Help -- Tablo Affecting My Happy Wife and Happy Life


#42

No, the drive is powered via USB. It’s a USB3 drive, but are the USB ports on the Tablo USB3?


#43

The USB ports on my Tablo Dual are USB2.

My external hard drive is a USB 3 drive. I could not find any spec for its current draw. USB3 devices are able to draw more current from a USB3 port than a USB2 port.

So just to be safe I bought a USB3 Hub with an 8 to 10 inch USB cable and its own AC power supply. It was about $16 or $17.

This may not have anything to do with your problem but may be a hidden issue.


#44

BlueCalcite for what it’s worth, when I cut the cord I decided to go all in and hardwire everything. Since I was getting rid of DirecTV, I had a budget to work with…my target was six months of DirecTV programming (so it would pay for itself six months after cutting the cord). That was my target. I purchased the 4 Tuner Tablo, and three Roku Premier+ clients. I also installed a 1GigE switch to keep the Tablo/Roku load off my ISP router. Add in a surge protector, patch cables and the USB hard drive, and I was still under budget.

You might flinch at the cost of the Roku Premier+ or an AppleTV, but the advantage of hard wiring, especially in keeping the wife happy, can’t be understated. My wife loves the Roku/Tablo set up…probably because my home network is rock solid, with no buffering, pixelating, no screen freezing or restarts etc. The cost of purchasing hard-wire streaming clients (AppleTV and Roku Premier+ and Ulitmate support hard-wire connections) must be contrasted with the recurring cost of cable or satellite.

Good luck!

Note: Sorry to those who saw this picture elsewhere…I thought it was appropriate here.


#45

I agree. Hardwiring your LAN is superior for streaming videos (IMHO). Less of a chance for EM interference to dedicated STB (Roku/Fire/IOS/Android). PS…I like your diagram (seems easy to read for the networkly? challenged). :grinning:


#46

I have no doubt that hardwiring would be better, and, if my house was already wired for it I’m sure I would have invested in the ethernet adapters for the Fire Sticks and gone that route. And running the cable isn’t off the table if I can’t get it to work over WiFi. I just really can’t imagine having to go that route, since it’s just me and my wife in the house, with usually only one stream of anything at a time since we work opposite shifts. Two streams maximum on weekends, with 100 mpbs internet service and a solid home network (I think).

Last night I chose to give the Tablo Preview app a try under my new, lower signal conditions. It gave me no problems watching NBC for an hour until I fell asleep. That was occasionally the case with the Tablo app. The difference is that when I woke up at 3:30 a.m. this morning it was still playing, whereas the Tablo app has been frozen each of the past several nights. Of course, it could have been freezing/stuttering while I was asleep and just recovering from it differently than the Tablo app, but there’s at least a chance that the problem is app related with the new 4k sticks. I’ll keep using the Preview app to see if it’s consistent, and I plan on picking up one of the 2nd generation Fire Sticks tonight after work. I suppose the thing to do is to keep testing the Preview app with the 4k stick on one TV, while testing the Tablo app with the 2nd generation stick on another.


#47

Two words: Jeff Bezos…


#48

BlueCalcite,

You wrote: “I suppose the thing to do is to keep testing the Preview app with the 4k stick on one TV, while testing the Tablo app with the 2nd generation stick on another.”

I agree with you on that tactic. The 2nd part will prove that you are indeed back to the Tablo operation that you enjoyed for 4 months. (Not comparing apples to oranges)

Then maybe you can find FireTV 4K Stick setup options or Tablo setup options which allow you to use the Tablo app as you did for the first 4 months. And you will have the operating FireTV Stick gen 2 to compare with the 4K stick operation.

The Tablo Preview App is certainly getting better, but I still prefer the Tablo App.

I do use ethernet cables instead of WiFi but I have a mostly unfinished basement to run cables through. My daughter’s home does not and we had to find an alternative. But you had no problems using WiFi for 4 months. I would let sleeping dogs lie! LOL


#49

If you don’t ant to run Ethernet in the house, look into power line adapters even moca.

