How does Tablo name files saved to external drive?

So right now I have an external hard drive connected to my Tablo to record shows/movies/etc. I want to use a sharing switch to share the external hard drive between the Tablo and my desktop server where I run Plex. Then on Plex, I could add a library pointing to the external hard drive. It would allow me to access recorded content on the external drive through both Tablo and Plex.

My question is, when Tablo downloads content and saves it to the drive, how is the filename saved? I know Plex, for tv shows, at least likes the file to be named by name followed by season and episode numbers, such as:


Is that possible? Or would I have to import the files to my desktop server and then rename them to work with Plex? I was just hoping the process would be effortless.

You need to import the files and convert them to a format Plex can use. Plex can’t use the format stored on the Tablo drive. There are at least four different programs to do the import/conversion. Look in the Third-Party apps forum.

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@FlyingDiver is right, you will need/want something to import the files.

To answer your actual question … The Tablo device formats the drive ext4 (I think it’s ext4, might be ext3 or ext2). So, if you’ve got Plex running on windows that’ll be a problem.

The next challenge is that the Tablo stored the videos in numbered directories (one number per recording) and the recording is divided into segments, each segment is numbered sequentially (like 00001.ts through 25031.ts).

Finally, you may have noticed I put the extension .ts on the numbered files example (above). That is a media container designed for streaming video. It is similar to .mp4 but not close enough to just re-name the files.

So, at the very least concatenating and transcoding to a new container format is needed. Hence, the assortment of tools.

I’ve not seen a usb sharing device that will let you use a hard drive with 2 systems simultaneously, what were you planning on using?

Thank you @eek and @FlyingDiver for your replies. I understand now the issues I’ll face.

I’ll look into third party apps.

As far as ways to combine usb into the desktop server and usb into the media storage device, not sure what I will use. I’ve seen reviews for a number of usb sharing devices.

I don’t know of any USB sharing devices that work for hard drives. They’re all designed for keyboard, mice, or displays.

Just plan on using separate HDDs for the Plex server and Tablo. If your intent is to copy/move most shows to Plex, then you don’t need a very big drive for the Tablo.

What system are you running Plex on? Mine is running on a Mac mini, and I use the SurLaTablo Python script running in a cron job to do the import from Tablo to Plex. Works very well.