New Tablo painfully slow

Hello everyone,

This weekend was our big cord cutting test. Friday after work I disconnected the cable box, and we relied on the Amazon Fire TV, Tablo and Sling TV for the weekend. It’s Sunday night, and I am currently the most hated man in NE Ohio. :slight_smile: Sling TV was a hot mess this weekend, but the painfully slow Tablo was definitely the main sore spot with the wife and kids. I’ve uploaded a Youtube video to show you what I’m seeing. I need to know if this is typical response time and I have unrealistic expectations, or if there’s something that needs attention on my part.

Some background info:

  • Everything is hardwired. No wifi is involved with any devices for TV.
  • Everything is gigabit ethernet and CAT5e cable. I easily see gigabit speeds if I hook the cable up to a computer and use FTP to transfer a file. I’ve tested the specific run to the TV in this manner.
  • Tablo upgraded to 2.2.2 as soon as I turned it on last week, and still has that firmware.
  • FireTV is up to date, and I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled the Tablo app multiple times (as well as clearing cache, etc. for this app).
  • iPads running on WiFi have very nice performance with the Tablo. We don’t watch much TV on the iPads though.

Below is the link to a Youtube video I posted showing the time from clicking on the app on the FireTV until I can actually start watching a show. It takes about 75 seconds to get to live TV from the first click to start the app. There are two things that seem to take a really long time: from the time I click the app icon on the FireTV until I have a filled in guide is about 33 seconds. After picking a show and actually clicking watch live tv, I wait about 18 seconds while it buffers. Sometimes it gets a bit better after it’s been on a while, but sometimes it’s even longer than what I recorded. If I’m hopping around channels quite a bit, it seems to be ok for a while, but then it will stick and I will be clicking with no response until it becomes responsive again.

Here’s the interesting part. I put the Tablo channel on my Plex server, and that runs just like I’d expect even though I’m accessing Plex on the same FireTV that has the Tablo app installed. Takes about 2 seconds or less to buffer and start playing when I select a show. So when I run through Plex on the FireTV I get very nice performance, but when I run the native Tablo app it pretty much sucks. This leads me to believe the problem lies between the FireTV and the Tablo app for FireTV.

Once it starts playing it plays fine - no buffering or anything like that. I saw a thread on here about 2.2.2 and problems with frequent buffering, but I’m not seeing that. I’m able to rewind and FF without trouble. The initial start up is painful though.

Wife and kids want me to box it up and return it to Amazon. Wife indicated no amount of savings per month was worth the poor performance. I’ve looked through all the settings and really can’t find anything to tweak. I tried it on WiFi for about an hour, but it didn’t improve performance at all.

Appreciate any suggestions or feedback.



One thing you can’t see or hear in the video above, is that once I selected tonight’s episode of Once Upon a Time, I had to click about 5 or 6 times on the “Watch” button before it actually registered my selection and started playing the shown. That problem happens a lot. The remote works fine in every other app, but in the Tablo app it sometimes freezes up and stops responding for several seconds.

As I mentioned, I’ve uninstalled and reinstalled multiple times.



I too am in the same situation where wife is pretty pissed at my “cord cutting pilot”. I haven’t fully cut the cord until i can confirm we can survive :smile:. Sling, amazon, Netflix, all work great, tablo is the weak link. I am fully hard-wired, and have no performance issues anywhere, but Table guide takes 10-20 secs to load (on fire tv), and then i have the “playback error” issue.

hoping they get this resolved…

It’s been mentioned before, but if you press play instead of select, it is one less button click. All those shortcuts were going to be put on the blog when @TabloSupport has time. I’m trying to think of a way to get a screen capture of the help screen that is in the current FireTV Beta and post it. I haven’t checked the web app to see if it is there.

Thanks for the info. I just tried using a different hard drive, but no joy. I guess if the hard drive was the problem it wouldn’t be zippy on the Plex channel. I also realized I used the ethernet cable that came with the Tablo and just assumed it was good, so I swapped it with a known-good cable. Still the same. At least I can rule out those two items. Sounds like this may just be par for the course, which is a real bummer.



That seems pretty normal to me. If the Tablo app hasn’t connected in a while, it wants to load a new guide from scratch. That takes a few seconds as shown in your video. You can save a good bit of time (20 seconds or so) by highlighting the channel you want to watch on the AFTV and then hit “play” instead of select. If you choose select, the Tablo loads a new screen with information so you can select whether you want to set up a recording, set up a series recording, or simply view the live TV stream. Either way, once you select the live TV stream you want to watch there is a hard coded 12 second buffer before the show starts.