They might be viable options. Power line adapters were in use at my house for about 2 years before I just bit the bullet built my own Ethernet network.


#50

Some pretty frustrating results tonight, but I suppose even those can be informative. I was able to purchase one of the 2nd generation Fire Sticks locally and installed it on the bedroom TV, with the plan to use the Tablo app and see if I wake up in the middle of the night to a frozen picture or not. It was an absolute pain in the butt, first from trying (unsuccessfully) to pair my 4k remote with it. It’s supposed to be compatible, but I gave up and just resorted to using the remote that came with the 2nd gen (I had wanted to keep as many of the parts untouched in the box as possible in the event that I determined that it worked no better than the new 4k version and want to resell it). Anyway, I installed the Tablo app and had absolutely no audio on live TV, neither through my soundbar nor if I activated the TV speakers. I thought it was a Fire Stick problem until I installed Plex and Sling and had sound with those. I then started checking out some Tablo recordings and some of them had sound and some of them didn’t. After pulling my hair out for 30 minutes, eventually, somehow, audio started playing on some channels but not all. 30 minutes later, I had audio on the last channel (Fox), but I still have no audio on a Fox program that was recorded tonight, and I seemingly have no audio on random other recordings (old and new), but others are fine. I then installed the Tablo Preview app and the audio is fine everywhere – live TV and all recordings (that I tried).

While all of this was going on, I was letting live TV play with the Tablo Preview app in the living room on the 4k stick. Any thoughts of the apps being the difference on the 4k stick are gone – over about 4 hours, I wandered into the living room to find the “video cannot be loaded” (or something like that) message at least 3 or 4 times. This was on Fox, not one of my strongest couple of signals (ABC, NBC).

Both Fire Sticks have the newest software (4k = 6.2.5.8; 2nd gen = 5.2.6.8).

My inclination is to abandon any attempts to conclude that the Tablo Preview app is my answer. I don’t like it as well anyway, so this isn’t a heartbreaker for me. My struggles with the audio on the Tablo app on the 2nd generation Fire Stick prevented me spending much time monitoring for freezes, but I’ll know more about that in the morning.

I ordered a USB fan for the Tablo. That’ll arrive tomorrow. I doubt it’s my problem, but it’ll make me feel better to cool the device and rule that out. I also need to dig an old laptop hard drive and 2.5" enclosure out of my basement and investigate whether swapping the hard drive makes a difference. If those don’t help, I could probably invest the $15 in an ethernet adapter for the TV that’s right across the hall from my router and run a 30-foot cable to see if it makes a difference.


#51

Your Fox channel had a 23db fade margin when you ran your test. So I don’t believe any of this was caused by an RF reception problem.

You did not seem to have audio at times even on recordings. That could mean that you have a Tablo issue.

Do you have “Surround Sound” checked in the Tablo App setup? (Not Tablo Preview App) I did not select that option on mine.

Or the problem could that your FireTV stick is sending Dolby Digital to your set and causing a problem.

On my FireTV Stick (2nd gen) menu under Settings there is an option called “Display and Sounds”. In that section my unit has “Dolby Digital Plus” set to “OFF”, and a message on the right says that “HDMI is providing Stereo quality audio”.

I would check these settings and use Stereo for now. (Plex and Sling may be using Stereo by default)

EDIT: I would also switch to another HDMI port on your TV Set.


#52

Some new conclusions to report as of last night:

  1. The 2nd generation Fire Stick fared no better with freezing than the 4k sticks, so I stopped even trying to investigate what was going on with the audio and reinstalled the 4k stick in the bedroom. No more audio problems. I was hoping for this outcome, because I didn’t really want to buy new (old) 2nd generation sticks again for all the TVs after having just upgraded them all.

  2. I placed a USB fan on top of the Tablo to pull the heat away. It’s now much more cool to the touch. Nevertheless, the picture was freezing last night (NBC and FOX). I’m still glad I have the fan.

