New here and evaluating Tablo vs (our existing) TiVo

Recent Cord Cutter.
Current Setup:
(2) Tivo Bolts, (2) Tivo Minis. Outside antenna (Antennas Direct ClearStream4) with preamp.
Antenna coax goes to wiring closet in the basement and is distributed from there.
Whole house wired ethernet.
100Mb internet (cable), with 2Ghz and 5Ghz wireless.
We bought a Roku Streaming Stick+ and subscribed to PhiloTV to get our Viacom fix (HGTV, DIY, FOOD, etc)

I’m looking at waiting for and then buying the Tablo Quad when it becomes available. And then the guide subscription.

#1 Because paying for 2 TiVo annual service plans (the Minis don’t require a plan as they each run off one of the Bolts) is expensive. The last billing for annual service was $162 EACH for the Bolts.
#2 Because when ATSC rolls out, replacing the TiVos will be expensive
#3 Because it will enable me to cut down on the number of devices to which the antenna signal is being distributed. This would cut down on signal loss from distribution.

I think what I want to do is…
1.) Connect the Tablo to the cable router using ethernet. (router is in the living room, Quad would be right next to it.
2.) Add Roku Streaming Sticks to the bedroom and kitchen TVs.
- still considering possibly putting a Roku Ultra in the living room so it’s hard wired and not wireless.
- also looking at Fire Cube for living room for the same reason. Hard wired capability.

In the living room I have a Yamaha AV receiver and Samsung 50", 4K TV. With both the TV and Receiver using ARC, I can pick up the Roku remote, hit the Home button, and it turns on the TV, sets it to the Roku’s HDMI input, and the receiver switches to the correct input because it senses the signal.

1.) Using Tablo, can we pause a program in the living room and then continue watching in the bedroom?
2.) If the Tablo Quad is recording 4 things, I assume we are then restricted to watching one of those 4 things. Correct?
3.) Assuming question 2 is correct, If recording 3 shows, how likely are we to run into an issue where Tablo has encumbered that remaining “free” tuner? Or is that just a matter of having the record settings not set to maxed out quality?
4.) I’m seeing conflicting reports of how long it takes to simply change channels. How long does it take? Are there settings that can improve performance here? Several places cited 15 to 30 seconds. That would be a deal killer for us. But that also sounds like transcode lag.

This will be under heavy scrutiny by the wife. She’s not into having to fiddle with things. It just needs to work. And, of course, I’m the one expected to make that a reality. :slight_smile:

Any and all input on what I’m planning, answers to question, or suggestions for a smooth transition are welcome.




  1. Yes. Whole-home works wonderfully. You don’t even have to “pause”. You can just stop watching it, and wherever you resume watching, it will pick up where you left off
  2. Depends. You can only have four channels tuned at a time. But you can watch recordings from the Tablo while it is recording 4 channels. But this depends on whether you are watching the recording at the recorded bit-rate, as in some cases it needs the tuner “engine” to do the reformatting
  3. Correct. If the Tablo needs to “reformat” the recording to a different bit-rate, it will occupy a tuner
  4. Depends. If you are switching regularly between channels using the Roku, it is quick. But “firing up a tuner” on a new channel does take a few seconds. I am not sure how long the Tablo holds onto a tuner after changing channels, but if you are jumping back and forth (On the Roku, click up-arrow then left-arrow to jump back) frequently enough (NFL games anyone?) it is very quick if the tuner is still running on the “previous” channel. If you want to flip between live shows quickly, just record both of them so it is fast, then delete after watching the shows.

BTW: I recommend hard-wiring your streaming clients where possible. I have three Roku’s hardwired and I never, ever, ever experience buffering. And thanks to a well-installed antenna, I also never, ever get pixelation on OTA streams from the Tablo.

Rock solid network = rock solid streaming.

Good luck!

Call Tivo and ask for a quote for lifetime service. Others have been successful with that. I’ve heard $100.

New OTA Tivos are being sold as no subscription.

The Tivo is significantly more mature and capable than any other DVR out there. Anything else you’d move to, you will sacrifice significant functionality. (Unless you move to a Windows 7 Media Center setup, which you wouldn’t do.)

Yes, it does take a few seconds to convert the mpeg2 OTA signal to mp4.
Rokus can’t play mpeg2, for example, so the conversion is necessary.
Takes around 10 seconds to tune into a channel, unless the channel is already tuned, in which case it’ll take around 1 second.
The Tablo keeps a channel tuned in for I don’t remember how many minutes, so if you go back to it, you can start watching right away.

60 when a tuner is available.

Tablo owner since 12/19/18.

Yes, turn off and resume on another tv. Works perfect!

