New OTA Tivo vs. Tablo (old thread)

Tivo just announced a $50 Roamio Tivo that is a 4-tuner box with a 500 GB hard drive.  However, it still has the same subscription requirements as all the other Tivos.  Either pay $14.99 a month (required for at least a year or pay an ETF) or buy a lifetime subscription for $499.99.  Lifetime is lifetime of that Tivo only.

Initial cost: Tablo is $299 for 4-tuner plus hard drive ($50-$150).  Tivo OTA is $50.

Subscription cost: Tablo is $4.99 per month / $49.99 per year / $150 lifetime.   Also, the subscription is optional, and it covers every Tablo you ever own.   Tivo is $14.99 per month or lifetime for $499.99.  It is required, and only covers the one box.

Additional equipment: Tablo needs a streaming device to connect to each TV (around $100 each).   Otherwise it can be used on existing tablets/computers/and smartphones.   The Tivo by itself will work on one TV.  For additional TV’s, users have to buy Tivo minis ($99 cost plus $150 lifetime fee each) or more Tivos.  To stream to portable devices, users need a Tivo Stream ($129.99).

Other Tivo benefits: 5.1 surround sound, built in apps (like Netflix and Pandora), robust program guide on TVs, likely better channel switching and possibly better fast motion recording/viewing.  

Now I have never used a Tivo, so those that have should chime in and give their opinion and correct me if I am wrong about anything.  To me, the biggest issue between a Tablo and a Tivo is cost.  If I just wanted to watch tv on a single TV set, I would be swayed by this new lower cost Tivo.  But because I watch programming on two sets, two tablets, and multiple computers, the Tablo gives me a lot more options at a much cheaper price point.  I would like to see the Tablo improve their Roku guide, have quicker channel changing, and get surround sound, but I can live with the limitations for now as it gets better over time.

I don’t think the Tivo is lower cost in the longrun. For a lifetime it’s $550, for a lifetime Tablo is ~$550

I was trying to stress that the Tablo is cheaper overall except as a single device for a TV.  Then the Tivo is somewhat cheaper.

Single TV: Tablo - $299 + hard drive $50-$130 + streaming device $50-$100 + lifetime subscription $150 = $550 - $670
Tivo OTA - $50 + lifetime subscription $499.99 = $550

Update: no lifetime

Roamio has been $200+, where do you see a device (that works without something else required) for $50?  And as some may have implied… that base Tivo setup doesn’t do much, it’s tied to one device and getting it to work with other devices and/or stream over the Internet all costs extra… it gets really expensive…

Here’s the numbers for my setup (2 tvs), striving for functionality parity:


Roamio OTA: $50
Lifetime service: $500
TiVo Mini: $100
Mini lifetime service: $150
TiVo Stream: $130
Total: $930


4-tuner Tablo: $300
HDD: $100
2x Rokus: $200
Lifetime service: $150
Total: $750

The incremental cost of adding a TV is also less with Tablo because you just have to buy another streamer (which could be as low as $30 if you use a Chromecast).  With Tivo, not so much because each extra Mini requires service as well.


It just was announced today.  It won’t be out till September.  Here is one of many articles about it.

(Nice for the article to compare it to the Tablo as well as some other devices :slight_smile: )


Try this:

Oooh I read the CNET article and it says no Lifetime option for the Roamio OTA

In the words of someone I know: “fk that st”.

I can safely say that product is either total crap or they are taking a fairly hefty loss on each one.  I’m not sure I’d trust Tivo for the long run on this particular offering.  Obviously Tivo is trying to get into the market… and at $50, they might just do it.

But how long can you sell at a loss?  And will the device hold up?  And will Tivo pull the product if they don’t see indirect revenue go up significantly?  I guess we’ll all have to wait and see…

What did my mom say… something about “if it seems too good to be true”…

I was reading on Tivo’s website about it, but I think you all are right.  No lifetime subscription.  Even on the Tivo site, it says “plus monthly service”, while the regular Roamio down below says “plus service”.   Not a good deal.
I can safely say that product is either total crap or they are taking a fairly hefty loss on each one. 

Neither. They get their money back from you (and then some) in the perpetual subscription costs or ETF.

It’s the cell phone method.  Cheap cost to get the device, but you pay for it over the subscription lifetime.

maybe this new competition will lower tablo's lifetime subscription to $99

I can safely say that product is either total crap or they are taking a fairly hefty loss on each one. 
Neither. They get their money back from you (and then some) in the perpetual subscription costs or ETF.<br><br></blockquote>

It will still be a loss overall (when all is factored in).  Don’t look for this program to last forever without some change.   I’m banking on my experience when saying this.  Low margin products are ok, and you might get away with zero margin if you have “services”, but this has business disaster written all over it (e.g. HP TouchPad, Microsoft RT).   I’m ok with being wrong… but I don’t think I am, not in this case.

It’s the cell phone method.  Cheap cost to get the device, but you pay for it over the subscription lifetime.

Cellphone works… I mean you’re talking about individual accounts of $100 - 200/mo. and even it you cut that to $80/mo. because of average family size… I think the numbers can work if contracts are 2 years long and there is a high fee for early termination.

Even so, I don’t expect the USA telcos to continue this style either… like T-mobile, they will all make their subsidizing of new phones less and less…  But again, only time will tell. 

(I still think I’ll win this one folks)

Above discussions based upon cost are interesting but is the user experience even comparable?     

Regular TV - I’d take a TiVO any day over Tablo which requires a Roku and takes ~15 seconds just to watch a live channel and the user has no EPG.     How about 1080i deinterlacing, recording management, navigation thru recordings?   We all appreciate development efforts being planned to improve Tablo especially on Roku, but as of today the user experience on a regular TV isn’t even close.     

Steaming to tablet/phones-  Advantage Tablo.   Last time I checked, Tivo stream didn’t support live tv and no android.

@7up I think the TabloTV experience will improve.  Point taken on needing some sort of frontend.  Of course, for me, I assume everyone has done the math and therefore everyone has a Roku
:)  … I also assume everyone has a Plex server :slight_smile:

Seeing the large delays on channel changing from most cable providers, I think it’s bad no matter what.

I use TableTV Live TV to my phone using the browser app (if you know what to do to make the screen big) and it works fine.  I can live without the app.  I had an app for Aereo, but the quality of the Tablo can actually be better if you have the bandwidth.  Aereo seemed to compress to the cloud drive.  With that said, I know I saw compression artifacts with U-verse TV as well.  Obviously not there with OTA… just saying Tablo vid quality seems to be close/same as OTA for me.

Looking forward to the progress to make TabloTV even better.

I would also, hope, that Tablo keeps updating firmware. My Tivo HD is dead as far as updates go, and the streaming outside the house cannot happen even with the stream unless you have a Tivo Premiere or better.