I located a 120GB laptop hard drive and enclosure. I’ll format it tonight and see if that improves the Tablo behavior tonight/tomorrow. If that doesn’t work, I might move on to contacting Tablo support in hopes that all the troubleshooting that has been done thus far will help expedite a solution from them.


#53

BlueCalcite

Yes, maybe Tablo Support can give you some insight into which device is most likely to be causing these remaining symptoms. And the potential specific problem.

It really would be weird if a hard drive could cause this freezing up of the video while watching Live TV.

I prefer your idea here: “I could probably invest the $15 in an ethernet adapter for the TV that’s right across the hall from my router and run a 30-foot cable to see if it makes a difference.”

I am using one of those adapters with an ethernet cable. If that solved the problem then you could try sending your ethernet data thru your AC power lines.

I was concerned about the heat in the Tablo but fans can leave a lot of dust in equipment. So I have tilted my Tablo Dual up about 45 degrees on one side. (With the RF connector on the low side.) And I installed a AC powered USB3 Hub for my external hard drive. What I notice more than anything is that the RF connector is no longer hot to the touch. (So the tuner is not as hot either.)

Good luck.


#54

Despite recommendations to watch Live TV via the channel button rather than the program button, for the most part we’ve been using the program button. Using the channel button didn’t solve the problem. I tested that extensively, perhaps mostly pre-attenuation, and then I resumed troubleshooting under the conditions that we want to be able to make work, which includes being able to pause Live TV. This is more important to my wife, which necessarily makes it important to me. All that said, I assume, therefore, that the hard drive is being used to pull off that functionality. Is that not the case? For that matter, is it known for sure that the hard drive ISN’T used (in some capacity) to maintain the Live TV stream even if just utilizing the channel button?

I’ll probably wait until contacting Tablo Support before ordering the ethernet adapter. Because of the holiday Monday, it wouldn’t come until Tuesday if I ordered it right now. If Support thinks that the Tablo requires better WiFi than what Plex and Sling are functioning fine on, and which two different apps show as strong, then I can order it this weekend.

I have considered turning the Tablo on its side, or elevating it with some rubber feet. Maybe that would be better than the fan. It also just occurred to me that I have a right-angle adapter on the coax jack, simply because that’s the direction from which my cable naturally wants to approach the back of the Tablo. I doubt there’s a high likelihood that those adapters can cause problems, but perhaps I should remove that from the chain just to make sure (it’s currently Tablo > right-angle adapter > 12 dB pad > 6 dB pad > side-approaching coax cable).


#55

The hard drive is used for both recordings and Live TV. The Tablo temporarily stores the live TV data so that you can pause, rewind and fast forward during the viewing session.

Testing out an Ethernet adaptor sounds like a good test; let us know how that goes. That said, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-844-TABLOTV (822-5688) or send us a ticket with the details. We can take a look at your unit from our end to see if we can provide some insight.


#56

BlueCalcite

Once upon a time I did see one of those right angle F adapters fail, electrically not mechanically. And the Tablo input F connector just gets hotter and hotter with operation. So just to be sure, I would remove that adapter. (Later you can replace it with a new one if you want, but not immediately.)

TabloSupport is indicating that the hard drive is used in Live TV play. You are using high video resolution so you must be using up a lot of hard drive space.

A. Verify that you still have a lot of free hard drive space available.

B. Then run a test by reducing your video resolution to the lowest setting and watch for video freeze ups.

You can try replacing your hard drive, but one of the first things I noticed in this forum was discussions about hard drive compatibility .

Do a cable clean up around your Tablo, router, and around the back of your TV set. (Don’t allow long cables to be laying over top of other cables or devices.) Make sure that all cable connectors are completely seated into the associated plugs or tightened. I just recently saw some erratic behavior in a USB Hub connected to my computer. Doing a cable clean solved that problem.

