New User, Kind of Dissapointed

I have been reading these forums for about a year now and I have also read and watched a lot of reviews on the Tablo. I went as far as to add it to my Amazon wish list, but didn’t actually buy until a couple of weeks ago. One thing I’m kicking myself for is waiting to buy when I did. It was $199 on Amazon, dropped to $160 and then went back to $197. I didn’t buy when it dropped to $160 because I honestly thought I had time since Amazon rarely drops the price and then takes it back to almost the original price.

Anyways, I bought it, along with a 1TB WD Elements drive. Right off the bat I was dissappointed. Just a quick background, I’m an RF professional with roughly 15 years of experience behind me. If there is anything I know, it’s antennas, feedline, LNAs and RF in general. I decided to put up a good quality antenna at about 30’ on my tower. The feedline from the antenna to the Tablo is roughly 50’. Initially, I didn’t install an LNA at the base of the antenna, I have a 30dB LNA to install at some point on my tower.

With a standard HD TV, I did a channel scan and was able to pick up about 10-12 channels with decent signal strength. Good enough that I could hold the channel for viewing. Here is one of my complaints with the Tablo, it can only see four of these channels. I question the sensitivity of the receiver in the Tablo. I knew that I was putting all of my eggs in one basket by going to the Tablo, hinging it on the quality/performance of the receiver in the Tablo. So far, I’m not impressed. Yes, I plan to install the LNA right at the antenna to hopefully improve, but I honestly could have just used several TV’s and their built in receivers, along with an amplified distribution amp and came in at less than what I have invested in the Tablo and the WD drive.

Second problem, I’m seeing the buffering problem quite a bit. In fact, last night it was so bad, I got 5 seconds of a live show and then it never showed me anything after that. I finally gave up and went to Hulu to watch something. Very frustrating. Before anyone asks, I am hardwired ethernet to my switch/router and I have a static IP set through the router. I don’t think this will make a difference, since my network doesn’t typically change configuration and all of the devices on the network just have renewed IP leases indefinately.

I read where people complained about the infinite buffering, but I honestly thought that had been solved or at least reduced down to minimum. I understand how the system works. It has to buffer up some live video before it can start streaming. I just think something is wrong or not working quite right to constantly drop into a buffering routine. It’s almost like it gets stuck in a loop.

Not often, but several times I’ve had problems with the Android app not finding the Tablo on my network. In those cases, I’ve checked it back in my server rack to find the blue LED either off or dim. A power reset usually brings it back and available on the network. This is frustrating from a reliability stand point.

I want to like this box! I really want to make it my primary source of TV. I was THIS close to dumping satellite, but now I feel like I need to wait and see if this is really going to be a viable option or if I need to box it up and send it back to Amazon before it’s too late to return. Very frustrating for me.

You may have a bigger buffer problem that what I am about to address but the “buffering loop” issue can often be addressed by going into Settings and unchecking the box on Enable Fast Startup (or words to that effect - don’t have Tablo open right now). That often takes care of loop issue.

There is often some initial fiddling around to get Tablo up and running efficiently but I think you will get there if you are willing to stick with it. You may want to open a Support Ticket - Tablo is pretty responsive.

1 Like

OK, thanks! I’ll check that when I get home. I’m not currently set up for remote access and I just tried to VPN into home to do it through the network and I can’t connect, so that computer might be off. It’s always something :smile:

I would double check your cabling. I have never noticed any difference between Tablo’s ability to tune stations and any of my 3 televisions.

I found that the Tablo tuner picks up channels better than my Samsung TV tuner does. Get a good low noise pre-amp (google Kitztech 200 or others) and you should see better results. I would keep messing with it and you’ll find workarounds. Tablo isn’t perfect, but in time we hope it will be.

1 Like

I have all brand new RG59 ran from the antenna to the Tablo. Installed new connectors.

I already have a good +30dB LNA on hand to install. My point was, my TV is tuning more channels than the Tablo is with my current setup. I would like to think the receiver in the Tablo is at least that good, to perform on par with the TV, prior to any amplification.

I would like to know what the specs are. Around 0.2-0.5 uV (-100-105dB) sensitivity?

I agree. You may want to have support test it.

How long of a cable run of RG59? There quite a lot of signal loss over RG59 over long distances.

Or did you mean RG6 coaxial cable?

1 Like

RG 59 Signal Loss (in dB) per 100 ft:
Loss at 50 MHz: 2.4 dB
Loss at 100 MHz: 3.4 dB
Loss at 400 MHz: 7.0 dB
Loss at 900 MHz: 11.1 dB
Loss at 1000 MHz: 12.0 dB

RG 6 Signal Loss (in dB) per 100 ft:
Loss at 50 MHz: 1.5 dB
Loss at 100 MHz: 2.0 dB
Loss at 400 MHz: 4.3 dB
Loss at 900 MHz: 6.8 dB
Loss at 1000 MHz: 7.0 dB


You’re right, I meant RG6! I was having a conversation with a fellow employee five minutes before about RG59 and that was stuck in my head. I work in a NASA RF lab and we talk coax and hardline every day :smile:


Thanks, I have those numbers, but I’m interested in the average receive sensitivity on the Tablo’s receiver.

Install that pre-amp at the antenna.

The Tablo, both the dual tuner and quad tuner, have an internal 1x4 splitter. This causes signal degradation and thus the Tablo tuner is not as sensitive as your HDTV. It is likely you’re just on the cliff of no return when using it with your HDTV tuner.

1 Like

OK, now we’re getting somewhere! I didn’t realize they were splitting internally. Sounds like it’s passive, causing the attenuation.

Yes, I already have the LNA installed in a NMEA box, with weather glands for the cables. I’m going to install it on my tower about three feet from the antenna. Should really help by NOT amplifying noise at the bottom end.



Yes, the pre-amp should be installed as close as possible to the antenna.

You don’t have it in-line currently just farther from the antenna do you?

Definitely move that LNA to the base of the antenna like you said. Every additional foot from the antenna adds the potential for more noise as I’m sure you know. I’m curious if you tried a scan without the LNA in the system at all? it’s always nice to have a baseline to go by without the risk of adding noise or overpowering signals. It’s tough to compare the TV tuner to the tablo because of that splitter.

I don’t think anyone addressed your buffering issue directly, but based on everything you’ve told us once you get this reception issue resolved the buffering should go away as well. Poor reception or interference will cause this.

1 Like

Yes, you can get what appears to be buffering due to poor OTA signal. What is your front-end for playback, I assume a Roku?

I have NOT installed it yet. I have only done my testing with a TV and the Tablo to compare straight to the antenna. I plan to install it this week, but I need to climb my tower to do it. I already have the LNA mounted in a NMEA box with weather glands for the cables. I’m injecting power from the bottom side, so I can avoid running +12VDC on a separate cable to the LNA.

Yes, I know that I need to get it as close to the antenna as possible. I actually design RF receiver systems in my day job. We’re currently using a lot of RF over fiber. I wish I could implement something like that for my OTA. No-loss link from top to bottom. :smile:

I’m using both a Roku and Chromecast. I have tried streaming right to the Android app, but I prefer to just watch it on the TV.

I have to admit, I love the Roku interface to the Tablo. When it works, I’m sure it’s great to use.

1 Like

If you have any questions, we’d be happy to work with you directly! We can even log in directly to see what kind of SNR your Tablo is detecting on certain frequencies. Just give us a shout :smile: