New User, thoughts and impressions

Background Data:
Connection: Wired Ethernet (NVidia Shield x2, 2 PC)
Connection: Wireless AC(Nexus Player, Android Tablets/ etc.)

Experienced w/ WMC
Converting from CATV to OTA

I have been running Tablo for about a week, here are my thoughts…

  1. Tablo as a DVR source: Series recording works great (Still on trial). HDD setup was quite annoying. I went through several combinations of HDD and enclosures before settling on one that works consistently.I tried several different enclosures and HDD’s that, although initally worked, ended up not being reliable or usable on a continuing basis. Several times on initial start of the app, the Tablo failed to tune a live channel, with a popup stating poor signal may be the problem- but is actually USB HDD compatability. I finally gave up on use of any of my large stable of functional HDD’s and enclosures, and bought a Seagate Backup Plus- it works fine.

  2. Tablo as a Live TV source. Initial tuning is horrendously slow compared to my HDHomerun Connect. I had hoped for a single box solution, but that just isn’t where Tablo is at the moment. (I confirmed that I have the most current firmware already.) I really wanted to use the Tablo as a “live channels” source under the Google Live Channels app, maybe sometime in the future…

  3. Tablo hardware interface. 10/100 Ethernet is why Tablo can’t use a NAS as it’s storage… A version with Gigabit Ethernet and a tweak to the SW could resolve this.

  4. Misc items of note: A near perfect solution for me would have the following modifications:
    a) HDMI Input w/ HDCP allowed. This would allow my IPTV source to be consolidated to the overall stream directly for single point of presence. And I would have no issues with this input being only pertinent/ available on the local network and requiring protected path devices per DCTP-IP standards…
    b) Fast start of live tuning (in comparison to the HDHomerun network tuning devices) That is what I am using for live content until Tablo can catch up. If Tablo can at least reach near parity to those I can switch over. Otherwise the other half will not approve…
    c) “Google Live Channels” integration for everything. This is the “got it right” for both source integration and WAF ease of use. Voice search is critical to ease of use, no typing on a remote!

All in all, the solution Tablo has put together is good for the DVR part. I can see potential for more…

2 Likes

Interesting points.

Not sure how you know #3 is the case, but interesting none the less.

100 Mbps is more than fast enough to use a NAS as storage and write 4 simultaneous recording streams from a quad tuner to it.

USB 2.0 will get around 20-25 MB/s max sustained average transfer rate. (fully supported in Tablo)
100Mbps Ethernet typical sustained average transfer rate is 4.7-6 MBps (not supported/ enabled with Tablo)
1000Mbps Ethernet typical sustained average transfer rate of 27 MBps (Not available on CURRENT GENERATION Tablo)

all interfaces will burst higher,
sustained are real world transfer rates, after all overhead

the reason for higher throughput requirement is for UNCOMPRESSED LIVE STREAMS. Tablo can get 4 streams to USB, and supposedly 6 simultaneous (I am assuming multicast, since only 4 tuners) over ethernet.

real bitrate of 1080i MPEG2 is about 18 Mbps (2.25 MBps) without additional compression. a 2-tuner could theoretically handle uncompressed streaming over 10/100 to a NAS.

using a competing device for comparison:
Connect 2 tuner from SD: 10/100 ethernet
Prime 3 Tuner from SD: 1000 ethernet
Ceton 6 tuner: 1000 ethernet

everyone else would use 10/100 for lower costs if it was good enough to handle the load. Thus Tablo uses 10/100 because it was not required for the compressed streams over ethernet as the majority of the load goes over USB to the supported storage medium.

Tablo does not record in the native MPEG2 stream. It records in a compressed format called h.264 video, which is A LOT lower bitrate. Even the Live TV stream is transcoded from MPEG2 to h.264 before it goes over the USB port.

For example the recommended setting is 720p 5 Mbps, which is 72% less than your quoted 18 Mbps.

I haven’t looked at the recorded file formatting - I just knew they saved in HLS. The main point I was trying to make was that 10/100 doesn’t have the same sustained throughput that USB 2 has, whereas Gigabit Ethernet does. If Tablo enables NAS based storage in setup I would be more than happy to test it out.

