Manually add channels

I’ve been a satisfied Tablo gen4 user for around a year. I’ve seen the Roku app improve over that time. Unlike a lot of users here, I’m not having problems with the device.

With that said, I’d like the ability to manually add channels that don’t appear during a rescan.

In my area, Boise ID, I have a channel (22) that very rarely shows up in a scan but I can watch TV on the channel and its sub channels consistently.

When I run the rescan on Tuesday for MeTV Toons, I’ll lose the subchannels of channel 22. That’s unfortunate because they have some old shows that are nice to watch if I have time.

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Don’t save the scan until you get all the channels you want. And I’m not sure most users know the actual radio frequency that a channel or sub-channel exists on.

Zippy,

I do that now. However, for the channel I’m referring to, I haven’t had it show up in the scan for weeks even though the channel works reliably. I’ve tried the channel scan multiple times per day for weeks and channel 22 never appears. I haven’t saved my scan. However, on Tuesday, I’ll have to decide if I want MeTV Toons or retain the channel 22 subchannels.

I realize most people aren’t going to look up the UHF channel on antennaweb.org or rabbitears.info.

However, it would still work as an advanced option. That’s why I posted it as a feature request.

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I would think that if you want to manually set a channel number or sub-channel numbers you would need the RF such as 457 Mhz and the channel slot position on that RF such as slot 3.

Actually, with another cheap DVR that I bought for the signal meter, I can manually enter the VHF or UHF number to select the channel. Obviously, you need to be able to pick up the signal in order for that to work.

I did this when I wanted to see the signal of a channel that I wasn’t picking up.

Try scanning late at night.

I think I’ve done that, but I can try it again. I’m not usually awake much past 11:00 PM so I can’t try a rescan at 2:00 AM.

I’ve tried the different suggestions. Unfortunately, the channel scan still skips a channel/subchannel that consistently works.

I’m hoping that a Tablo staff member can explain why the channel scan can skip a channel that consistently works.

I haven’t saved the channel scan since MeTV Toons hasn’t launched in my city yet.

There are only three reasons why a channel would be skipped during a scan:

  • The channel is too weak or there’s too much interference for the channel to be tuned
  • The channel is coming in too strong or with too much interference for the channel to be tuned
  • The channel is lacking key metadata/identifiers that designate it as a channel that can be viewed/recorded with Tablo

Based on the comment from Tablo support, I think option #3 is the most likely scenario. I have another channel that has a weak signal and it shows up intermittently in the channel scan. When I try to view that channel, it’s very pixelated and not very viewable.

Since the channel says it’s normally best to use an outdoor antenna, I don’t think I’m too close to make it a signal that’s too strong.

The metadata could’ve changed so that it isn’t detected by the Tablo. That’s why I was hoping for a way to manually enter the channel.

I think I’ve confirmed option #3. I plugged in my cheap DVR and every channel except for channel 22 has a channel name (ION Plus, KBOI, etc). For channel 22, and its sub channels, I see something like SD220001. That’s not the correct name since I forgot to write it down. However, I saw it was a name that included the channel number, but no channel names.

Would it be possible to have an advanced option that shows me any signal and lets me decide if I want to use it regardless of whether the correct metadata exists?

The signal strength that I saw on the DVR was in the 80s so I don’t think it’s a weak signal.

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@darwinmac So this seems to be the list of channels available…

Based on what you’ve said previously you can access all but 22.1?

22-01 22.1 480i (w) DD2.0 RealAMV America’s Voice
22-02 22.2 480i (w) DD2.0 STORY Story Television
22-03 22.3 480i (w) DD2.0 H&I Heroes & Icons
22-04 22.4 480i (w) DD2.0 CATCHY Catchy Comedy
22-05 22.5 480i (w) DD2.0 MOVIES Movies!
22-06 22.6 480i (w) DD2.0 START Start TV
22-07 22.7 480i (w) DD2.0 RETRO Retro TV
22-08 22.8 480i (w) DD2.0 ACE ACE TV
22-09 22.9 480i (w) DD2.0 KTSY Audio (KTSY-FM)
22-10 22.10 480i (w) DD2.0 WEATHER WeatherNation

No, I can’t access any of the channels on 22. I just don’t care about 22.1. The channels you listed are correct. Those are the channels I’m trying to access. I’m just only interested in some of the sub channels.

Before I rescanned for MeTV Toons, I could watch programs on channel 22 and its sub channels. However, no channel scan would pick up channel 22 for months. It didn’t matter when I tried the scan.

I can only assume the metadata got screwed up that was sent out by channel 22 so the rescan would never show the channel as a valid TV channel.

@darwinmac Sent you a direct message with a request/some instructions.

@darwinmac - This tidbit was a great clue that led us to heart of the issue.

So your ‘cheap’ DVR likely relies on the guide data and broadcast information that’s supposed to be embedded in every single over-the-air broadcast stream, called PSIP.

While Tablo gets its guide data (the ‘what’s on’) from an internet-based provider, it DOES rely on the basic broadcast information (the ‘what broadcast is this’) during the channel scan.

These broadcasts didn’t contain ANY data at all. They were missing even super basic things like the callsign and virtual channel number, which Tablo expects during a scan.

Because that expected data was missing, Tablo rejected it as ‘not a real channel’.

Your cheap DVR seemed to assign a name/number to the channels to bypass the issue. Your TV wouldn’t care as it just displays whatever signal is sent.

However, because Tablo is more complex and uses that metadata to match guide data and perform other tasks, there isn’t a simple and foolproof way for us to force a workaround.

This tidbit gives a bit of hope though… We’re willing to bet that a few weeks ago the engineers at the station made some tweaks and accidentally omitted providing this basic info in their broadcasts.

Hopefully, with these details, you can drop them a note and ask them to check their encoder settings and make sure that they’re providing that basic PSIP data.

Once it’s been fixed on their end, Tablo should have no problem seeing those stations again in the scan.

I can send them these details. I sent something to them initially, but I’ve never received a response.

Now that I have the situation confirmed, hopefully, the channel will supply the necessary data.

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