I wish you could have gone back to the FireTV stick (gen 2). But I understand the frustration of dealing with changes which cause other issues. The Ethernet Adapter might help but only if the Tablo is somehow more demanding of WiFi than Sling coming in over the internet and this setup worked before!

I think that you are very close to calling this a Tablo hardware problem.


#57

I’ll bet half a donut it’s the hard drive. I have had multiple hard drives fail in the years I’ve had Tablo - we work them very, very hard (thousands of recordings). Every time, when the hard drive is replaced, either through unpleasant cloning processes or starting afresh, the problems, which sound almost identical to this thread describes, got solved. At least for a while - some drives have lasted years, others weeks/months. I’ve also had a hard drive cable need replacement.

I admit we’ve also driven a Tablo unit into the ground, with everything working with a replacement unit, but that’s about different symptoms, problems.

I know you said you didn’t have a spare hard drive to test, but I have that half donut waiting (and a microwave zap, I am sure, will revive it) that it is indeed the hard drive. And, yes, live TV playing gets loused up when the drive is bad - it’s the capacity to rewind that is integral to the live/drive relationship.

Here’s the simple way to test this right away: Live TV also works without any hard drive attached, buffering only a little of the program via the Tablo’s small internal memory. In my prior situations, and possibly yours, if you unplug the hard drive entirely (missing any recordings scheduled for the time it is unplugged of course), you may find that live TV plays with no problems at all … and then it’s the hard drive or just possibly the hard drive cable.

Good luck!


#58

I actually didn’t give up on the 2nd Gen Fire Stick because of the audio. I have no (little) doubt that I could have figured that out since it had worked previously. But when it was exhibiting the same freezing behavior, I felt I had learned what I needed to learn, and the audio was a moot point.

Only after I pieced together my “external” hard drive from an old laptop drive and enclosure and watched it go unrecognized by Tablo did I recall the compatibility issues. Sure enough, I Googled and quickly found the statement from Tablo that internal drives in enclosures are absolutely not compatible.

Last night I was using my phone to check the WiFi strength again at all 3 Fire Stick locations and noticed a strange “network” that was as strong or stronger than my own, especially near one 2nd floor corner of the house (the guest room/TV across from the router). It turns out the old Samsung TV of my wife’s was serving as its own access point for connecting any Samsung devices. I doubted that could be causing enough interference to be my problem, but it’s totally unnecessary for me anyway so I disabled it. Nothing changed.

I gave up for the night, retired to bed, and was watching TV (NBC). The settings were at 1080/8 for both Live TV and recording. It started stuttering badly, every minute or two, and I finally decided to reduce it to 720/5. That allowed it to play for at least long enough for me to fall asleep, but when I woke up a few hours later it was frozen. I’ve left it at 720/5 for now.

This morning I was doing my pre-snowstorm grocery shopping at WalMart and decided to look at their hard drive selection. I decided to “borrow” a 2 TB My Passport only after the electronics associate assured me that I could return it, even opened, if it’s not “compatible” with my DVR. No harm in that. I installed and formatted it without issue and began playing Live TV in the guest room and living room (wife, who works nights, still asleep, so bedroom remains untested). It’s been going a couple hours now, and I’ve already had one freeze on the guest room TV (within a half hour of swapping the drives), and just now I stepped away from typing this to discover both TVs having apparently disconnected from the Tablo (black screen, and when I pressed a button on the remote I was on the Fire Stick home screen on both TVs. So not a good start, BUT it’s worth pointing out that, while much of my testing has been done in good weather, it’s currently snowing at the rate of about an inch an hour. That said, both TVs have been tuned to NBC, one of the strongest signals, and Tablo reports no change on any of the signal strengths (all 5 green dots except 3 dots for the one PBS station).