For us It takes about 10 seconds to change channels. I don’t really mind. The wife doesn’t seem to mind either because everything else works flawlessly like her old dish dvr.

So far Tablo has passed the rigorous wife test with flying colors. :grin:


Where did you find your wife?
The rest of us need to know.

So… I’ve shoved some numbers around. I have 2 TiVo Bolts and the cost to renew the TiVo service on the pair is $328 a year.
If I buy a Quad when they come out, a hard drive, one year of guide subscription (for testing), and a Roku Ultra, it’ll cost me about $400. I’m assuming the Quad will be around the same price as the current 4 tuner Tablo.
That means, if we like the Tablo, when December rolls around (the month when my TiVo service annuals get renewed) if we don’t renew TiVo, I’d be out of pocket about $80. Not bad.
AND… in terms of future proofing… when ATSC 3 starts rolling out, i’d only have one device to replace (the Tablo) instead of having to replace 2 TiVos.

Just found this interesting…

I noticed your awareness of and interest in ATSC 3.0. If you’re looking to maximize your flexibility, perhaps the HD Homerun OTA tuners with their separate Servio DVR would be a better choice.

When the tuner technology changes, you simply change out the tuner(s)–or add new tuners–and keep the DVR running without change.

In addition, the Silicon Dust solution lets you subscribe to, AND record, their premium channels (think cable TV)–all in the one solution.

Depending on your DVR, it’s software and how often it gets upgraded, it’s probably going to be in for a shock when, instead of receiving MPEG-2 video from the tuner, it starts receiving HEVC.

And that WILL be an issue with ATSC 3.0.

So I see a lot of transcoding in our future, until things settle in.

Maybe that is why the plan was for ATSC 1.0 to continue to broadcast for 5 years after the start of formal ATSC 3.0 station conversion. By then most of the answers will be developed and I would hope enough TV and set top boxes replaced that transcoding wouldn’t be needed.

Official converting to ATSC 3.0 probably wouldn’t start until 2020 which I think is the end of repack. The stations currently broadcasting ATSC 3.0 maybe under an FCC experimental proof of concept license. I saw the FCC application(which had a reference link on reddit) from Sinclair and it was a 12 month proof of concept.

I use my Tablo for live viewing on my bedroom TVs via wifi. I use a distribution amp to connect the antenna to both my living TV co-ax connection and the Tablo. This lets me watch live TV with quick channel changes using the DTV grid and gives me menu access to the strength meter on my LG TV. It also gives me TV access in case of a network outage.

Yeah, I have runs to each tv as well. We have 4. Living room, bedroom, kitchen, guest room. Normally we watch the living room tv. Bedroom tv usually only for evening news or morning news. Kitchen tv gets watched if the wife is baking or something. Guest room tv hasn’t even been turned on for weeks.
My plan will be to put a Roku Ultra on the living room tv (Ethernet connected) and move the Roku Streaming Stick to the bedroom.
Living room and bedroom will keep their antenna connections to the respective tv. Kitchen and guest room will go streaming-only. This would put my antenna splits at 3 which is less than I have now (5). One to Tablo, and then one to living room tv and one to bedroom tv.

And I think i’m overthinking the channel change lag thing. I’m paying attention to how we actually watch tv and we really don’t channel surf. If we do channel surf, it’s live tv. So we could switch to antenna and surf. Really paying attention to how we watch tv and i’m not sure the channel changing lag would be much of an issue. Although if it went away it would be better :slight_smile:

By nature of being able to stream to so many devices the up front transcoding is likely never going away. But, as you said, you can have a feed directly to the TV for live viewing if you want and there will be zero lag. We watch so little live TV that we haven’t even done that.

And my current understanding is that if we record something and select it to watch it, there is no lag there, correct? Seems like the lag is confined to changing channels while watching live TV.

I wish the Roku remote could change inputs and channels on the TV. I hate to keep buying universal remotes :slight_smile:

Living room TV runs to an AV receiver and with ARC active we just pick up the Roku remote and hit the Home button. TV turns on if it’s off, goes to the HDMI input for the Roku, and the AV receiver senses the active input and switches its inputs accordingly. Switch to TiVo? Hit the Tivo button on the Tivo remote. Switches TV and AV receiver inputs to watch TiVo. Bedroom TV doesn’t have ARC I don’t think. So that won’t work there. I’ll figure that part out I guess

Correct - you delay with watching recordings.

SideClick is your friend.

Brilliant concept, superb execution.

I’d be happy if Roku still made a remote without those useless extra app buttons at the bottom that can’t be remapped.

You mean the multi-million dollar buttons on the Roku? Yeah… I don’t think those are going to go away.