Newbie Questions: Autoplay/Binge and Other Devices

I am trying to sort through a lot of info on multiple DVRs, playback systems, as well as new AV setups for a guest house. (This is going to be our “fun” area for recreation, with a pool, 4K projection TV, and a guest bedroom.) Normally I’d go through Google and try to find answers but I need a bit of help with the details.

A while back I was evaluating DVRs and thought Tablo looked good and ordered one, but found a major issue: No autoplay or binge watch mode. This may seem like a small detail, but when I’m working, I do best being able to autoplay episodes of what I call “dumb TV.” (That’s mostly old reruns of shows like “The Andy Griffith Show,” “I Dream of Jeannie,” and so on.) It’s a major stress relief for me to have that in the background and I get a lot more done when I can do this. From what I can see, it looks like there has been no progress and I can’t even tell if this is a priority feature on the future roadmap for Tablo.

Can I use a 3rd party app to autoplay what’s on my Tablo? (I’m only recording OTR shows, nothing on cable or satellite.) From what I can see, there are options, like using Plex (but that seems to have to run on an actual computer and I don’t see if that’s for a back end and what kind of device I need for the front end), Roku, or, maybe, Apple TV.

So can I use something like one of these devices to binge watch shows recorded on a Tablo? (For instance, just specify to watch every episode of “Bewitched” that’s on the Tablo at that point, or maybe to pick out specific episodes to add to a queue so they autoplay in binge mode?)

When I first considered a OTA DVR, I did not expect to be buying other devices, like Roku or Apple TV, but now I know I’m going to be using at least one other device to handle streaming.

Is there a way to do binge watch streaming with the shows on my Tablo with another device?

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Am I unclear in this post or is there anything I can fix or clarify if I want to get an answer?

Or is it just that there is no third-party device or program that lets me binge watch shows on Tablo? Is this just not an available feature?

click on the :mag:, top right. type in binge
50+ results forbinge

You’re perfectly clear. I’ve never seen a DVR that offers this, although it is such an obvious feature, I don’t know why. I’ve wanted it for many years.

I know that Netflix and Hulu will autoplay the next episode for you (or not, if you want). But no DVR I’ve ever looked into does this. Go figure. If there is one, I’d like to know as well–especially if Channels DVR does this.

I’ve seen and used binge mode on DVRs from FiOS, Comcast, DISH TV, and TiVo.

I had not used the forum search, what I did was search, in Google, for “Tablo” and using either “binge mode” or “autoplay.” I’ve seen statements about, “We’re adding it - someday…” but never an idea of when “Someday” will be. I posted about it on the Tablo Facebook page, but the response was something like, “We’re working on it, but you do realize it won’t be like on Netflix? We can’t guarantee the next episode recorded is the next in the series.” (Not an exact quotation.)

So what I’m seeing is that this is “in the works.” But is that for next week, next month, next year, or by 2023? I can’t get a clear answer.

Which is why I was also hoping to find out about if there’s a 3rd party system that does this. There are two problems with trying to find out about that. One is that there are so many third party apps, like Plex, or Roku, that may or may not do this that it takes days to try to check each one out. That leads to the other part of the problem: You can’t always get an answer like that about something without trying it out - which means buying a Tablo and whatever device or program I’m curious about, and trying it.

Look here, for example. I posted and let the question sit for a day or more and only got a response after I said, “Is there something confusing about what I’m asking?” Now I see the answer is that nobody answered (originally) because nobody knows when Tablo will add this. But when you post on a half dozen or a dozen forums with questions like this (and I’ve done that with questions about various devices or programs), and you don’t get an answer, it just means you’ve got a lot more research to do to find an answer.

At this point, if Tablo added a binge watch feature tomorrow (and, speaking as a retired programmer, I don’t see why it’s a tough feature to add, at least to add a version with only basic functionality), as soon as I found out, I’d be ordering two four-tuner units and, after about two weeks, I’d be selling all my TiVo stuff and going all-Tablo.

