Tivo captures the native OTA signal, while the Tablo transcodes the signal, which is why the Tivo is going to have a somewhat better quality image. I honestly can’t tell a difference between native OTA and the Tablo (besides for the delay for transcoding) with the exception of sports on 1080i channels (sports on 720p channels look just as good as native at the highest quality setting). And even then, it is still a decent picture (though some disagree).
The big advantage the Tablo has over Tivo is the ability to use almost any device to stream content (Roku, AppleTv, FireTv, AndroidTv, tablets, phones, computers, and Xbox). With the Tivo, you have to have Tivo set top boxes attached to each TV.
If you haven’t invested in any set top boxes yet and you plan on watching TV almost exclusively on TV sets, Tivo may be a better choice. But if you want flexibility with a small sacrifice in quality and speed in channel changing, the Tablo is a great choice.
I do think investing a good router is going to make your Tablo experience a lot better. I have a high end router (Netgear Nighthawk R8500), and I love it for my 2 story home.
I have Tivo. When the Tablo Quad comes out I’m buying it.
I have 4 TVs on TiVo. You need a TiVo for EACH TV. When comparing, you should take a look at the cost of each TiVo plus the cost of subscription service. Don’t do what I did and try to get the annual service at first and then try to get lifetime service. #1 it’s hard to find anyone at TiVo to help you do that and #2 when you do, they want to charge you full price.
At minimum you’ll need at least one TiVo (like a Bolt OTA) plus 2 TiVo minis. Mine are all hard wired to the network and I can’t for the life of me remember if they do wireless.
The Bolt has 4 tuners. The Minis will talk to the Bolt and each mini will use one of the Bolt’s tuners (when the mini is actively watching anything). So if you’re watching something on 3 TVs, you’ll have one tuner available to record something. I believe a single Tablo would have similar result.
I’m looking at moving away from TiVo due to the cost of renewing annual subscriptions for multiple TiVo Bolts (We have 2 Bolts and 2 minis) at over $300 a year total. (They’re like… $169 each Bolt per year)
The TiVos are nice devices and I’m not terribly unhappy with them, but the cost is a factor.
I have both a TiVo 4 tuner Roamio and a 4 Tuner Tablo and I agree with @snowcat on image quality. If you look very critically, TiVo image quality is better…but for broadcast TV shows, it is not significant, and unless you’re doing a side-by-side comparison, I don’t think you’d know which device you were watching. (I record at the highest quality settings on Tablo and mostly view it on a 70" 4K TV - and it looks very good even at that screen size).
Where the Tablo shines, is in remote access viewing, and multi-TV access via the Tablo app on relatively inexpensive clients like Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, iOS, Android OS, and web browsers. To get DVR functionality at three TVs with TiVo is more expensive upfront and is not as flexible a system in the long run - that is, a TiVo extender is really only good at extending TiVo IMHO…I think a Roku does streaming apps much better than anything in the TiVo ecosystem.
If I were just starting out cord-cutting today, I’d buy the new Tablo 4 tuner with a lifetime subscription when it is released and call it a day. The Tablo has matured into a very stable product and works very well. Many of the feature deficits it had (compared to TiVo) have been addressed in the 4 years I’ve had mine, and when Commercial Skipping becomes available, there won’t be any significant (to me) feature gaps with TiVo, and the overall flexibility of how you can access your recordings on Tablo can’t be matched by any competitor I’m aware of.
I would agree that the Ultra’s are worth the extra few dollars, at least for your main TVs. I like having a Streaming Stick+ for travel purposes though. Roku Ultra’s can be had for about $65 ‘Certified Refurbished’ on Amazon right now. Have seen them on sale for $50 new during big sales.
I too recommend and use the Roku ultra one advantage is having an ethernet port all my device even my smart TV and cameras are all hard wired using switches if they have an ethernet port don’t have to worry of buffering or lost connections.
I have a Streaming Stick+ that I bought to “try out” using streaming in place of some of our cable channels before we cut the cable. The experiment was a success so I moved the streaming stick to the bedroom and bought (and hard wired) the Ultra in the living room. The Ultra is (I believe) controllable using a universal remote like a Harmony where the Streaming Stick+ is wireless and while there may be a way to control it with a phone or something, I’m trying to simplify.
Once I get the Tablo Quad, the only switching we’ll have to do is to switch inputs on the TV for either Live TV (antenna direct to TV) or Roku.
If we’re WATCHING live TV on the antenna directly, the Roku remote will switch the TV to the Roku input just by hitting the home button on the Roku remote. I have ARC set up on the TV and AV receiver and it’s been working flawlessly with auto-sensing the source.
Going from Roku to live TV via antenna-to-tv still requires us to manually switch inputs and grab the tv remote or universal remote. I have a Harmony though and will update it for the new configuration after we have the Quad and remove the TiVos from service.
Oh, do tell. I mean… I have the TiVos installed. The minis have no tuners. They’re basically networked satellites running off a Bolt. They have to be connected to a Bolt (or probably the Roamio … no experience with Roamio) or they get nothing. It’s part of their setup. So before you tell me what I don’t know, be a little more sure of what you DO know.