Looking for information on Tablo

Hello I want to join the cord cutters and am looking for a great OTA PVR. I think I am looking at getting the Tablo 4 channel unit.

I have a question.

  1. What is the maximum storage capacity of the external hard drive that I can connect to it?
  2. What format does the hard drive have to be formatted to? I have both Macs and Microsoft computers.
  3. The reviews on Amazon make it appear that this unit has not been updated since 2014 is that correct? If so is there another 4 tuner model newer then that one?

Thanks for your help Ray

I believe you can use up to 8TB I have a 4TB Seagate
The Tablo will format the hard drive when you start it.
I believe it’s Lenix
I don’t think they have updated the 4 turner but they did the 2 turner I have the 4 turner and it gets firmware updates and it works great. Just make sure you get a good antenna. I live less that 15 miles from the tv towers and I use a RCA antenna it it works fine for me

Use this site to see what kind of antenna you need. It will also show you the channel you can get.


I have the 4 tuner, and Tablo 4 tuner has had various firmware updates over the 3 years I’ve had it. It used to be limited to 2 TB, but I think now it is 8 TB or more. Like @TabloTV wrote, a new firmware us currently in staged rollout. It adds many features that have been asked for over the years. Still waiting to get the latest released version.

Tablo is made in Canada and no problems talking to support, if needed. Only the hours support is open, which is not nights or weekends.

The actual hardware does its job well, so there hasn’t been a push to create a Tablo 2 yet. The only updated hardware is a newer 2 tuner Tablo with a built in storage, but it is still using the same tech as before.

As the others have mentioned, the firmware gets updated several times a year to support more features and better stability. The clients require a lot of development as well, since each client is practically a unique product in itself (Roku, AppleTv, AndroidTv, web, etc).

It doesn’t matter what format the external drive is in, when you connect it, the Tablo will format it accordingly.

On that topic, be aware though, once formatted for Tablo, you ant use it for anything else. Its formatted as Linux Ext4 but its not designed to be able to connect / disconnect / use for other activities / reconnect…

Its designed to be a connect and forget type solution.

The TVfool site still seems to be experiencing problems. I just checked it & it does not list the majority of my channels in the report. It has had this problem for months now.

For the original question, I have had a 4 tuner Tablo for about 1 1/2 years now. As long as you have a good antenna properly positioned, a decent router & you don’t live to far from your local towers, then a Tablo should work well for you. As has been stated already, Tablo gets software upgrades regularly & has good support (just limited support hours). Tablo takes a little getting used to if you are accustomed to traditional Cable/Satellite DVR’s, but it works well as a whole home DVR & has been dependable for me.

I had 2 external HD’s go bad - both within the first 6 months. I suspected it was related to the heat issues Tablo has. The heat dissipation method Tablo employs (a simple heat sink plate) leaves the unit rather warm. I stood mine up on it’s side & haven’t had any further HD’s go bad (approximately one year now).

Will the new rollout include 5.1 stereo output? I see currently this is not available

No it still does not support 5.1

No. It’s about the only often asked for feature that didn"t make it, along with increasing the volume. Read Announcement by @TabloTV

I think that’s a hardware limitation with the OG Tablos, i.e. not something that’s going to magically be implemented in a firmware update.

Tablo previously said it was doable but lots of time for few.

Fair enough, I vaguely remember that now that you mention it.

I guess that may be why the Tablo ENGINE is the solution for people who really need 5.1.

Well the more I look at Tablo and the things it does not have the more I am considering getting the new TiVo Roamio OTA 1TB Digital Video Recorder Black TCD846000. It has 5.1 channel output there is no subscription costs for the guide and has 4 channels and is an all in one unit that I can expand storage on. Too bad I wanted to give the underdog my money.

I’m not trying to knock Tivo for I have never owned a Tivo product, & I too was close to purchasing the Tivo Roamio when I went with Tablo. But to say Tivo has no subscription costs is a little misleading - they simply have their lifetime subscription fee built into the price of the unit.

In a quick price comparison, the Tivo unit you mention is $400 with the lifetime subscription while the Tablo-4 is $250 + $150 for the lifetime subscription thus $400. Now, how many TV’s do you have in your home? For if you want to be able to utilize the Tivo unit on multiple TV’s you will then need to purchase a Tivo Mini unit for each additional TV & at $180 a pop that can add up quickly. Now to be fair, with Tablo you need a streaming device for each TV unless you have a smart TV in which Tablo offers an app. But if you are like many these days you may already own some streaming devices & if not they are much less expensive than the Tivo Mini’s.

Lastly, I know that 5.1 surround sound is a big deal to some but I have found that the shows I record OTA (Sports, Big Bang Theory, Survivor, This is Us, etc.) surround sound is of little consequence.

Also to add to rccolts, the Tablo lifetime subscription can be used for multiple Tablos (not sure on the limit, I think its 5) and it goes by the user.

So should your current Tablo die out of warranty, you only have to replace the box, the lifetime sub is transferable, or if / when you get ready to upgrade to another Tablo model (ie ATSC 3.0), you wont have to pay the $150 again.

But with that said, nothing against the Tivo, it does do some things better. I have steered many of my family members to Tablo but a few I had to point toward Tivo as it really just depends on your user needs. Just trying to make sure you have as much info as possible.

That is a good point by Daniel, I forgot that with Tablo the subscription is tied to the user verses with Tivo it being tied to the unit.

Ultimately, I choose Tablo for its wifi/whole home capabilities among other things. I did not think at the time that I would have any use for Tablo’s remote connection capabilities but I have used it sparingly while traveling in my RV. Thus another Tablo advantage for me. But as Daniel pointed out it is all going to depend on your individual needs.

I only will use the Tivo on one 4K tv. I DO want the 5.1 stereo sound as my sound goes through my Dennon surround sound receiver, all of my audio/video things go through the receiver which is 4K and 7.2 surround sound capable.

As far as using the Tivo in other TVS I can use it on any and every TV in my house if I want to including my 120 inch 3D projection unit in my home theater as I have a HDMI amplified splitter with 8 outputs on it.

I wished the Tablo had the specs I am looking for but unfortunately, it does not. Thanks to all of you for your help here I appreciate it. Ray

Just a clarification for anyone searching and reading in the future, your splitter just allows you to display whatever the TiVo is displaying on any of your TVs, you can’t do separate things on different TVs without the Mini units.

And… “you must use a wired connection (Ethernet or MoCA) to connect your DVR to a TiVo Mini VOX. Wireless networking is not supported.”