Monthly fee required to view Tablo outside of the house / remotely?

I just purchased a Tablo and I don’t want to pay any monthly fees.

I don’t see it explicitly stated anywhere but from what I gather, it appears you have to pay at the least, $5.00 per month in order to connect to your Tablo remotely?

Is this a fact or am I missing something?


Yes, that’s correct.

You need a paid guide subscription to use Tablo Connect.

The $150 lifetime fee is definitely the best value. Pay it once, and it is good for all the Tablos you will ever own.

Here is the official page that explains the difference between having a subscription and not having one.

Hmm… Thanks!!!

Does anybody know of anything similar to Tablo that doesn’t require monthly payments to use?

Hopefully an alternative firmware will pop up for this thing. The hardware is great.


Channelmaster is a dvr solution that dont require a monthly fee for a convenient guide. It’s a one tv solution however.

Had my Tablo for a couple of months and I’m waiting until I see a working native apple tv app to buy a lifetime subscription.

If you’re familiar with Plex, you could use tablo ripper wih it and use Plex for remote viewing, you don’t need an active subscription on your Tablo for that then

There isn’t one that has remote access to recordings / live Tv.

The monthly fee is a small price to pay for the capability you get with Tablo. It’s a lot less than what TiVO charges, but more than Channel Master, which is free. When I was looking at DVRs, I rejected TiVO because of the high monthly fees, and also Channel Master because 1) It only has 2 tuners and I needed 4, and 2) It’s not a whole home DVR solution.

I opted for the annual subscription when I bought my Tablo a year ago, for two reasons. First, it was relatively new, and untested, and it was a way of extending the 30 day free trial. There were also some major issues with Roku last year that have been largely resolved.

Second, technology changes rapidly, and in the world of technology, 3 years is a long time. Who knows whether someone will build a better mousetrap in that time, or if a new broadcast standard will emerge that replaces the current one. So I figured 3 years is the break even point of annual vs. a lifetime subscription. If I guessed wrong, it’s $50/year for me after 3 years rather than free.


I appreciate the fast responses. I e-ailed Tablo support on Friday and haven’t received a confirmation that they received my request.

Yes I’m using Plex (along with the TABLO channel) in addition to the Tablo ripper software.

I just received my four tuner refurbished Tablo from Amazon on Friday (BTW, my refurbished Tablo did not come with a free trial of the guide/DVR/remote access features) so I haven’t really spent much time with the unit.

I’ll take a peek at the Channel Master for a completely free solution and then decide what I want to do.

Thanks again,

The 2-tuner ChannelMaster DVR is $315 (currently at Amazon). Yes, you do not have to pay separately for the guide, but in reality, the guide costs are built into the device cost.

Here is some food for thought:

*The ChannelMaster is only a two tuner unit and thus comes in at $100 more than the 2 tuner Tablo. The ChannelMaster, like the Tablo, does not have built-in hard disk, so that does not account for the higher price. If you just add the $150 lifetime subscription onto the price of the 2-tuner Tablo, you will find that the Tablo is only $50 more expensive than the 2-tuner ChannelMaster (ChannelMaster does not have a 4-tuner equivalent to compare).

*The ChannelMaster must be connected to a TV and can only be used on that one TV (like the standard cable DVR). The Tablo can be viewed on any TV with a streaming box, as well as tablets, phones, and computers. Thus, you get a lot more flexibility for that additional $50.

*The Tablo lifetime subscription applies to all Tablo devices you own or will ever own. We have two 4-tuner Tablos, but only needed to pay the $150 once. So the second Tablo essentially has a free guide - as will any future Tablo we buy should technology change and a newer Tablo come out.

*There is no 4-tuner ChannelMaster. If you need to record/watch more than 2 things at once, you will need two ChannelMasters, which will operate independently of each other. When you buy that second ChannelMaster, the increased price still applies, so you are essentially paying for that guide again.

*ChannelMaster does not offer remote viewing period.

So, basically, when you compare 2-tuner models and you add in the lifetime subscription, the Tablo will cost $50 more, but for that $50 you will get multi-room viewing,viewing on mobile devices and computers, and you will never have to pay for the guide on any other Tablo product you buy. To me, that is $50 well spent. Add to that the ability to pay extra for a 4-tuner model, and the Channelmaster just doesn’t seem like a deal anymore.

If you buy the lifetime subscription, it is not really a monthly cost - just consider it part of the original price. Tablo could have bundled that pricing into its product, but that would force those who don’t want the guide to buy the guide. That also would prevent people from paying monthly for those who don’t think they will keep the Tablo for the 3-year break-even period. Tablo gives you options, Channelmaster just bundles the guide into their unit pricing.

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One option if you do want a free guide and you have computer expertise is to setup a media center PC. We used one before switching to Tablo. However, we dumped WMC because Windows no longer supports it, so it is a dead-end product. Also, Windows switched their guide provider and many users could not get the guide data to load afterwards. I checked on the situation 6 months later and it seemed at the time like the situation had not been completely resolved. I don’t know if things are any better today.

WMC didn’t have remote viewing either, but we used MCEBuddy with Plex to pull recordings off WMC, convert them, and put them into a Plex library and watch remotely using Plex if we chose. Of course, you can do the same thing with Tablo, Tablo Ripper, and Plex, as you already know.

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In addition to the Media Center PC, you can add an EMBY server with WMC to give you some “whole home” and remote options. I tried it and even with a Silver Lake i5 machine, I could not get it to be reliable. You can check it out though.

I also have WMC prior to Tablo, and it was very reliable. There was some issue with the guide data when Microsoft switched vender and I had to reset WMC, but everything has been working fine since. The recordings (WTV files) can also be played directly over the network thru android tablet/STB using MX Player. It’s sad that MS stops supporting WMC in Windows 10, but there are still ways to install WMC on 10.

I wonder if it’s possible to set up a VPN server on the home LAN and then use a VPN client on the remote device so that the Tablo client thinks it’s on the local LAN? Might have a problem with streaming bandwidth in that case…


It is 100% possible to do this, this is what I do to stream remotely using a Roku. It works but of course your home internet needs about a 10 Mbps upload speed to use the 720p 3 Mbps recording quality and stream without any buffering issues.

I was in the same boat as you, my man. Didn’t want to pay any recurring fee. I don’t really consider it “cutting the cord” if you’re paying someone a subscription fee, even if that fee is only $5.

Honestly, I wouldn’t be a Tablo user today if they didn’t have that lifetime option. Just do it on day one.

I was thinking the same as you. That is why I trying Emby for about a year. As a previous TiVo subscriber, (TiVo series 3 HD since 2007), I was done paying the yearly subscription (much less a exorbitant lifetime fee…and you may know that my TiVO HD is a brick now) so I was searching for an alternative. This Lifetime fee is just what I was looking for. So far, (almost a month), I have been very happy and will be signing up for a lifetime subscription ( equal to one year of TiVo) in a few days. I love the idea of Emby, but just could not get it to work, and the Roku app was supremely plain. Tablo has some work to do, but it is ever so close! Close enough, that I am very happy/


Try a Nexus Player or Fire TV, I like the interface better than the Roku.

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Several of us, including me and @theuser86 have had our Tablo over a year. Some maybe two years. It’s come a long way since I got it.