New Cord-Cutter, needing advice

Hi, I am finally tired of paying DirecTV over $120 a month for very little! Have experimented with some Antennae, and I am confident I can get sufficient number of channels, so DVR is next up.

I had ruled out Tablo, until the Apple TV interface came out. Now its there, Tablo is a strong contender!

HOWEVER, there is a big thing that is bothering me. Looking through this board, I am discovering that Surround Sound is not only unavailable, but it looks like not even in the near horizon for this product. I am puzzled by this since the competitors all seem to do it.

Surround Sound is going to be important for me to get spousal acceptance. She likes the music shows (Voice and things like that), and without full-stage sound, those things sound less exciting for sure.

I must say I much prefer the Tablo way of adding my own HD, and streaming through Apple TV, rather than the Tivo way of being stuck with their HD, and needing to use their UI. Having a single consistent UI through Apple TV is high on our list. So, you can see why I am conflicted!

Any words of wisdom from the crowd here?


Surround sound is nice, but I have only one client in my whole home that can take advantage of it. When I really want surround sound (mainly sporting events), I just watch it live through an antenna on that TV.

It is a limitation, and I honestly don’t think it ever will be implemented on this version of the Tablo. I would like the Tablo folks to prove me wrong, but it has been well over two years now with no progress.

I have learned to live with the shortcomings of the Tablo, mainly because it still is a terrific, reliable DVR (at least for me). The flexibility of multiple clients and remote access is something that most DVRs do not have.


I just use a different setting on my AVR. While it isn’t Dolby 5.1, it’s adequate for general TV watching.

I’m a little confused as well. Does anything stream Dolby 5.1? I know that Tivo can do it, but is directly connected to the Television and isn’t a whole house DVR. It seems a little unfair to blame Tablo for something that really isn’t a part of the solution.

Then again, I’m an old school audiophile kind of guy. Music has two channels, left and right. I’ve added a third to handle the low end. I’m happy.

Plex does 5.1 pass-through. HDHR Connect devices have (limited) 5.1 pass-through support on their native app (Grey/ beta app), Kodi has 5.1 pass-through support.
I am pretty sure SlingTV / PS Vue/ Netflix/ Vudu do 5.1 pass-through.

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If surround sound is required, then take Tablo off your list. Simple as that…done…

Depends on your setup. I use Bluetooth speakers with the Apple TV 4 to give that theater sound effect in the media room

Agreed. There is a certain artificiality about 5.1. If you go to a concert (symphonic or rock) the live music comes from one direction (discounting the multiple speaker placements). Stereo gives it space. More than that is gilding the lilly. Yeah I know, I’m a tiny minority. I can live with old time 2 channel.

Thanks, all. You have confirmed what I surmised already from reading this board. The vocal ones don’t seem to care about surround sound, which is probably why Tablo has not bothered. I doubt they are the majority though.

BTW, those who think you can’t stream in 5.1 are completely wrong about it. Netflix, SlingTV, Plex and other apps that I have on the Apple TV stream 5.1 just fine, no issues.

As for “artificiality”, I just don’t get it. Practically every home theater system sold out there has surround sound and has had it for 2 decades now. This is not some “Johny come lately” feature of a home theater system. If you don’t like it, fine, that’s your choice.

Thanks again,

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A lot of OTA viewers here watch the sub-channels more than the main channels and those are stereo so surround sound is less important for them. As well OTA is used for real-time, live events such as sports for which audio is not that significant. A baseball or football game is not enhanced by surround sound. Classic TV shows or films which attract an OTA viewership for recording purposes don’t convey anything extra in terms of audio. So surround sound will not be a significant priority for quite a few OTA viewers.

I tend to watch my recorded Tablo content on my mobile devices and surround sound is a non-factor with these. That is in fact one of the main reasons I got the Tablo - for its distributive capability to mobile devices.

I’ve installed antennas for quite a few senior citizens who want to save money by cutting the cord. In most cases they want OTA for news and documentaries and surround sound is irrelevant for them. Some of them have purchased Tablos at my recommendation and not one thought the lack of surround sound was relevant to them. Even most “reality shows” such as Survivor don’t benefit from surround sound.

You haven’t been around here long, so lets clear up your misconceptions. Surround sound is a much wanted feature by people that post here, and the Tablo folks really wanted to do it when it was first released. But according to the developers, it requires a significant amount of effort (on their side and on their chipset vendor side), time that is better spent on fixing current issues and supporting more platforms.

For those that already own a Tablo, it is just something you accept. For those considering buying a Tablo, you have to ask yourself whether you can live with it or not.


You’re right - that’s my choice. Looks like you’ve made yours. Good luck.

That makes a lot of sense. If chipset support is not built in, it would be very difficult indeed. So, basically, I have to make my decision based on no possibility of 5.1.

Tablo has repeatedly said there is no technology reason for the omision of 5.1. They’ve said many times this is all on their end. And I’ve given them plenty of chances to say otherwise… they assure me it is doable, just haven’t done it yet.

“Tablo has repeatedly said…”

Tablos talk? Did you mean “Nuvyyo has repeatedly said…?” Pronounced “nu-VEE-o” (accent on the second syllable) :pensive:

Although the lack of DD 5.1 pass through is not going to be a factor for me, in my eventual purchase of a Tablo, since I will be able to simulate it with my existing speaker setup, I do politely disagree with this:

A baseball or football game is not enhanced by surround sound.

For me 5.1 sound absolutely does enhance the experience of watching football. Being immersed in the sounds of the game and the crowd is a lot of fun. :slight_smile:

I hope Nuvyyo can implement DD 5.1 in the near future, but the lack of the feature won’t stop me from buying one.

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And this is why I have my antenna split between my Tablo and TV. When I want to watch live TV with great signal and sound, I just tune it with my TV. Yes, the pause feature is lost, but rarely is it ever needed (if you gotta pee, you go during commercials).

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If you are waiting on a robust AppleTV app solution, you may have a wait ahead of you. They announced in January that an app would be coming in Spring. They made that timeframe (barely), but the app is far from feature-rich and robust. I’m hoping that taking 6 months to get a minimal app out the door was just a learning curve and that some useable updates are coming (very) soon. I’ve been waiting to use the AppleTV as a sole input device solution, but in the meantime, I’m still sinking $15/mo for TiVo. I will have to make a hard decision soon whether to keep paying TiVo while I wait for a useful ATV Tablo app, or just go ahead and buy a TiVo with lifetime sub and sell the Tablo. The desired option of course, is to get a useful ATV app soon so I can tell TiVo to pound sand. :slight_smile:

check this out. Apple TV people tend to like this:

That is interesting, thanks.

BTW, just to put an end to this thread that I started, I made the decision that I am not ready to cut the cable yet. However, I went from a $120+ package with DirectTV to a $45 package with Xfinity which gives me everything I need. So, sorry, went over to the dark side. Nothing else works, unfortunately. I will not be monitoring or responding to this thread any longer. Thanks to everyone who contributed.