Improve Remote Access from Hotels and other normal networks

I have made two trips since starting with Tablo and have had little success with remote access. I have recordings and live TV set to the recommended values and I have my Tablo connected to my router via ethernet cable. Tablo support has looked at my home configuration (network, hard drive, etc) and says they are ok. But yet when I watch remotely I get a lot of buffering (no matter if i set remote access to “Full Resolution” or any other resolution from worst to best). I assume that the hotel wifi isn’t good enough, but I’m staying at first rate business hotels and they have pretty good internet, so while Tablo might be working as designed, it’s not working for me. I believe that the issue is that Full Resolution challenges the hotels wifi and converting my recordings to lower resolution on the fly challenges the Tablo processor.

What I’d like to see is an option where I can tell Tablo to prepare one or more recordings for remote access so that, like thumbnails and commercial skip, that processing is done after the initial recording by an idle processor and the result is stored on my Tablo for when I’m ready to watch it from the hotel (with some appropriate symbol appearing when it is processed like the yellow indicator for commercial skip) That way when I get in in the evening, I can see what shows are ready to stream in my hotel room and not be so frustrated.

I don’t want Tablo wasting processing and storage doing all my shows (although that could be an option), but I think a button like the “protect/unprotect” button would be useful. Even if i have to wait a while before I can stream something, at least the experience won’t be frustrating when it is ready.

How good is your home Internet upload speed?

230 mb/sec download, 11.8 upload

What about on cellular data?
I had a 3G phone until late last year and the constant buffering was awful. No problems since getting a new phone using 4G LTE.
So I’m saying network bandwidth matters. And hotel WiFi, especially"free" WiFi stinks.

I’ll add my remote setting is 1 Mbps. I have not changed since upgrading phones, so not sure how high it can go

I tried my phone as well and it did about the same as the hotel. Cell signals inside hotels are often weak and in any case I don’t have a good way to display my phone onto a TV other than Chromecast which further stresses the wifi. In the absence of Roku support, I use my laptop via HDMI in hotels.

What I’m really asking for as a feature request is to make it so that Tablo customers don’t have to work so hard to get remote access to work. Sure we could all upgrade to 1G home internet and pay $20 night for the best hotel wifi, but it shouldn’t require that. And I think Tablo already has 90% of what is needed. From reading their forums on this, the two choices are to go with Full Resolution remote access, which doesn’t require a lot of processing on the Tablo, but does use bandwidth (assuming you want to record your shows in HD for your usual enjoyment at home), Or Tablo will use processing power to convert to a lower bandwidth for slower networks. When I tried everything from 500KB up to 5MB, I got buffering which I’m assuming was caused by the Tablo processor not keeping up. My request is simply that Tablo provides the ability to allow users to say “I’m traveling, I’d like this list of shows to get a low bandwidth copy made after they are recorded so that I can watch it while I’m away” It might take an hour or three, maybe even over night, but then at least the next day when I want to watch, it has a decent chance of working. Tablo has all that technology in place. It knows how to do post processing of shows (it does it for thumbnails and commercial skip), it knows how to downgrade a recording. It just needs to save the converted file instead of streaming it. And it needs to keep two copies of the file so I can access it remotely and/or what it in HD when I get home.

That is the feature that I’m requesting. Hopefully that makes sense.

Your feature request definitely makes sense, and we get where you’re coming from.

That said, the processing power required isn’t really the constraint here. The Tablo’s #1 priority is transcoding, and it can do that fairly efficiently regardless of whether you’re at home or remote.

The biggest roadblock we run into here is the upload/download speed of both the home network and the remote one. If you still run into buffering issues when selecting the 500KB remote quality, then a low quality version of the original recording likely wouldn’t solve the issue.

Our recommendations in these instances (and we recognize this can be easier said than done) is always to troubleshoot both the upload speed of the home network, and the download speed of the remote one - and of course, picking a remote quality that is suitable.

There are some potential other workarounds that might work in the future (e.g Offline viewing/downloadable recordings) that could solve this, but we don’t have an ETA for those right now. There’s certainly of room for improvement here, and we’re excited to continue working on it.


Practically speaking, this is probably the only way to overcome this. There are just too many places outside the home that offer poor quality connectivity, and both the total size and the bit rate requirements for video make it problematic to deliver real time encoding and streaming of content.

The Dishplayer app solved this problem many years ago. An interface that used the same publicly available APIs that the TabloRipper uses, transferring at whatever rate the network can support, would seem reasonable; hopefully it can get some priority on the feature list.

In the meantime, if your phone is an Android phone you could try the ota2GO app. It allows you to download content from your Tablo to view “off-line”. Not really what the OP is looking for, but it might be a workaround for the time being.

Yes, thanks. I’ll try that next time I’m traveling. At least I can watch the things that are recorded before I leave home.

If you are using a laptop - HDMI - TV there are several 3rd part apps #tablo-apps:third-party-apps-plex tools available to easily export recordings to your PC… then you could watch them on a “big screen”.

Tablo RIpper
SuLa Tablo
Tablo Tools
APL Tablo
…for example

and this dated KB Support article

I understand that network speed is important here, but i’m skeptical that you don’t have an issue converting my 5MB recordings to lower resolution on the fly. Since this is the feature request forum and not problem reporting, I was trying not to get too deep into the specifics of my problem report, but here is some more info: When I got home, I put my Tablo into debug mode and got this from Tablo support "Thank you for placing your Tablo in remote access mode. I was able to log in and it appears as though everything is working as expected. " As for my configuration: My hard drive is the Tablo recommended one. My upload speed at home consistently measures between 11 and 12 MB while the Tablo Considerations page for remote access recommends 5. I could stream Netflix and Peacock shows from my hotel room without issues. Yet I was buffering every few minutes while trying to watch any of my recordings off of Tablo. I tried a number of remote settings from Full to 750KB.

Based on that, I skeptical that my Tablo was cranking out the converted video flawlessly and that the buffering was caused by the Marriott wifi (even at 750KB.) But I’m willing to try to figure it out next time. How specifically do you recommend that I troubleshoot this and pick the right remote quality next time? I’m out of ideas.

Your “recordings” aren’t saved as one big file, needing to be converted to a different resolution.

Tablo has an HTTP web server (lighttpd) and streams transcoded video. It’s not really a processor straining process.

As you’ve noted, there is a lot of frustration with Tablo Connect for various reasons.
Some users have little to no struggles… others seem to have a never-ending-battle.

Maybe it doesn’t strain anything…I just assumed that transforming the video to a lower resolution put some strain on the Tablo given the discussion in Tablo FAQs – Should I Buy a 2-Tuner or 4-Tuner OTA DVR? | Over The Air (OTA) DVR | Tablo where it says that remote viewing consumes a tuner unless it is Full Resolution… but I’m guessing…and i can’t really fix it anyway. The Tablo team has to decide if Remote Viewing needs to be fixed and if so, how they’ll fix it. I’m new to Tablo and have no idea how they sort through feature requests.

There are posting from Tablo telling us, in these context, a tuner is a “processor”.

So it’s using one tuner as though a single user were watching live TV on one channel -having a tuner dedicated to their stream. No extra processing, just cuts the number of recordings or live channel viewers.

Tap on the blue “Featues Requests” at the top. Then sort on top - all time - year - quarter. It’s not scientific but it shows how much each is discussed and for how long… and not “fixed”. I believe it’s more marketing based.