My Love/Hate relationship with my new Tablo/Roku setup

Tablo is an amazing idea and they made so many good choices when implementing the idea.

  1. Don’t include the hard drive, keeps the price down and lets each user decide how much storage they need
  2. Make it compatible with everyone’s existing hardware (Roku etc) more cost savings for me and Tablo. I already own four Rokus so this is great!
  3. The setup process was flawless and only took a few minutes.
  4. I love that it works as a whole house DVR.
  5. I am not forced to purchase a subscription (more savings!)
  6. It is a bit slow but that’s not a big deal (I hope they survive to produce a faster version in the future)
  7. In the past I had to split my antenna feed to multiple TV’s, that made the signal weaker. With the Tablo I no longer need to split the antenna feed I have one feed to the Tablo and then Ethernet to all the Roku boxes, it’s perfect!
  8. The Web app works well and basically adds TV to all the computers in the house as a bonus.


I have issues with the Roku functionality.

  1. I have 30 days to evaluate this hardware and they give me a free 30 subscription to their guide service. Since I do not intend to pay for this service in the future I would like to evaluate the hardware without the service. Is there a way to cancel the guide service immediately?

  2. I just want to be able to sit down in front of my TV with my remote and program my DVR to record but I can’t find a way to set a manual recording from my couch. It appears that I am forced to go to my computer to accomplish that task. Am I missing something? Is there a way to set up a manual recording using just my Roku remote?

  3. After selecting a channel how do I go back to the channel menu. The only way I have found is to press the home button which takes me all the way back to the Roku home screen, all I wanted to do was select a different channel.

For 2, isn’t there a menu option called Scheduled? In my iphone mobile app, the Scheduled page has a plus sign that allows you to add a manual recording. I have several LG TV’s and I find the app very slow and cumbersome to setup recordings, so I instead use my iphone. The iphone app is so much faster and easier than the LG app.
For 3, I had the Roku2 for a trial run and I recall being able to hit the back button or left arrow. Not sure I experienced your problem but maybe I didn’t use it enough. I didn’t realize that Roku doesn’t support Tablo Connect so I’ll now be getting Amazon Fire for my remote connections.

  1. You should be able to simulate much of what it is like without a subscription by ignoring all the listings tabs (like Prime Time, TV shows, Sports, etc) and always using manual recordings. Note that Tablo Connect will not be available without a subscription.

  2. Unfortunately, the Roku cannot set up manual recordings yet. You will need to use a web based device (computer, phone) to do so. I believe FireTv and AndroidTV set top boxes do have that functionality, but someone correct me if I am wrong.

  3. It depends on how you selected the channel. If you hit the ok button on the show, it brings up a menu to Watch or Record. Clicking on Watch starts the show. To get back to the channel guide from there, click the left arrow (top left of remote) twice (the first click goes back to that Watch or Record screen).

If you selected the channel by highlighting it and pressing Play on the remote, you just have to click the left arrow once to get back to the channel guide.

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  1. I’ve used Tablo for over a year and believe that the subscription is totally worth it, especially if you have a dozen of different OTA channels in our area (with hundreds of different shows). The subscription will not only enable you to see the listings in advance but it will also categorize them, making it easier to find what you’re interested in. I’ve paid $150 for a lifetime subscription and never regretted it.

  2. You can absolutely schedule recordings directly from Roku. There actually two ways. First, from Live TV menu, you can click on any listing and select Record. Second, from Guide menu, you can select any show, then Schedule, and then Record. (The second option will probably be less useful, if you don’t have the subscription).
    Because apps for different gadgets (Roku, ipad etc.) are a little different, I personally find it more convenient to browse listings and schedule recordings from my iPad. However, if I need to delete recordings in bulk, it’s more convenient to do it from Roku.

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