Hot Topic of the day: Tablo 4-Tuner - How warm CAN it get?

HI Gang, 

There's been a lot of questions and discussion on here about the heat coming from the 4-Tuner Tablo units. We wanted to assure you that the heat you're feeling is not going to burn you, damage your furniture, or fry the electronics within your device. 

Check out our blog to find out just how warm Tablo gets and why it's completely normal and safe. 

Just saw this, as I’m a new customer. Checked my Tablo 4 with an infrared therm, and it registers 125 F. It was working pretty hard too when I checked it. That comes to 51 C, which is perfectly acceptable in the world of computing…and yes, the Tablo is a mini computer. I see nothing to worry about. Just DON’T set your hard drive or anything else on top of it. The Tablo can cool itself better, and your hard drive won’t wear out prematurely.

It is a popular misconception that if it runs hot it must be inefficient. It is actually less efficient consuming additional power to implement forced air cooling than it is to properly design equipment to use convection cooling.

A lot quieter too!

Interesting, I find this pretty hot, especially when i touch the metal on the antenna hookup.  Glad to know it is fine.

There are no holes that I can see on the top, so I am unsure how it is cooling by convection, as there is no where for the heat to go up ?

@juched - There are holes near the baseplate. 

I see holes at the bottom, just not at the top for the heat to escape… so the heat just builds up and spills out the bottom I guess.  Not a problem, as I haven’t had any heating issues with my 4 tuner Tablo.

So some personal feedback on this topic.  I had a unit that bricked on me which was replaced.  The original unit that I had was blisteringly hot, as in it was so hot I put it into the garage because I thought it would damage my TV console.  The replacement unit that arrived this weekend is nowhere close to being as hot, night and day difference.  The new unit is slightly warm to the touch, but definitely nothing that could be classed as hot, I would say the unit is no warmer than other AV equipment I have which is perfectly fine.

I still have my 2-tuner standing on it’s side rather than flat, and I haven’t had a lockup since I started doing it months ago.  My first Tablo used to reboot all the time, and it was replaced.

If anyone is having lockup issues, try putting it on it’s side.  I am curious if it helps.

I posted this is a different thread but is is possible for a particular/incompatible hard drive to cause the Tablo to overheat?

@7up We haven’t seen this happen. Some bad drives may cause some nasty behaviour like failed recordings, video corruption and even reboots - but we haven’t seen any devices overheat due to an incompatible hard drive.

@7up - my faulty unit was incredibly hot before I’d even got around to adding a HD to it.  Not saying that it’s not possible/plausible, but definitely not the case in my situation.

I have a Tablo 4-tuner device and measure ~55C when all 4 tuners are fired up. Everything is working perfectly fine but the device is still very hot, in fact too hot to touch the base plate for more than a second.

I'm wondering how you got approval from the appropriate US governmental agencies for something that could be considered a health hazard. I'm sure you guys did everything right but would you mind pointing us users to the regulatory approval document you got? This would be a more satisfactory answer than what I've seen from @TabloSupport so far.


We measured an average operating temperature of the 4-Tuner at ~55C. We know this is pretty warm - but certainly not problematic. This is the issue with heat: it's completely subjective and relative. We mention this on our blog:

In order for the internal temperature of the Tablo to be a danger to its components (or your furniture), it'd have to be nearly twice as hot. There is a spec for 'handheld' devices like phones, tablets, remotes, etc. In terms of a 'tabletop' box like the Tablo, there is no regulatory agency.

snowcat's post: "I still have my 2-tuner standing on it's side rather than flat, and I haven't had a lockup since I started doing it months ago.  My first Tablo used to reboot all the time, and it was replaced. If anyone is having lockup issues, try putting it on it's side.  I am curious if it helps."

I had to open mine up to remove the loose metal plate (read risk of an electrical short circuit) from what I have seen putting the unit on it side will certainly improve convection cooling of the bottom plate, thereby reducing junction temperature of the processor - which it what the goal is. You may even get a mini chimney effect on the inside via the small holes in the recesses which will improve the cooling of the other components not thermally connected to the heat sink. 

Edit. I had to relocate my unit and before doing that decided to do a quick test. Using the IR thermometer I measured the temperature of the bottom and the hottest spot was running at a measured 44 deg C (box was idling). Put it on its side and the temperature dropped to 39 deg C within minutes. It probably would have gone lower but I had a scheduled recording coming up and wanted to finish the setup before that happened. If the temperature of the base plate was higher (like the 55C reported by some) the delta would have been higher. So, if you want to make maximum use of convection mount the unit to an open vertical surface with the bottom facing away from the surface and lots of free air space around it.    

I have moved my antennae and dual tuner tablo to the attic to get better reception and live in MN.  So we can get warm, sometimes hot in the summer.  Very cold in the winter.  Is this a bad idea for tablo?  I know the tablo can run warm, so I’m less concerned about it in the winter unless the tablo’s temp will vary then those variations may cause moisture?  Thoughts?  I wasn’t concerned about it this fall, but I’m having second thoughts going into winter. 

@bkoster - The safe operating temperature for Tablo is like most electronics - between 10-45 C or 50-113 F. 

That doesn’t surprise me.  I’ll have to find another more controlled location for it.  Thank you!

I’m going to use my insanely hot running quad tuner (55+C) as an electric heater for my living room, maybe save some heating cost  ;-)

@alexbunk my dual tuner gets warm, but nothing to be alarmed by.  Though your 4 tuner seems excessively warm/hot!

When I was first testing it I had set it on a carpeted floor in our bedroom.  When I picked it up, it was uncomfortably hot. I set it on a metal trivet and it cooled down considerably… however reception on nearly channel dropped dramatically… some wouldn’t even register anymore. I thought this was odd as I wasn’t changing anything with the antenna.  I removed the trivet and propped the Tablo up on two small blocks of wood.  Reception is back and the air circulating underneath helps keep it cool.

Enjoying the product.