Frame by Frame FF and Rewind Missing

I’m going to vent a bit and give some background before going into yesterday’s problem.

I purchased my 4 tuner “refurb” tablo towards the end of February, so I’m pretty comfortable with it now. We have a few shows we schedule daily, and for the most part it’s worked as expected, but not without “glitches”.

The first Tablo was returned after the first week because I kept getting the “weak signal” on live and recorded shows. The signal shouldn’t be weak, as all the TVs have excellent signal strength. Tablo support did well and sent out another DVR, and so far that problem has gone away (loose coax port on the returned one).

I’m still running into occasional connection problems from time to time, and missed recordings because of it. This probably has only happened two or three times in the past six weeks, but it’s still annoying; especially for my wife who wasn’t completely on board with me ditching DTV and my “cord cutting” alternatives. To help resolve that issue I reserved the IP addresses for the Tablo, and the Roku2s I’m using in my modem settings, and added the recommended port forwarding settings for remote connections.

So far, so good - no connection problems since, but it’s only been a couple weeks. Now yesterday, my wife and I noticed the “frame by frame” FF and Rewind quit showing up. We could rewind and FF our shows, but the frames wouldn’t appear letting us know when to stop. Why would that happen?

Anyway, to correct this I reset the Roku and it still wouldn’t help, so I rebooted the Tablo by unplugging it and plugging it back in. This worked and now each frame shows for FF and Rewind.

Between the connection problems and now this FF/Rewind issue, my wife is losing patience with Tablo. I’ve owned it for barely six weeks and I’ve had to reboot the thing at least 4 times for various reasons. It’s hard to have much confidence in a product when it starts to misbehave, and the only solution is to “reboot” it.

Is the missing frame by frame FF a fluke? Should I just schedule a weekly reboot with this thing? Will it get better with future software releases?

My setup has two strong OTA roof antennas with a preamp connecting three TVs and the Tablo. I’m running the latest non-beta Tablo version with the latest release and updates for Roku2. My ISP is CenturyLink with a 40/10 MB connection that uses the Actiontec C1000a modem/router that has the Tablo and Roku hard wired in the living room. I have a 1TB Seagate Expansion Portable HD connected to the Tablo.

I like the Tablo/Roku combo, but it has to be reliable for my wife to buy into this setup.

How soon after recording the show were you watching and noticing the missing FF/RW thumbnails? Those thumbnails are not generated until the show has finished recording and there is an extra tuner free to generate them. It usually becomes available pretty quickly afterwards unless all the tuners are busy. Once in a blue moon, I get a show that never generates the thumbnails - I assume that some error occurs and it just gives up and doesn’t generate them. This is a very rare event, though. If it is happening for you on a regular basis after enough time has passed with a free tuner available, then I would check with Tablo support.


Thanks for the reply. Now that you mention it, my wife’s show was still recording while she was watching it. That would explain why she didn’t see the thumbnails. But, my show was recorded last week, and I had to reboot the Tablo to get them to view again. Because I was watching the same recorded episode, I don’t think the recording controlled the decision to allow the thumbnails to display or not.

Could this be a software “bug”? Does Tablo cache a setting to not allow “frame by frame” FF or RW, and it didn’t get cleared until I rebooted it?

Maybe contacting support is what’s needed.

According to support, Ffwd previews not working again, if the thumbnails are not generated for some reason, rebooting by quickly pressing and releasing the blue button will ‘look’ for any programs that did not generate them and try to create them then. If they were not created due to an error, then they won’t be created. Hope that helps.

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@freeFargoMan - This blog post explains how FFWD previews are generated. It should help you to understand when to expect them:

If you’re not seeing previews on the majority of your complete recordings, something else might be going on in which case you should touch base with support.

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Thanks for the link. It really helps me understand better what’s happening.

My wife didn’t see the thumbnails because they hadn’t been generated yet as she was watching the beginning of a show that hadn’t finished recording. I guess if that’s how it has to be, then it’s working as expected.

My missing thumbnails were probably due to an error. Since rebooting did regenerate them for the show I was previously watching, it seems it’s highly likely an error was the cause. The Colbert show is set to record while we’re going to bed, so there should be available tuners for the thumbnail creation process.

I didn’t notice any “bad spots” with the recording after the reboot so everything seemed fine. I’m going to be keeping my eye on this (my wife too, I’m sure). If it happens again, I’ll contact support.

Thanks for the help, and hopefully we can go at least couple months without anymore issues.


My TCL tv has live tv pause/rw/ff with thumbnail preview, so you can see when to stop. No multiple tuners, no antenna or reception problems, no waiting for recording to finish. Tablo’s excuses for not having the thumbnails are all bogus. Plus sometimes there’s no audio.
Had it one day and that’s enough. Back it goes.

So your TV transcodes in realtime (unlike all but the HDMI Tablo models) to a format that can be played back on multiple or it just records MPEG-2? And your TV has an internal splitter? What I’m getting at is you are throwing out multiple issues and making a comparison but it’s not necessarily an apples to apples comparison.

Sounds like Tablo just isn’t the device for you and you have identified the best solution for your use case.

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My point is if everybody else can do it, so can Tablo, if they cared enough to do so. This feature may not be important to you, but it’s a dealbreaker for others. I had high hopes for Tablo as an alternative for Tivo. But you’re right, it’s not for me.

What I’m trying to point out is I’m not sure you understand how Tablo works compared to those other options you are talking about. Most of the other solutions (the HDHomeRun Extend being an exception) are recording raw MPEG-2.

It can be true that the Tablo solution is not for you but also true that trying to compare apples and oranges in most cases just confuses the situation for others.


The network connected Tablo is designed mainly to play live TV and recordings on every possible device, using just one Tablo and one antenna. Because of that, live TV is more limited than some native TV DVRs. It still really shines as a DVR, which is my main use.

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