Heck, I’d do that even if I found an app for Roku, Apple TV, or even my Mac, that could read the files on the Tablo drive and play them back in a binge mode. If there were a decent way to do it now, I’d go from TiVo to Tablo in a heartbeat.

Yes, TabloTV and/or TabloSupport often use the phrase “in the works” or “coming soon” etc more as blow-off attempts. You can, and apparently have found it used in post years old… and it’s still in the works.

Ok, here’s my method. It’s not easy my most standards. I use a media PC to watch all my shows/videos and streaming services. I use a 3rd party apps capto and wrapto to export recordings from my tablo.

Using virtually any media player I could create a playlist or load an entire directory. Play it randomly or continuously if it mattered. Avoiding propitiatory devices opens opportunities, but also creates some work on your end… some users find this overly cumbersome then get upset they can’t just press a button, so I try to avoid suggesting alternatives.

For TV series I want to keep, I’ll use Tablo Ripper (a third party program - thank you @CycleJ) to copy and convert the Tablo file to my pc where I then manually edit out the commercials. Once the editing is complete I save the file to my NAS Server and use Plex to watch these shows.

If commercials don’t bother you, then you can have Tablo Ripper automatically copy all recordings directly to a storage location for Plex to locate and then use Plex for viewing all of your recordings. There are also other programs like Comskip which will automatically remove commercials and can be used in conjunction with Tablo Ripper.

Plex does have a sort of binge watching feature. It will automatically play the next episode of a series for a couple of hours. After around 6 half hour episodes or 3 one hour episodes you must click play again to restart the binge watching.

So there are options out there, they just aren’t all in one box.

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I’ve never used a Tivo. The rest are all cableco-supplied crap, and I’ve never had any of those.

Well, for a long time I’ve had almost no time to set things up for myself, so it was easier to go with whatever was supplied. We moved to a new home we built ourselves about 2 years ago. There has been so many things to fix up and to work on for this place that I’m only recently getting time to start doing things the way I want to.

When we first moved in, it was easiest to just get satellite internet (which was Viasat, or Viasuck - pathetic service and lots of lies, and I don’t say that kind of thing very often about businesses) and DISH TV. (Cable doesn’t come out here, so we’ve got limited choices.) I found a good alternative to get internet that’s far better than Viasuck and now I’m working on getting things set up so I can switch to an OTA DVR.

The first I tried was Tablo. I seriously considered setting up a MythTV box - still might want to, but I’m not going to have time to do that for another year or so. I need something I can unbox and use.

I checked your links - thanks for including them! (You can see my reply to adam1991 for my comments about time - it’s just been too hard to take the time to set things up the way I want for several years!) With something like capto and wrapto, I could easily automate a system to export programs from a Tablo to one of my computers. (I did see that capto, at least, works on a Mac, which is what I have.) I can easily write a program to compare what’s on the drive and what’s on the Tablo and keep them in sync every hour or two.

The easiest way, at that point, would be a program like VLC - I can just load up the playlist.

My first choice is usually to avoid proprietary solutions when I can. (If I had time to check out what I need for hardware and setup options, I’d probably get a box with a few hard drives and 4 tuners and set up a MythTV box - but there are advantages to something that’s already working - especially if the specs are open and you can do things like offload the programs.)

I was trying to get info on a TiVo forum to do that kind of thing with the TiVo, but I was only getting answers from one person and just could not get a direct answer on anything. I appreciated his help, but I couldn’t get the simple info I needed.

Sadly, I don’t use Windows, so I can’t use Tablo Ripper, but I might be able to use the source code to figure the Tablo API and write my own program to do what I need - when I have time.

As I said in some other replies, I would be interested in using MythTV as an all-in-one base for media - but for now I need an easy out-of-the-box solution to use for a year or so.

Do you know if that Plex option is configurable?

Ahem… there’s always SurLaTablo (just saying).