*And if new HW comes out, H.265/ VP9 would be cool…

I agree H.265 would be cool, but many devices do not support playback of that codec so I don’t see it being adopted any time soon.

although you are correct in H.265 not being currently supported on many, I figure by the time we could get a tuner that does, that answer would be different… (and my Shields already support H.265 :wink:

Very true, but that would be many years down the road. OTA HDTV may be broadcasted in h.264 video natively by then instead of MPEG2.

I just cancelled my Tablo dvr order. I can’t imagine myself watching live TV with 10-12secs delay every time you switch channel.

Yes, it is a DVR first, rather than a channel changer lol

I can’t imagine why people don’t just use the Tablo guide to find out what is on OTA TV, hit the input button on the TV remote and switch over to antenna input to watch live TV. Problem solved . . .

2 Likes

I can’t imagine why people don’t just use the Tablo guide to find out what is on OTA TV, hit the input button on the TV remote and switch over to antenna input to watch live TV. Problem solved . . .

Or just use the TV’s guide. With ATSC, most TVs show a 12 or 24 hour guide native.

1 Like

OK, so how do I access this guide?

On my newer TVs, there’s a guide button on the remote. It really depends on the TV. The info is broadcast in the ATSC data stream, it’s up to the TV to save and display it. I really should have said “most newer TVs”, not “most TVs”.

I merely adapted to surfing on TV tuner which also helps me with comparison for any signal strength/quality issues. Tablo records everything I want recorded for playback later.

Obviously, it’s not intended to be a conventional head unit like DVR w/remote.

If your TV doesn’t have a built-in guide, you can use a guide on your PC, phone or tablet browser. Titan TV is a popular one: http://www.titantv.com/
You can create a free account there, then save your desired channel configuration. With that account, you can then log in from any browser (it’s easier to create your channel lineup from a PC, then pull it up on a tablet browser, for example) and pin a browser window on your tablet for quick reference of what’s on.

1 Like

Cant Imagine:

And I can’t imagine wasting 25% of my TV viewing time watching moronic commercials on live TV.

1 Like

I can’t believe you said that. Well, I agreed that nobody want to watch commercial on TV and I don’t. I hate it! But I want to be able to watch LIVE TV instantly and pause as well…and sort of get a peek of what’s going on and maybe record it too. But I can’t do that with Tablo, because they’re doing double streaming in the background and that delay from viewing Live TV. If you’re the type that don’t give a shit about Live TV and just want to watch whatever you recorded, all good for you. But I do, don’t get me wrong, Tablo is great for everything else…except for Live TV. The delay is unbearable. Forget about channel surfing. I mean even if it’s 5 or 6 secs delay, it is still unacceptable. However, 2 or 3 secs delay is fine with me as in Sling TV, that’s why I am cool with Sling TV. I think Tablo is for people that enjoy and have a lot of TV shows that they need to catch up. It ain’t for me. There are probably a few shows I like. I like everything about Tablo except Live tv. I especially like the ability to watch it with any devices. But without instant Live TV, it ain’t for me.

I have made my decision which DVR I am going to get. It’s…(drum roll…drum roll)…Channel Masters DVR +!!! This DVR is perfect!!! It seems to got everything I wanted. First of all, the channel guide is FREE!! You can’t beat that, and it’s beautiful. Tablo is nice but $5/month? No thanks. And Tivo charging people $15/month just for the guide, that’s insane and I don’t think their guide are that nice. It’s not familiar. The guide of Channel Master is like Dish or other cable providers’ guide. It’s a nice looking guide…the UI is perfect. Second, the picture quality is uncompressed on Channel Master DVR+…so what you get off the air is basically the same, not like Tablo where it is compressed. So when you recorded it and play back, you get absolutely stunning raw videos every time. Third, and this is a “nailed in the coffin” decision for me, it’s got SLING SUPPORT!! This is HUGE!! Now I don’t have to change source just for the sake of watching cable channels.

Check out the Channel Master DVR+ Owners Thread on AVS. They are up to 384 pages at this time - the main reason I took a chance with Tablo over 18 mths ago!!! And I am a happy camper :grinning: http://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/1481183-channel-master-dvr-owners-thread-332.html. But I only use it as a DVR and watch live tv very seldom.

2 Likes