New Tablo User - Initial Impressions

I got the 4-tuner version of Tablo on Sep. 28 as part of my cord-cutting project. I canceled DirecTV that day. I thought some here might be interested in my initial impressions.

(FWIW, I’ve used DVRs since 2003. Started with DirecTiVO, went to a TWC DVR when I moved, then DirecTV’s DVRs for the past 6 years. I’m familiar with how they work and what features are “standard.” My network is a 600N wireless router, a Wi-Fi extender, and a Roku 2. Streaming Netflix, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, and other services works fine.)

Setting up the Tablo was fairly painless. I connected it directly to my router, went into the web app, scanned for channels, etc. I tried different antenna positions until I found the best place. The guide loaded, I set up some recordings, and checked the Live TV on my computer.

I then went down to the family room where the main TV and Roku box are located. I downloaded the Tablo channel to the Roku and tuned to the NBC Nightly News. The program took 15 seconds to start streaming (having read various forums, I expected this), then went into a loop. Apparently a momentary weak signal sent the Tablo/Roku box into a spin. I made a slight adjustment to the antenna and that fixed the problem.

The next day we sat down to watch a program we recorded. We again had the lag starting up the playback. When we hit a commercial, I fast-forwarded through to the start of the next segment. We were flabbergasted when it took 37 seconds to resume playback! This lag happened every time I fast-forwarded or rewound, and on every recording. Sometimes the lag was only 15 seconds, other times almost one minute.

In addition to this, we had buffering during playback.

I hopped on this and other forums to find some solutions. I downgraded the recording quality to 720p/3Mpbs. I rebooted the Tablo/router/Roku. I unchecked the “Fast Live TV Startup.” While the buffering during playback went away, the excessive lag when resuming after FF or RW remained.

I’m aware of other shortcomings of the Tablo, such as not being able to extend recordings, no surround sound, only a 24-hour guide, etc. SWMBO and I can do without those features for now, but waiting up to a minute after FF/RW is a deal-breaker. Really, playback should take not more than a very few seconds.

I like the concept of the Tablo, but the execution is lacking and needs a great deal of polish. I have no desire to be part of an extended beta test. I’ve ordered DECA adapters to try a hardwired solution to the Roku box. If that doesn’t fix the problem, I’ll avail myself of Amazon’s return policy and go to a Tivo.

1 Like

@danok_1 - You shouldn’t have to wait that long for the playback to resume after a FFWD. Can you pop a note to our support team so they can check things out?

I have only experienced long wait times to resume playing after FF when using my Roku remotely (aka through a VPN since Tablo Connect does not work with the Roku). After the 1-2 minutes of waiting to resume, the playback is smooth, no buffering. Can you directly connect the Roku to the router where the Tablo is connected? Remote any WiFi extenders, network switches, etc.

No, I can’t. There’s no TV at the router’s location, so hooking the Roku to the router would be pointless. Again, everything else streams perfectly well on the Roku, so I’m not sure what doing this would even show.

Networking issues are weird. Just because another app works fine doesn’t mean it can’t happen.

I have no delay / lag in resuming after FF on the Rokus which are on the same local network as the Tablo. When I use a VPN to make the remote Roku be on the same local network I get the delay. This such delay does not exist on other devices such as the FireTV and iPhone when using the VPN.

I hear ya! That’s why I’m getting the DECA adapters so I can see if hardwiring the Roku helps.

As I said in the OP, I like the concept of the Tablo. I can put an antenna where it’s convenient and it can get good reception, regardless of where the TV is. But at a certain point I’ll have to cut my losses.

Just for kicks, this afternoon I played back a recording from Friday and did some FF/RW timings. The longest time from hitting the “Play” button after FF/RW to playback resuming was 47 seconds. The shortest was 9 seconds. Most were in the 15-30 second range. Nothing else was streaming on my LAN.

I then went to PlayStation Vue and played back a program from their “Cloud DVR”. The longest time to resume playback was 4 seconds.

I know…Brussels sprouts to oranges…

I had similar problems initially, which I was able to determine were caused by lots of network interference within my townhouse community. I went direct from the Tablo to the router, from the router to a power line adapter, and from power line adapters to 3 Roku units (replaced one of those with Apple TV). Buffering issues went away. Pretty near perfect now.

Roku’s are the weakest link. My Roku 4 seems to be flawless. I upgraded the cable modem and router, now Roku shows excellent network connection instead of good, but that should not matter for Tablo, but other channels. Roku 4 supports Wireless AC and so does my router.

I setup a Tablo at my friends house and they were experiencing the same issue. Tablo - Hardwired, Roku 3 - Wireless. After some troubleshooting, the weak link was the router. They had just a basic Netgear $40-50 wireless router. I upgraded their router to a dual band, dual core, Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 and now playback after fast forward only takes about 2-3 seconds. Since the new router was dual band, I was also able to isolate the Roku’s on the 5Ghz network and have all other devices (phones, tablets) on the 2.4Ghz.


Thanks all for your input. The DECA adapters arrive today, so I’ll know by this evening if the wireless is the culprit. My gut tells me it probably isn’t, though.

With use of the DECA adapters, you’re going straight to the router where the Tablo is connected? No network switch in line?

I think you may be pleasantly surprised. Wireless N routers are, in general, not great performers - and extenders cut your throughput in half on top of that. I’m betting that getting a wire connection is going to totally change your experience.

I had similar issues with a Roku 3 on the very edge of my wifi network. Hard wiring it through a powerline adapter greatly improved the issue, reducing the time.

Installed the DECAs. Hooked the Roku to the Ethernet and ran some tests, using various recordings. Now I have sub-2-second return to playback. Now I’m going to bump up the recording quality and test all of that.

Where’s the egg-on-face emoji?

Now to try and solve the pixelation on stations that were rock solid a couple of days ago. Most likely the antenna position needs tweaking, but I may have to get a better one.

Still saving > $100/month…that will have to be my mantra.

1 Like

Glad that worked…I had a good feeling it would!!
Antenna position, size, placement…involves a lot more vudoo than networking in my experience…so good luck with that. Also, you’ll be able to get quite a bit of advice on antennas if you want from this community as well.

Yeah, not looking forward to it! Though better antennae than what I currently have are in stock nearby, so I’m hopeful that will be relatively easy. I really want to avoid going up to my attic and trying to install one there (health issues). Thus I want this Tablo to work out. Now I just need to clear up reception issues to have SWMBO acceptance.

she who must be obeyed
You guys are killing me with these acronyms. :wink:

Ha - that’s a new one on us too.

Rumpole of the Bailey referred to his wife as She Who Must Be Obeyed

1 Like