How a Simple Tablo Purchase Unravelled a Whole New World and Created New Habits

Browsing around in a BestBuy, spotted a Tablo on the shelf, pulled it off and read the box. Looked interesting, the concept was great. So I put the box under my arm, grabbed a mohu antenna and headed to the register.

My plan … slap the Mohu in a window upstairs, screw it into the Tablo and I can get antenna channels up there and in the basement as well! Simple plan, exciting idea. Thinking to myself "Nice cute little gimmick, I can get five or six little antenna channels in any room. Worth 160 bucks, as a novelty if nothing else.

Got home, hooked it up and found my first surprise: Nine channels and they looked great! Second surprise was how beautiful the UI / Interface was and how much better it looked (to my eye) than the Tivo (for cable), and this is where things began to unravel.

Seeing how good these channels looked and how beautiful the Interface, I began wondering how much better it would be if I invested into a quality Antenna. Logged onto Amazon and ordered an Antop AT-400B (with next day delivery), which cost almost as much as the Tablo itself.*

Now I was pulling in 16 stations, they all looked beautiful, SO … wondered how much better this would be, if installed properly on the roof … went to Home Depot the next morning, bought Poles, Brackets, Cabling, Splitters, Line Amplifier and a Coke Zero, SPED HOME.

Spent half the day up on the roof and since I was now doing a proper install, why not do some drilling and lead into the basement (and a bedroom) as well? Went back inside, did a Re-Scan & went to make coffee. Returned to the living room and WOW. 50-PLUS Stations and they looked fantastic.

Did some channel checking and began to discover a whole new world of stations, shows and programs, most of which I’d never seen or heard of. I had no idea there was this much floating around in the open air: Justice TV, Comet (quirky, hilarious), Cozi, Decades, Antenna TV, Laff, Charge, Me TV, Escape, Ion, H&I and so much more.

Realizing how much great programming there was to be harvested, went back to BestBuy to pick up a (One Terabyte) external hard drive, back home and plugged it in. I then set up about twenty or thirty recordings, programs that looked fun and interesting. Logged immediately into my Tablo account, plucked down my credit card number and signed up for DVR services.

After a month or so, I’ve found about ten or twenty new favorite shows, given up cable, put the Tivo in cold storage and learned all about Dick Cavett, Corrupt Crimes, Svengoolie, Glen Campbell, Sonny & Cher, Godzilla, Megallon and Dominique Dunn’s Power Privilege & Justice.

Time to leave well enough alone? No, time to start thinking about a four-tuner Tablo and see where THAT might lead, and how much more to unravel.


Welcome to the club!

Once you get that 4-tuner you’ll probably realize that to watch this amazing quantity of free TV, life would be a lot easier if you didn’t have to fast forward through the commercials.

Which of course means you really need to use Tablo Ripper or any of the other 3rd party tools to get the content off your Tablo and onto your NAS or other device for processing. And one of the easiest ways to process stuff is MCEBuddy.

But then you also have a decent collection of movies on your NAS and realize the family would appreciate a single UI for everything and, wait, Plex pretty much fits the bill for that.

But then, if you are OCD like me you like keeping your Plex TV library clean and tidy after watching things so you research and find a Plex-Cleaner python script that will do that very thing.

My journey started off with a Tablo and an antenna and now I’ve got 4 scheduled tasks overnight doing everything from pulling things off the Tablo to eventually get them to Plex to removing commercials to deleting watched TV shows automatically. :slight_smile:


@nilex Exactly!

I particularly like the part about the Coke Zero. That really brought the story to life for me. :grin:

A word of warning. As you progress further in this adventure, you will quickly realize that 1TB is not nearly enough space to store all the shows. Particularly when you start wanting to keep them around (like people who used to keep shelves and shelves of VHS tapes of every episode of Mork and Mindy).


I agree, I bought a 4 TB in march and it is 50% full. Too much movies / shows, not enough time! :slight_smile:

Tons of kids shows, luckily the feature KEEP X episodes saved me a lot of space!

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You hit the nail on the head, I was one of “those” (and still am). On the VHS front, I’ve got at least five pounds of Starsky & Hutch in the garage. Several pounds of various other TV shows and at least a half a ton of HBO and Encore movies … from when HBO was one movie channel and showed only real movies. Same with the original One-channel Encore, where the very cool (and beautiful) girl would introduce the movie, tell you a little about it and roll it.

Once a year, I have a “Billy Jack” party with a few friends (and daughters), we watch the Billy Jack movie and The Trial of Billy Jack on VHS, have an Intermission in between and barbecue afterward. My kids dress up as Indians for this.


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The Coke Zero was great!

Scary to realize and admit this, but I think I’m walking down that path, RIGHT down that path. I’ll probably end up being one of the first Ten subjects of “Video Hoarders”, if they ever decide to make a reality show of it … and I have Tablo to thank for all of this.

You know you really have a problem though when you are fine with a 1TB drive on the Tablo because you move it all over nightly to your NAS which is backed up to a secondary drive, unlike the Tablo drive. :slight_smile:

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Digitized mine a while back. They now live in my Plex server. :smile:

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Thankful to be so lazy that I’ll probably not get around to that point and place (crossing fingers).

At least digital hoarding is no longer classified as OCD and has it’s own separate classification.

Hoarding disorder is defined as the extensive collection of objects
followed by difficulty discarding them for aesthetic reasons, or because
of an object’s emotional value or consideration of its possible
usefulness in the future

I don’t have any problem with my 1TB drive on the Tablo. The nightly transfer into the media server with 7TB of usable storage (mirrored) works flawlessly and Plex picks up the new shows/movies/episodes just fine.

Well, one problem. At the rate I’m going I will need more storage by Christmas. Might be time for one of those 5 bay NAS systems with a stack of 8TB (or maybe even 10TB) drives. Maybe I’ll get lucky and be able to hold off for the 100TB SSDs that Toshiba started talking about.

See, no problems at all.

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If you haven’t done so yet, you might want to get an old TV capture card and plug the VHS player into it. Then migrate those tapes over to disk before the tapes degrade. You can pay others to do it for you but with five pounds of Starksy & Hutch, it’s going to save a lot of money to do it yourself.

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… and by this time next year, your garage will look like this!


… and when the garage outgrows it’s usefulness, you’ll be migrating your systems to a new, more suitable locale:


… which will last for a good 2-3 years (and another Tablo or two), until you end up here:


By then, you’ll be in the Gigaquads, and beyond any useful suggestions we can give you here. I’ll be on my second Plex server, and inevitably, on the same path. And just to think … we owe it all to Tablo.

How did you get into my garage to take that picture?

I started in the early 2000s with an old tv capture card and converting my VHS tapes (plus recording TV). Digital cable killed the TV recordings until 2 years ago, when I was where you are now.

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I go back a little further, with the Amiga 4000 with “gold digitizer” and Newtek Video Toaster. Cutting edge Capture, by the standards of it’s time. Thought I was going to be a low-budge moviemaker, but those dreams crashed shortly after Amiga’s.


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Is that Gavin Belson and Jack Barker?

Yep. Loved that scene!

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