Higher video quality recording option

I’m not real thrilled with the video quality I’m seeing with my tablo.  It appears to be noticeably degraded from the original ATSC signal.  I can toggle between them and it’s pretty obvious.  Not surprising when transcoding from 19.2mbps MPEG-2 down to a highly compressed 5mbps H.264 stream.  I would really like the option to keep the original high bit rate MPEG-2 stream, or at least a higher bit rate H.264 stream of equal quality.  This is particularly an issue for sports.  Ideally it could be selected on a per-recording or series basis.  I’m not worried about the HDD space requirements.  As it is the Tablo is by necessity transcoding the incoming ATSC mpeg stream on the fly so it should be perfectly capable of saving the full stream and then only transcoding to H.264 where needed.  Btw I’m quite certain the quality issues I’m observing are not OTA signal strength related, HDD related, or LAN related (as described in your video quality FAQ), and I’m quite sure I have the LAN and Wi-Fi bandwidth to go well above 5mbps.  So…please add a full original quality recording/playback option.

Thanks.  Prior to Tablo I’ve been using Tivo and Windows Media Center for many years and am otherwise pretty thrilled with the initial Tablo product, apart from minor missing features documented elsewhere.  Nice work!

@danwa - It’s odd that you’re seeing obvious video quality issues even at 1080. What hard drive are you using? 

@danwa - When I setup my Tablo I chose 1080 for the default recording quality.  I’m sure there is some difference between the quality that is broadcast and the quality that is streamed from the Tablo - but honestly I can’t see any difference.  I’m using a wired connection.

I noticed some quality issues when I setup the Tablo to 720P and my Roku to 1080P (i.e. the Roku upconverts), which were not there once I set both to 720P.

@max - There might be some deinterlacing issues going on with the upconverting. 

@Max makes a great point regarding resolution on the Roku matching resolution on the Tablo.  My Roku and Tablo were both set to 1080 and video quality is fine, but if I had problems I wouldn’t have even thought about matching the 2 devices.  @TabloTV - you should do some testing with the Roku and come up with a best practice or something that can be added to the FAQ area.  The Tablo box may inadvertently be blamed if video quality isn’t what it should be, when it may just be a simple setup issue.

Good to know guys - thanks for the info.

@TabloTV - my HDD is a Seagate GoFlex 2TB desktop hard drive with USB 3.0 interface (in USB 2.0 mode).

I’m not using a Roku.  I’m using iPad to Apple TV.  I’ve also tried using Android smartphone to Chromecast via web app but so far have been unable to make this work.  I can watch on the smartphone (Moto X running Kit Kat 4.4.x) just fine but unable to send to Chromecast (no casting icon appears in the web app, even when running the android chrome beta which supposedly supports “casting” from chrome).  Works fine from other chromecast-enabled apps like YouTube.  Would really like an android smartphone to chromecast solution, but that’s a separate topic.

I have tried both 720p and 1080p recording on the Tablo.  The video quality isn’t terrible, it’s just not as good as the original ATSC.  My prior experience with Windows Media Center was that they were indistinguishable.

@danwa - What kind of quality issues are you seeing? There have been some video issues caused by certain desktop hard drives.