I have experienced the same time in loading on my nexus players all hard wired on a gigabit network. I wish there was more caching that occurred to prevent the slow startups.

You should try to set your recording quality to 720p Roku/Chromecast. You can also try to check “activate fast live tv startup”.

Personally Apple TV and Airplay via iPad is the only reliable way I found to use my Tablo, I used a Roku before and my Chromecast don’t really work well anymore since 2.2.2.

I run a coax cable to my main TV so I only use the iPad to watch recordings or when I want to pause a show. The new Apple TV should fix that for me though.

Tablo is a nice product and their customer service is very responsive, I’m confident they will find a solution to their most recent issue, but don’t expect this product to ever be fast at switching channels when you watch live TV, the 10-12 seconds buffering delay when you select a new station is there to stay, there’s a few threads about it.

Stumbled upon this thread while surfing the Forum from the doghouse. Been spending a lot of time out there since the wife has been experiencing the slow live channel startup issues mentioned above. Am I right in assuming that the only ‘fix’ to this issue happens when Tanlo updates their box with better tuners or is this a video coding thing that can’t be ‘fixed’? Or both?

There are several threads that discuss this issue from a technical standpoint. To summarize, it’s the specific encoding scheme and streaming protocol that the Tablo uses to send video packets to a device such as the Roku. It’s not a “push” methodology from the Tablo’s side but a “pull” as the Roku is the one controlling the exchange by requesting the next packet(s). The initial “buffering” period at the beginning is the time this particular protocol needs to segment a video stream into “files” since a video stream is regarded in this scheme as a “tree” of files (not just “blocks”). It’s not just a question of setting up a buffer for time purposes. One of the other threads refers to the Wiki for this industry standard protocol. BTW not all devices use this protocol to receive video packets.

The reason that Netflix and Amazon Video are quicker with the Roku is that their video streams have already been prepped and structured way ahead of time to reflect this protocol and thus don’t need this startup time. The Tablo OTH doesn’t have this luxury as it is recording and displaying a video stream in real time.

This protocol is specific to MP4 video streaming. Other DVRs use the MPG2 format native to OTA transmission (sending to their own devices) and thus don’t transform from MPG2 to MP4 (as the Roku demands). But then they don’t stream to the Roku…

It’s not a tuner issue as the Tablo has one of the best tuners on the market. It’s a question of the protocol exchange between sender (Tablo) and receiver (Roku). The tuner gives the Tablo MPG2 video streams: the external device (Roku) expects MP4 video streams. That is also why a TV is so much quicker in changing channels than the Tablo: its own tuner does not need to do any transformations upon reception. I prefer to use the TV for channel hopping and the Tablo for purely recording splitting the antenna feed into two streams.

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ATSC 3.0 has been looking into making MP4 the native transmission protocol for OTA rather than MPG2. So tuners in the future may well be MP4 based. The implications are…:grimacing: I believe LG has already come out with a prototype ATSC 3.0 tuner based on this spec. Interestingly enough the CEO of Nuvyyo has mentioned ATSC 3.0 in an interview and the implications for the Tablo.

CraigRoyce- thanks for taking the time to explain the issues in such a clear fashion. Does this hold true for Amazon Fire and Apple TV 4 also?

Yes, they both also use HLS. Now Tablo has mentioned in another blog that they might prep the streams by choosing the “next” channel to be viewed and structure it ahead of time so that when the viewer selects it, the HLS structuring will have already been done. This would allow for quicker channel flipping between TWO channels (not all).

It’s also possible in the future that as devices (both sender and receiver, Tablo and Roku) get stronger CPUs (or more “cores”) and more\faster memory that “structuring” period may shrink.

One can hope but the way the Tablo works now is it creates a 10 second buffer of h.264 video before it starts streaming so that 10 second buffer is 10 seconds in real time, no amount of CPU power can allow you to time travel into the future unfortunately.

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Quite a few users have reached a compromise regarding this issue by solely using the Tablo as a recording device and their TV tuner in real time as the viewing one. In any case I prefer this type of setup because re-encoded MP4 even at 1080p does not equal MPG2 at 1080. I can always tell a difference viewing a sports event natively on the TV from one streamed using MP4 at any encoding rate.

To be quite honest, Sherlock Holmes or Downton Abbey OTA from PBS beats both the PBS website through Roku or recorded from the Tablo for picture excellence. I’m going to be subscribing to the NHL hockey package for the first time this winter (Roku) and I’m not quite sure what it will look like streamed as MP4 as opposed to seeing hockey live on NBC (which is magnificent). I’m looking forward to the day when hockey is streamed in 4K and HDR. Are Canadians going to be seeing the NHL anytime soon in 4K?

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