Generally, it’s pointless getting into replies with him - as there is no point or maybe his omnipotent one is the one and only.

Ok, so you’re not a “typical consumer”… sorry for the misunderstanding. My “media center” is simple using basic file sharing - basically just to 2 systems. When I tried Myth it wasn’t recognizing my tuner cards, and it look bloated for my needs… since I’m in a rural area without true wired broadband internet. The software I’d been using to record Me-TV stopped development. I found tablo my best fit, discovered capto and it was great I could just implement it into the setup I have in place.

I store the shows one system (not a dedicated file server or NAS) set up file sharing with gigbit home networking. Mounting shares on systems provides instant access to everything. I like a simple, utility-like UI, so the overly user friendly stuff may be great for many users, just not me.
VLC would do, I’ve found smplayer more suiting to my needs because it allows to set jump keys for like 1min, 30sec & 15sce - great for commercial skipping. (VLC may have this now, but it also does way more than I need)


If you want to use Windows, then it is sad you’re not. But why do you feel sad for not using Windows ?? or feel you need to make some kind of apology for it?? or imply not using Windows greatly limits you??
There’s an entire section #tablo-apps:third-party-apps-plex – several are not Window specific! Either not platform dependent or not Windows compatable [period]. There’s 1 or 2 for mobile devices yet.

As mentioned SurLaTablo. I’ve not used it, but if you have an issue - you can reach out and the developer will surla get back to you. I believe it has some commercial skip/removal process. Options to store at various size/resolutions Python script - not platform dependent.

Still in beta (at least under development) is APL Tablo Client. This is very feature rich, not quit as much with export. Yes, you can, but he hasn’t gotten to allow custom naming and it’s a GUI, so there’s no automation. But there is a lot of great features missing in tablo’s UI, lots of sorting, filters, auto record (not yet released) schedule of recordings, etc. It’s java, …you know, platform independent.

Back to capto used with wrapto to allow for custom naming works great for scripting and automating scheduling exports. Lets me have enough control, while letting it take care of things without interaction.

Again, old-school I use a browser UI for my streaming services. Amazon Video [Prime] and BritBox, as well as playing my recorded shows. As for watching TV, I just press the TV button on my remote. But yes, I have a simple, perhaps sad - just me, setup.

As for plex. I do believe there are several Plex users here. If you made a more prominent question, I’d bet you’d get a lot of specifics – from people who know.

You’ll find most of the users that stop in the Community Forum often aren’t typical users and many have over the top elaborate setups.

Sorry for the delay before I could reply. We’re renovating an old barn that was on the property when we bought it and sometimes that takes a lot of time and energy to deal with it.

The “Sadly” in reference to Windows was more about that I’m not able to use Tablo Ripper. If I had more time, depending on the language it’s in, if the source code is available, I’d be interested in seeing if I could get it to run on Linux or Mac.

Referring to being a “typical consumer:” You got that right. In this case, though, time is a factor. Not in terms of a race against time, but in terms of time available to me. (Well, it is a bit of a race against time - each month I don’t get a new system set up is another month paying for crappy DISH TV.) (That barn project is a serious time and energy sink!) Ideally, I’d spend a few weeks looking into all the DIY options, like MythTV, Plex, and so on, but at this point, if I tried to do that, it’d take me months to read up and find out what fits my needs best, then I’d have time to experiment and get my settings to what I wanted before I dropped satellite service.

I’m going to look over SurLaTablo (got the hint @cjcox! - one thing about that: I’m not clear on whether it copies all files, lists files, or just what - do you have a summary, somewhere, of what it does?) and the APL Tablo Client info and see what that’s like. It looks like there are programs to pull recordings off the Tablo, which means I can binge watch them through Plex or any program that lets me binge watch files on my drive. That may be enough to make things work for me.

If that’s the case, I may go on and get a Tablo, since it’s a quick and easy setup, use Plex for binging, and, after that, I can take my time deciding what to use long term.

