Is it me, or does this product not work? About to send it back

First, I have contacted support, received one email response, and now they don’t respond.

Initial Problem: constant freezing on play back. Hit pause then resume, Ok for a few seconds, then repeat.

Support wanted me to reduce recording from 5Mbps to 3Mbps. That solved the pausing problem, now almost constant pixelation. Frustratingly unwatchable.

OTA signal direct is perfect. Other apps stream on my WiFi without issues.

Oh, guess I should say App on Amazon Fire Stick.

This does not seem like a mature product. Almost makes going back to cable sound good.


What device are you streaming to? PC, iPad, Roku? I know Roku updates occasionally burp after an update. What firmware version are you on? 2.2.12 is the current.

Sorry, updated to say Amazon Fire Stick.


Pixelation is not an issue with poor WiFi speed. It is caused by poor OTA signal. The Tablo has an internal 1x4 splitter which does result in minimal signal degradation. But if you’re on the digital cliff, this can result in poor signal where you get pixelated video. If you watch your channels on multiple devices, say smartphone, tablet and Fire TV and all have pixelation in the video then this is likely the cause.

Unless you have an amplifier and are too close to the broadcast towers, the converse can be true where a too strong signal can over power the tuners.

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As I said, OTA signal is fine when watching through Tablo or direct from antenna.

I don’t want to argue because I am not technically smart enough, but iT still sounds like a Tablo problem. If the signal is good, and it can’t record and playback Properly, that’s a product problem.

If Live TV looks ok, then it’s probably a hard disk issue. Really slow drives or drives that go to sleep to quick can cause those kinds of issues. Can you try a different drive?

I can try a different drive. But not tonight. I will need to get back tomorrow.

Thanks for the guidance.

A really easy way to determine if it’s the HDD is to disconnect the HDD from the Tablo, then reboot the Tablo.

Without a HDD connected to the Tablo, you can still view Live TV but only using one tuner at a time aka one channel at a time. If the video is totally fine with no HDD then that’s your problem.

Let us know how it goes.

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kvozel, to answer your question from a brand new user, the product does work exactly as advertised. I have a Winegard Flatwave antenna on the back of my house about 22 miles from the towers. I get excellent signal.
My 4 tuner unit is connected to my network via Ethernet. I bought the recommended WD 2TB hard drive.
I can watch live on iPhone, Apple TV and iPad live and recorded with zero issues. So yes, if the signal is good and you have a good WiFi around the house, or Ethernet, it works fine.

I know this does not help your specific issue, but as an average user I can say it really does work.

theuser86… sounds like some good troubleshooting techniques. I’ll try that before a new drive.

Lysander… thanks for the input. Yes, everything else with either WiFi or direct antenna works fine. Seems to be pointing to the hard drive, which is rather new, WD Passport Ultra 1TB. If the Tablo is that sensitive to particular drives, seems to me they should do something about it. Wondering if the Amazon Fire Stick App is not “up to snuff”.

Not a big fan of the fire stick. Not enough horsepower to drive these imo. Try a FTV or Apple TV, Roku, Shield.

One more question. Is the Tablo wired or on WiFi? You can also get playback issues if you have both the Tablo and client device on WiFi. Some routers can’t handle it. The Tablo server works best when wired.

Everything is currently wireless. I could move Tablo to be wired, but that means moving the antenna as well. Not a big deal, just some effort. Maybe I’ll try that tonight since it is easier (and cheaper) than trying a new drive.

Glad the community is helping, I would have expected this from Tablo Support.



I had similar issues for the first 24 hours with my Tablo. In my opinion, significant changes to the initial setup process (firs firmware update and loading the guide) needs to be done.

My tablo wouldn’t even acknowledge my 1TB WD drive until I left it connected for a day.

I also experienced the video playback issues you had. But after leaving the Tablo connected and running for a full day and ignoring it, suddenly it just worked as advertised.

I wad literally minutes from putting it back in the box and returning it for a refund when I noticed it had finally detected the hdd so tried live streaming one more time and it was actually working.

eek, mine worked with the WD 2TB drive immediately during the setup. If Tablo requires a day of ignoring it to work then I am certain many units will be returned and Tablo will be facing a short life. Since your experience seems not to be the general one, Tablo still needs to fix whatever causes these issues for some users to ensure wider acceptance.

If I had your experience I would have tried some troubleshooting, but ultimately would have returned it too. These kinds of devices need to work out of the box as most users are not technical and just want a DVR to watch OTA TV.

On some forums that I frequent TiVo fan boys point to this forum as to why you should not by Tablo and go TiVo instead. I pointed out that Tablo allows me separate the OTA DVR from the TVs. TiVio requires HDMI to a TV. Since my antenna is at the rear of my house for best results and just happens to be near an Ethernet jack, it worked out to be the exact solution I needed.


I agree with your assessment for the single biggest value item of Tablo, shareable across TVs. It just needs to work. Your point of users not being technical is spot on. It needs to work out of the box.

That was my issue initially. The Passport series of drives like to fall asleep on their own. It is part of the power saving tech WD decided to put in their firmware. I went and bought a WD Essentials 2GB drive and beyond a slight USB connector issue it has worked flawlessly.

Just my experience.

This thread may help, Gets a bit technical at times but it does provide some user’s experiences with various drives -

Good to hear. thx

I did some troubleshooting (several hours worth before giving up). I wanted a network attached PVR that I could use on a variety of devices (tablet, tv, computer). I don’t think the TiVo would have worked for me.

While I accept that not everyone had the experience I had, several have, look through forum posts for the past few months. If enough of us complain, maybe they will figure out what is causing this bad initial experience and fix it.

If I didn’t make it clear in my earlier post, I’m happy with my Tablo at this point. It was the first day experience that was so bad, it’s only due to my noticing that the HDD suddenly showed up (when I was about to do a factory reset of the firmware) that saved it from being returned.

I would definitely hard wire the Tablo. I could never get it to work wirelessly, but I used a powerline ethernet adapter and it cleared up everything.