Make it easy to free up a tuner to watch a live show

My wife is used to cable. This idea of there being finite set of tuners is not something she cares about. If I even try to explain tuners to her, she doesn’t want to hear about it: she just wants the thing to work.

But she just got the dreaded “No tuner available” message this morning, and she was at all pleased, and has talked more than once about going to cable because of this problem.

Frankly, she is right.

A DVR needs to work for consumers who don’t want to know about there being a finite set of resources (tuners). It just needs to make things simple.

Here is what I suggest: if a user attempts to watch a live show, and there are no tuners available, a dialog should pop up that asks if the user wants to cancel some current recording so he/she can watch the show.

If the user indicates yes, then the user is shown a list of all current shows being recorded, and can pick one recording to be cancelled. If he/she does that, the selected show is cancelled, and then the user is taken to the show they wanted to watch in the first place.

Yes, this does mean that a current recording might be cancelled, but this is by user choice.
And it clearly automates what a more knowledgeable Tablo user might do. I have done this myself.
I have gone and stopped an active recording so I can watch a different show. But I know how to do this.
My wife does not.

My feature request is to make this free-up-a-tuner process really, really easy.

I actually think this is a critical feature for a DVR, especially one with only two tuners.
This problem has shown up repeatedly at our house, and is a very serious problem in respect to the Tablo experience.



Get your wife her own quad tuner Tablo for watching four shows at once. Women multitask better than men right?

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We wholeheartedly agree.

One of the things we’re hoping to focus on in 2019 is providing more useful and actionable error messages within Tablo apps.

I’ve forwarded your post along to our dev team!

Tell her she’d have the same problem with a dual tuner Cable DVR (not the error messages, but the fact that she can’t record 2 shows and watch a 3rd)!


The problem is the same with 2-tuner or 4-tuner or N-tuner.
If all tuners are occupied, it is not clear to some users what to do.

Of course, it is less likely to happen the more tuners you have, but a 4-tuner can hit the same problem.

Stil, in practice a 4-tuner is better, and I have just bought a 4-tuner Tablo to help reduce (but not eliminate) this problem. So “fixing” this, even partially, was quite expensive: $200. But going back to cable would cost $200 within two months, so it seemed better to shell out $200 and reduce my wife’s frustration.

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I really hope you fix this problem. It may seem simple, but its negative impact is huge.
My wife has brought up going back to cable multiple times because of this problem.

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I hope they fix it too, but it not soon she can pay the cable bill then? Lol

Assuming a hidden tuner isn’t assigned for transcoding for a remote connect and you normally launch live tv from the Live TV menu, aren’t there flashing red on the channels that are recording and thus have a tuner assigned.

And assuming your spouse doesn’t dislike whoever is viewing remotely and only wants to stop recordings couldn’t she be taught how to stop a recording?

As I suggested in another thread.

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hI jimtablotv,

you and I think alike. This is basically where I am trying to go to.
It was expensive. I had to pay out $200 for another Tablo device.
But my plan is to have the dual-tuner reserved for live TV viewing.
And I will NEVER schedule recordings on the dual-tuner.

Meanwhile, I will do all recordings on the 4-tuner.

In this way, I get what I want.

It would be better, however, if Tablo simply allowed a customer to always keep one tuner on a 4-tuner Tablo in reserve. If that was possible, I would always know that there is at least one tuner available for live viewing.
And that would ensure that my wife never sees the dreaded “No Tuner Available” message ever again.

But that is not a supported Tablo feature at present. So my only (and expensive option) is to use the dual-tuner for live TV viewing, and use the 4-tuner for recordings.

I hope Tablo addresses this in the future.

It is possible for a user to learn all kinds of things… but the best devices “just work”.
So yes, my wife could learn this. But she really is not that motivated.
The shows on our previous cable provider just worked, and never had this problem.
(They also caught nearly twice as much each month).

So I really think that this is gross, terrible problem with Tablo and Tablo should fix it.
If Tablo wants its devices to be widely accepted, they should do everything they can to either avoid the dreaded “No Tuner Available” message, or make it possible for customers to release tuners easily whenever this problem occurs.

Most importantly, a consumer should NOT have to have a deep understanding of tuners in order to watch shows.

Anyway, that’s my opinion. The most brilliant technology is often the simplest to use. Tablo has a way to go on this one.

I calculated at least $1200 minimum savings by cutting the cord.
So I figured if I can fix this problem by buying a second Tablo, I am still $1000 ahead in the first year.
And after that, I am right back to saving at least $1,200 a year.

That is basically where I am going. I like your naming scheme and will use it!