A little bit ago I ran the SpeedTest app on my phone next to each of the 3 Fire Sticks. All 3 times it read close to 110 mpbs down and 10-11 mpbs up (my service is 100/10). I then downloaded a similar speedtest app to all 3 Fire Sticks and tested it that way. First, the TV in the guest room across from the office/router. I was stunned to measure 25 mpbs down. I started thinking maybe there’s something to this WiFi thing, in that the Fire Stick’s WiFi adapter seemingly sucks. I then went downstairs to the living room TV, installed the same app, and the Fire Stick measured 106 mbps down! These two TVs are probably the same distance from the router, with the living room being directly beneath it. So the signal is going through different materials, but ultimately a similar distance. So I went back upstairs to the guest room and ran the test again. This time it measured 36 mpbs down. I have no idea whether I should trust the app or not. I had read good reviews about one by “Ookla”, searched for it via the Fire Stick, clicked on “Ookla Speedtest”, but it ultimately installed an app called “analiti”. So I’m willing to try a different app if anybody knows of one that they trust for the Fire Stick. I’ve ordered the ethernet adapter, but won’t have it until Tuesday. That will certainly be enlightening, if not the solution. If it IS the solution, then I would probably give the powerline adapters a try.

For now, I’ve left the right-angle adapter on the Tablo’s coax input. Once/if I rule out the hard drive, I’ll reconnect the old drive and then try removing the right-angle adapter. I’ll also try it one of these evenings without a hard drive. No big deal missing recordings – they’re not playable anyway with all the freezing. While I’m sure that BOTH hard drives can’t be bad, I suppose there’s any number of components in the hard drive signal path that are worth ruling out (bad USB, etc.). FWIW, yes, I HAVE swapped the USB ports (with the old drive). Whether I’ll have the patience to try both ports with the new one or not…hell, I suppose I might as well since I won’t have that ethernet adapter for three more days.

At some point I’ll also reduce the quality levels to the absolute lowest to see if that makes a difference.


#59

And they both just froze again. This time, hitting the back arrow yielded the message, “There was an unspecified error during the sync process.” I then had to reconnect to the Tablo.

As for cable clutter, I don’t think I have any more than is necessary. See below and let me know if I can improve anything that might be causing problems.


#60

I’m assuming the Fire TV sticks are using wireless-n @ 5GHz.

Try using the Fire TV sticks via wireless-n (802.11n) @ 2.4GHz, and if that doesn’t improve the issue, try via wireless-g (802.11g) @ 2.4GHz.
2.4Ghz signals travel thru walls, floors, and my head better than 5GHz signals do.

Wireless-n @ 2.4GHz maximum transmit thruput is around 150Mbps with my wireless router, but can go even higher on others.
Wireless-g maximum thruput is around 54Mbps, but, cuz it’s a half-duplex protocol with some overhead, the real world maximum transmit thruput is around 24Mbps.

The Tablo at highest quality settings transmits around 10Mbps.
So, you should simultaneously be able to watch Tablo shows from at least 2 TVs at the highest quality settings, even utilizing the slower wireless-g @ 2.4GHz.

Also, a speedtest gives you a performance snapshot, which is useful when the results are poor, cuz then you know something is wrong.
However, good results from a speedtest can give you a false sense of security that everything is fine, but it’s only a snapshot of performance over a few seconds of time.


#61

You wrote: “It turns out the old Samsung TV of my wife’s was serving as its own access point for connecting any Samsung devices. I doubted that could be causing enough interference to be my problem, but it’s totally unnecessary for me anyway so I disabled it. Nothing changed.”

That was a good catch. You have been comparing reception in different rooms. Hope you weren’t using that TV for those tests.

You wrote: “and just now I stepped away from typing this to discover both TVs having apparently disconnected from the Tablo (black screen, and when I pressed a button on the remote I was on the Fire Stick home screen on both TVs.”

I often see the FireTV stick reverting to a black screen, or a screen saver after a program has ended. I see this so often that it is probably designed in and wouldn’t be a sign of a failure.

I thought that you were seeing a still image from program video? (Frozen)

Continue to do all your testing on the strongest Cleveland stations. You don’t want weak station reception during snow fall to complicate what you are seeing.