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I missed you didn’t have a tablo yet/already.
I am strong proponent of open source, but through no fault of their own - NDA, I know capto can do what you need, but that’s because I haven’t used SurLa Tablo, nor have a Windows system for T Ripper. In the end, if you have a “PC” based viewing system you should make/get tablo to work your way.

[edit; cleaned up typos and spelling errors from trying to use a tablet when I need a full blown keyboard and mouse]

SurLaTablo stricly is about what is recorded on your Tablo. It can be used to query your recordings and it can be used to extract the recordings (with lots of different options and controls). It is not a local media manager. For me, I wrote it so that I could easily pull recordings off my Tablo (via nice searches) and put them into a scanned Plex Library (where Plex does the media management).

By default SurLaTablo will no ovewrite a file that exists on your local filesystem. So you could constantly tell SurLaTablo to pull “everything” for example, and it will just do the work for things that are not already present (you’ll get a message that the extracted file already exists and it will move on to the next thing).

SurLaTablo is extensible in that you can add custom functions via what I (probably not a great name) call transcoders. Originally the main purpose was for transcoding, but now it’s more generic and can be used for different things.

Let’s just say SurLaTablo started out small and blossomed into something much larger, but still focused on just extracting recordings.

What will future versions of SurLaTablo do? Not sure. Could be additional offerings that I create. Maybe a ProxyLaTablo… people would really really like that one. Maybe something that replaces a lot of the functionality of the Tablo app itself? Maybe. All just takes time…

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It looked like SurLaTablo is open source. I think I did see the source code - but wanted to hear what you had to say instead of trying to just work it all out myself.

Does SurLaTablo also track deleted recordings? For example, if I my Tablo is recording 2 episodes of Bewitched every day, but I’ve told it to keep only a maximum of 20 episodes, when the Tablo deletes an episode, and I use SurLaTablo, will it delete the now trashed episodes on my hard drive? And if it doesn’t do it automatically, would it be easy to get a list of recorded episodes so I could compare them to what I have and delete, from my hard drive, what is no longer on the Tablo?

I’m not sure how much/long tablo even does this. Got a strong idea - NO.

Once it’s deleted from tablo, you can’t use anything to watch/export it. Most exporters have an option to delete from tablo. Example record 2 episodes everyday - tablo just records. Have “something” export and delete from tablo on some regularity. No, once the season come full circle, you’ll have to stop recording them. If they’re random… that’s another struggle.

I do know APL Tablo has abilities to export “all kinds of stuff” in a cvs files. If you want to keep them on the tablo after exporting then delete them later? As for automating deleting the recordings - I suppose editing an exporting list and some shell scripting, maybe. Or point and click manually, APL Tablo has a GUI which allows multiple selection.

Now I’m regretting not giving SuLaTablo a try, I’m really not familiar with it’s capabilities, but I understand it to be feature rich for what is does.

No, SurLaTablo, while it certainly understand deleted things (it does a very fast initial sync when run to update it’s cache … or database if you will). It’s all about the current state of what is on your Tablo and the ability to extract those recordings. Again, for off-Tablo media management, you would use something else like Plex, noting that Plex is standalone and doesn’t try to keep up in any way with changes on your Tablo.

With that said, Delete is a “transcode” option of SurLaTablo. So, if you every wanted to delete like a whole season in bulk or multiple things based on some sort of match… you can do this quickly with SurLaTablo rather than painstakingly going through the Tablo UI.

Just remember to refresh the cache after deletes… SurLaTablo by default refreshes its cache every time it’s run, and while the sync is fast (very fast), it does require a call out to your Tablo, which you could view as “slow”. So, there is a -n option to force no syncing of the cache. Useful when you’re not doing Deletes. SurLaTablo Delete prompts for confirmation, DeleteX just does it without interaction… you probably want the latter when doing large scale bulk deletes off your Tablo.

There is a SurLaTablo thread in the 3rd party area… might be better to discuss more details and questions there. That and I can be long winded.