Overheating of Tablo TV Unit: Great Solution -- use defrosting plate

Hello, my name is Steve and this is my first post.

I found a perfect solution to the overheating problem with the Tablo TV unit and external hard drive attached to it. It’s called a heat sink. More specifically, an aluminum defrosting plate used for meat and vegetables. There is the grill part and the flat part of these particular plates and I use the flat side.

I have only had my Tablo 2-Tuner OTA unit for a couple of days but noticed how hot it got, even when I put it on the side. I had an old defrosting plate and said what the heck. Heat travels from hot to cold. That is the law of physics. The bigger the temperature difference, the faster heat will travel in this direction (hot to cold). The plate cures the problem instantly. When you place the Tablo unit and external drive on a wood table top, the heat cannot dissipate. The problem is solved with an aluminum defrosting plate.

Go on eBay and look up the words “aluminum defrosting plate.” You will find them for as much as $40.00 USD but some are less than $20.00. This is a permanent solution to the overheating problem and I want to spread this news like wildfire.

An overheated unit and hard drive will malfunction, so you need to keep them cool. I am even thinking of getting a defrosting plate for my laptop, which seems to get hot on the bottom.

Thanks for listening.



I ordered the DEEPCOOL WIND PAL MINI Laptop Cooling Pad 15.6" Slim Design 140mm Silent Fan Blue LED from Newegg US for 9.99 with free shipping. I set my Tablo quad and 2TB Seagate usb portable drive on top of it and plugged it in. It makes NO noise and very little breeze …but my Table is now just barely warm to the touch and before it was HOT - 90++. And my HD seems to be just fine up there…so far

Now I know that they say that 90+ is normal for the unit, but I have always found that cooler electronics seem to last longer.

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A $20.00 aluminum defrosting plate will work just as well. The ones that seem to work best have fins on one side and a flat side on the other. The flat side is the best side to use for cooling the Tablo unit and hard drive. Circulating air as a medium to cool is fine but a heat sink works so much better in my opinion. I taught air conditioning and heating for almost 4 years and the one thing we teach our students is that heat travels from hot to cold, not the other way around. The larger the temperature difference, the quicker that heat will transfer. The aluminum defrosting plate will never get hot either; maybe just slightly warm, but that’s it.

The problem with self diagnosing over heating is that we may do more harm than good. I used to work in the spacecraft industry and much effort was made to achieve dimensional stability mostly through the use of exotic materials such as carbon fiber and Invar. It maybe that the Tablo is heating the circuitry to above ambient to assure dimensional stability of the circuits. By heating it is easy to control the temperature by throttling the heaters as opposed to having a cooling circuit to achieve the same temperature thus dimensional stability.


Eckhard, I am not sure exactly what you are saying other than I am wrong to self-diagnose this problem. I totally understand the nature of heat transfer, having worked and taught in the HVAC/R field. Anything that overheats will not work properly, especially it ht burns your hand to the touch. These Tablo units and external hard drives need to be on a surface that remains at room temperature or maybe a little higher. Otherwise, the unit will totally bog down. I already had this happen on day two of owning this device. The aluminum defrost plate is working wonders and keeps the unit slightly warm on the bottom, not hot enough that it will practically fry and egg. I would rather see the Tablo TV company come up with there own patented aluminum heat sink but then that would probably discredit the architecture of the unit.

In any case, I do appreciate your follow-up comments and I am sure you are/were an expert in your area of work (at the time).

We’re able to check in on your unit if you’re worried about heat-related issues. With regards to what operating temperatures are normal for the Tablo, check out our blog.

But if you’re concerned, definitely don’t hesitate to give our team a shout.

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Thank you for the link. However, I do believe that optimally, the unit should not be hot to the point where heat continues to build up. The heat sink is at room temperature and doesn’t get much hotter, thereby allowing my 2-channel Tablo OTA Unit to run much more efficiently, along with my 2 TB WD Element portable hard drive. The main thing is not to use a coolant like ice or a cold surface. The Tablo and unit I have run efficiently so far and I will keep you guys posted. It’s a nice unit and I am glad I have one.

