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.