related issues.

My setup…
Tablo Dual Tuner firmware v2.1.28 (wired network)
Roku 3 model 4200X firmware v6.2 build 3332 (wired network)
Roku Tablo Production app v1.13 build 15
Tablo and Roku are on the same gigabit ethernet switch.
The Roku 4200X was bundled along with SlingTV subscription, otherwise its model number would be 4200R.

Measured with Raytek MT6 Non-contact MiniTemp Infrared Thermometer…
Horizontal postion = 114F on bottom (hottest point)
Vertical position = 94F on bottom (hottest point)

“Bottom” is the same place in both cases.
It’s where the barcodes are.

The 20F drop in temperature fixed major operating issues.

Before switching to vertical position…
Received weak signal messages for channels with known strong signals.
(I realize the weak signal messages for this firmware version were actually generic “Houston, we have a problem, type messages”.)
Video pixelation on channels with known strong signals.
Much slower overall operations via the Roku production (not preview) app.

After switching to vertical position…
Zero weak signal messages.
Zero video pixelation.
Much faster overal operations via the Roku production (not preview) app.

@Radojevic - It sounds like your Tablo is still operating within normal parameters.

The errors you were seeing were likely due to firmware and not heat.

I respectfully disagree.
I read the normal operating temperatures for the Tablo unit, and understand it should be fine, however…

I was using the same version of firmwares for the Tablo and Roku for several weeks.
The only difference was changing the Tablo from horizontal standing to vertical.

Every day the Tablo was in the horizontal position, I had the problems I mentioned.
Every day the Tablo was in the vertical position, no problems.

We’ve just released a new firmware today with fixes for the weak signal issue. If you’d like, give it a shot again at horizontal.

Thank you, but no.

While I did update to the new Tablo firmware v2.1.30 this morning, I believe my issues were heat related.
And, even if the new firmware lowers the operating temperature by itself, setting the unit on its side lowers the operating temperature by an additional 20F, which is a good thing.

I will continue to monitor my vertical standing Tablo’s temperature with this new firmware version, though.

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One other thing… Did you by chance have your hard drive or something else stacked on top of Tablo? If so, that could lead to too much heat.

I 'borrowed" a few black lego bricks from my daughter and used them to lift up the Tablo (in the horizontal position) by positing them right at the 'left" and “right” edge of the enclosure. I noticed that the extra air flow helps to reduce the enclosure temperature (and therefore the inside temperature) a bit.


All those problems you describe I had as well while mine was placed vertically since day 1.

It was working great until 2.1.28 but it seems most my problems that came with that FW are now solved. More time needed to tell for sure.

The “weak signal” issue could have been firmware related, as many reported it. However, the video pixelation has only ever occurred for myself and many others due to poor OTA signal. OTA signal can vary with weather, etc.

It may just be a coincidence that turning it vertical fixed it. But then again, others have reported overheating issues too, but nothing has every been reproducible. With that, I run my Tablo vertically. I have never had any issues.

No, nothing was stacked on the Tablo, and several inches of free space around it.

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I realize it’s difficult to pin down the exact cause of video pixelation due to several variable factors.
However, I have one OTA antenna split to go to my Tablo, and my TV.
The video pixelation occurred via the Tablo, but the TV, same antenna, exhibited none.

The video pixilation was not limited to the weakest signal channels, either.
It occurred on the strongest signal channels, as much as any others.
Basically, it occurred on any channel I was watching at the time.
This didn’t occur just one or two days.
It occurred every day for 3 weeks.
Clear weather, day, night…

My Tablo is sitting on its side (vertical) for 2 weeks now, and has experienced zero problems.
By the way, my Roku has not rebooted once since the Tablo has been on its side.

Some Tablos may be fine sitting horizontally.
Others, like mine, fair better sitting vertically.

Remember, factory approved unit operating temperatures don’t guarantee your unit will function properly within that temperature range.
It just means it should.
Mine doesn’t, so I make sure my unit operates at a lower temperature, and it works great now.

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I have to agree with the vertical placement. My unit was placed on top of another metal box (rogers PVR).
I think the problem is that you don’t really know how hot it is in each particular setup.

I was going to return the unit until i tried it and now i canceled cable.

Vertical placement seems unstable for me. Will placing it bottom side up works the same as vertical placement?

If that’s too unstable and you’re actually that concerned about heat then get a USB laptop cooling fan and put the Tablo on that. They’re cheap, about $10 on Amazon.

@theuser86, thanks for the suggestion, but wouldn’t that the fan be running 24/7?

I just want to know if there is any problem placing the Tablo bottom side up and achieve the same level of heat dissipation as if placing it vertically.

I haven’t tried placing my Tablo upsidedown horizontally, but I doubt the heat dissipation would be better that way.
I have mine on its side, vertically, and that definitely dissipates heat by around 10F - 15F, verified with an infrared thermometer.

Vertically maximizes contact of the box surface area with the air. If you’re doing upside down, might as well leave it right side up.

While I keep mine vertical (which does seem to help with heat), I think turning it upside down would help as well. It would prevent the heat from the heatsink being trapped below the unit,and allow it to freely dissipate upwards.

True. But maximum passive cooling is probably what he/she wants.

@ChrisFix, exactly my point. Right side up horizontal would trap the heat whereas up side down horizontal would freely dissipate the heat.

@theuser86, so you think vertical placement would dissipate heat better then up side down horizontal?