I was having all sorts of reliability issues with my unit I think were linked to heat frustration (at least that is what I believe). I had my Tablo unit on a rack that sits high up in the top of my garage (in FL, ambient temps can get pretty high, well north of 100F). I chose that location because it was close to where all the coax for my antenna(s) terminated and were distributed throughout the house. Zip tied to the unit was an SSD disk. However, I found that the unit was running slow, or often would flat out fail. Yesterday I changed its location to back inside the house, took the hard disk off of it, and added a small 5V cooling fan I modified to run off a USB wall adapter.

So far (and it has only been about 10 hours) it appears to be working better. Stay tuned for more updates.

No doubt your Tablo would run very hot in your garage - and depending on which side of the Tablo you zip tied the SSD, the SSD may have been seriously hot - and perhaps the source of your performance issues.

I don’t get your thread title however - what does a defrosting plate have to do with this story?

The defrosting plate was being used as a heat sink to provide cooling to the Tablo - similar to what I did with adding a cooling fan. After moving it I am STILL getting session disconnects however.! Getting a bit fed up with this thing. Have it wired into my network (always had it setup that way). My client device (Firestick) is not having any stream issues with other apps, and I have no other problems with session disconnects on my network.


There’s a heat sink built into the device itself. I trust the Tablo engineers and design team to have figured this all out long before they built the inaugural unit. However, I also prefer to err on the side of caution, so I put mine on a household trivet when first installed:

After having it for about three months, I replaced this with something a little more elegant (thank you, Bed, Bath and Beyond):

There’s so much back-and-forth on this topic, I don’t believe half of it, most of the time. But I like this post and all the suggestions herein … and you’re take on the matter is interesting.

P.S.: After seven months of ownership with the unit running 24/7, I’ve never had an overheating problem (or any other problem).

Not convinced my issues are heat related as I am still having session disconnects periodically, after attaching the cooling fan, bringing it inside the air conditioned house, and moving the SSD away from the unit. I am getting the “Unknown Error has Occurred” messages still, both from a Firestick client on WiFi and a browser client wired into the network. I started looking at possible heat as the cause since the unit was ridiculously hot.

I’ve had my Tablo 4 tuner running 24/7 since Nov 2014. And it runs plenty warm, and is in an already fairly warm closed AV center - but I just keep it sitting on its side, so the heat sink is vertical instead of horizontal and haven’t had any issues that could be considered related to overheating. But I’m sure some unit variances have issues with heat based on it being a consistent theme on this forum , even if only affecting a small number of users.


I ended up buying one. It’s been in the back of my head since this morning and though I’m not 100% sold on the premise itself, I love your idea (and it certainly can’t hurt) … that, and the fact I’ve been using household trivets to allay my “heat fears” up until now. Let me know how your laptop plate works out, I’ll probably bite on that one as well. @steve1970

my tablo dual lite unit has habitually suffered from persistent wireless connectivity idiosyncrasies. well, tablo support has confirmed its wifi module has finally burned out forcing me to hardwire the unit since it is conveniently just out of warranty…no more connectivity idiosyncrasies now on ethernet. after reading all of the overheating complaints online I find it highly suspicious these circumstances aren’t related. heat buildup progressively shortened the life of my wifi radio and was likely responsible for all of the idiosyncratic behaviors. after reviewing the logs, tablo support informed me my unit towards the end was only able to stay connected to my wifi for maybe 1 or 2 min per hour.

I’ve had my 4-Tuner unit running 24/7 since 2016. Through these forumns, I discovered the heating issues early on. I placed some rubber feet on the side of the unit and stood it on it’s side. Work great in my setup.

Just to add another variable into the works… Power supplies.
It’s known that some power supplies have caused some odd and particular issues with the Tablo units. Something else to consider.