HDHomerun Flex 1.0 vs Tablo

I have the Flex 4 channel ATSC 1.0 with a Seagate 2 TB HDD plugged in. Primary viewing is with an Nvidia Shield and a SONY Bravia. Only 48 hours into this but here are my thoughts so far. These devices all have their unique features and it is hard to learn them all quickly since no one supplies operating manuals these days.
However, here are some thoughts.

  1. HDHR is very easy to set up, not so intuitive to use. But play around with the remote and you quickly learn.
  2. Channel scan was easy and I picked up the same channels as Tablo.
  3. HDHR has been solid, no hiccups, no buffering
  4. Surprisingly, HDHR has a much better picture. The Shield 4k emulation seems to work much better on the HDHR.
  5. Fast forward through a recording does not show little thumbnails like Tablo, but HDHR ff is 10sec so it is easy to just punch the button the number of times you think the commercial will last.
  6. I am still trying to understand the rules HDHR uses for recording only “new” episodes of a series. I got some recordings of “old episodes” in the current season.
  7. While I no longer have the FAST channels, I never could record a full show on any of them on Tablo because of problems Tablo could never identify and fix, even with a replacement device. However, many of those FAST channels are available on free streaming services or even on Prime.
  8. I cannot comment on HDHR tech support because I have not needed it yet. I do not have anything but bad experiences with Tablo tech support, seems like they are overwhelmed.
  9. The catalog of recordings on HDHR is not quite as user friendly, nor the guide, but the data is there. I suspect that the cottage industry for improving that, like Channels, grew to support the HDHR before the device could accommodate a simple HDD. You do need to pay $35 per year for the 14 day guide and DVR support. Not a bank breaker…
  10. In short, I am loving HDHR though I really wanted to love Tablo. Tablo has been nothing but an unreliable aggravation.

Thank you for a useful review.
Am I correct that HDHR requires an ethernet connection to the router?

yes but easy for me

Because everything you need can be done in one room (antenna, internet)?

I’m going to give it to you… this is a nice write up. But #3 I don’t have buffering on my Tablo. Besides the server blip we had last night. I don’t have issues with my Tablo.

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Yeah, I have ethernet outlet with Cat 6 cables in every room so I can place an indoor antenna at the “right window”. I live in an apartment, so this works. I have ATT fiber at about 600M. My network is solid but some devices, like Tablo, are problematic. Never got the TIVO stick to be happy, either.

Coming from a network dude… saying “my network is solid” but Tablo and Tivo had issues… dont make sense to me.

edit: I don’t have any problems with any devices on my network… but that doesnt mean I don’t have to tweak my network to accommodate.

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I had brief but inconsequential buffering on OTA channels with Tablo, OTA recordings were fine. But I had significant hiccups, looking like buffering, on FAST channels. Almost all FAST recordings were incomplete and broken into 2 or 3 segments. That made FAST recordings a waste of time and space. I am incapable of understanding how one device works flawlessly and another does not. I had a similar issue with my SONY Bravia when I moved in. Plugged ethernet into the TV and I had buffering with some services. Put a ROKU or now Shield on the front end, HDMI to the TV and everything is flawless. SONY tech did everything they could think of and gave up.

I am not a Network dude but I have had a legion of tech support support people from various equipment suppliers make suggestions, even take control, but none of them could ever fix the problem. My solution has always seemed to be: find the hardware that works.

I’m not even sure how this part is possible. The image you’re getting from the Tablo is a raw, uncompressed image. With the obvious change in compression later if you use your internal drive, the image would be much better on the Tablo. The only way that could be is if the compression on the homer is blurring some of the raw video and making it look smoother – taking away some of the extra detail.

On the other hand, if you’re using the internal drive on your Tablo, I do think that it compresses 480 video to the point it looks like utter crap. This is the only other way I could think that the Tablo has a worse picture, and is the #1 reason I purchased an external drive – one of my favorite old shows looked horrible! With the external in, it’s perfect.

My logistics demand that I have a OTA/DVR device that connects to my antenna in one room, and then connects to the router and TV wirelessly in another room, so HDHR a nonstarter for me.

Looks like Zapperbox can do that, but at a price. Of course it also has ATSC 3 and DRM (but only 2 tuners) for the extra money (a lot more as compared to Tablo). I’d rather wait for the successor of Tablo gen 4.

The AIRTV 2 device is tempting me as an experiment.

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Same for me…

No choice where I put the modem – right by a side room of the apt building – and there’s zero reception in my living room because of it! This is what made the Tablo perfect!

I don’t have a ton of issues, but I use it as a DVR. I don’t watch live TV unless I’m testing for an issue other users have found or for new releases or betas.

In this, the Tablo has exceeded my expectations. But I have so many different types of STBs that I can switch back and forth if there is an issue…

If you are hardwired in with buffering… you are using crappy hardware / crappy chipsets. Or your network isn’t configured properly.

I’m using the same Tablo you are using… but my core network is completely different and configured to the T. No Buffering for me. At all.

I understand the frustration you have with Tablo. But part of that blame is on yourself. if you’re not willing to fix your core issue (you mentioned your network).

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That was definitely a capability that attracted me to Tablo so I see its advantage. If HDHR develops some operational problems and Tablo is able to get its act together, I would switch back. But right now, HDHR seems better for me.

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Yeah that’s why I am looking at a second DVR to back up my Tablo, plus it’s always nice to have another toy :grin:

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Maybe so, but AT&T, nor Tablo, nor SONY could find anything wrong with my network. No indications in the testing they did. Of course, no one was willing to install any logging equipment and look at traces. Perhaps one of those tech support organizations did that in their shop but I got “all clear” signals from them. The only hardware we replaced was to the newest router from AT&T. I kinda get upset when you say “isn’t configured properly”. I am just a user with a bit more knowledge than the average user. What good if this stuff or even internet service, in general, if a network guru is required for an installation?


I was looking to replace 3 single-tuner PVRs… I still have one, but it hasn’t recorded anything in months! I use it more for things I want to save without the extra struggle of ripping the m3u8 from the Tablo…

I purchased three (4th gen) Tablos… I have my frustrations, but 95% of the time it works perfectly! If they continue to work on the back end and our localized capabilities grow, I think that the majority of user complaints would disappear. (ahem: @TabloEngineering – lol)

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What do you do with 3? 3 different antennas? Different locations?

I purchased my first two when they only had the 2-tuners available, about a month apart. #1 is still my main daily recording device and the second was always for overflow or in case I needed those extra tuners.

The 4-tuner became available a day or two after my second 2-tuner was past its return date, but I decided I’d still try out the 4-tuner. I wish it had been available from the get-go so I could have saved some up-front cash!

I have two in different rooms with separate antennas. Because I no longer needed my second 2-tuner, I gave it to my mom and set everything up at her house.

Edit: Many of my issues have come from using older, unsupported external drives. Tons of buffering, fails, split content. Since replacing those with new drives I have the occasional FAST split (certain channels do that no matter what…) but things have improved greatly. (Only one drive is a recommended drive.)

Very interesting. Triggers a thought for me for the future. The ATSC 3.0 tower is on a different side of our building. When there is reliable hardware available for that, I could put an appropriate antenna on that window and connect that hardware to my network. Supposedly 4 TV channels on that tower today. Thanks