Playback control behavior

So I have just started using a Gen4 unit that I got and I am comparing it to a competitor. Overall I like the Tablo very much except for the playback controls. I think it would be too much to completely overhaul the playback mechanism, but updating a few controls would go a long way for me. I think my requested updates would make the Tablo playback experience more natural and more consistent with most other streaming apos, while not impacting existing functionality.

First, I have been using both the Roku app and the AndroidTV app. While the Roku has additional RW, Play/Pause, and FF buttons, using the directional pad has become so ingrained in general usage. It behaving differently than the AndroidTV (and most other streaming apps) drives me bonkers. Please align the up/down/select buttons with the other AndroidTV app. Currently, they serve no fuction when click then during normal playback otger than to dim the top and bottom of the screen.

Second (and more importantly), make it easier to play/pause. On the AndroidTV app, there are 4 ways I have found to pause. Left (which skips back), Right (which skips forward), Select+Down+Select, and Down+Select. None of those are natural to me. I recommend just pausing when hitting Select. There is a slight function loss there (bringing up menus without impacting anything), but I think that is covered by pressing down. If you don’t like that one, how about Select+Select? The first select takes you to and is focused on the progress bar and the second pauses. I don’t see any impact to any fuctionality at all that way. (Also, please port to Roku as well.)


  1. Make Roku directional pad controls the same as AndroidTV during playback.
  2. Make Select+Select during playback pause it.


Doesn’t the tablo roku app just use the roku video player. And if so shouldn’t you be asking roku to make their video player work like the androidtv video player.

I just played a video from a USB on my Roku with the Media Player. The controls were identical to the Tablo ones. You are probably right. That is disappointing that they (Roku) would do that… Thanks for the info.

Hopefully, even if the Roku controls can’t be overridden, they will consider the addition in #2 for the AndroidTV app.

I would probably standarize on a streamer platform anyways. I just picked up a cheap AndroidTV as my Samsung TV didn’t have an app and the Roku playback bugged me so much that I would return the device if that was the only playback option I had (just too poor of an interface for me). The AndroidTV one is better, but bad enough that I am still considering returning it and using the other brand tuner/dvr… I like so much about the Tablo though as it shows itself as an easy to use, clean, and thought out product. My only real qualms are the playback interface and that it fell down during the superbowl (broke into two recordings and then errored out stopping recording around halfway through). I am calling that a fluke for now.

Are you referring to the actual Android TV app? What Android TV device are you using? I use a Chromecast with Google TV that has it’s own remote and on the remote you can play and pause using the Select button in the middle of the directional pad.

I just picked up the cheap Onn box to do testing. It is the Google TV version. I can probably get the regular Android TV version back from my in-laws if I needed for testing. I also have a TS4k in box somewhere if anyone thinks that might make a difference.

Anyways, clicking the select button does not pause the playback. It brings up the progress bar and beneath it other controls and content if you press down. If you press the Select button a second time (while focus is on the progress bar), it doesn’t pause anything. You MUST press Down and then Select in order to be able to pause it. The app version is 1.1.3.

This is already a feature request, but I will again agree that the OK button should work as a play/pause button without the need to arrow down to the pause icon on the app. Hulu, YouTube, Netflix, etc… all act in this way when the center d-pad button is pressed.

My Android TV has a separate play/pause button, but it’s 3+ years old. However, my brand new GoogleTV does not. Nor, as gabmasterjcc has stated, does the onn 4k box.

I’m missing something here. What is different about the playback controls on the Roku? I must admit that I don’t use my Rokus very often (they’re tucked away until I can get the Roku app to let me into my recordings Library), but I can’t seem to picture what makes them different.

Maybe the behavior I’m seeing is limited to just the Chromecast with Google TV, but when I’m playing something back, without the playback/progress bar being currently displayed, I can press the Select button in the middle of the directional pad and playback is immediately paused. The playback/progress bar does then display when it pauses, but I don’t have to press Down at all to be able to pause and unpause playback.

That’s interesting. I wonder what makes the programming for that button different. Sounds like a starting point for Tablo to check into; what they can do to change the behavior of the other remotes.

@gabmasterjcc – Did you mean version 1.3.1 of the app?

Sounds like what is described.

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Well, at least one remote is working as it should!

Just double-checked the AndroidTV’s remote. The play/pause button performs as expected, but the center d-pad brings up the overlay.

The AndroidTV app is 1.1.3 and that seems to match the announcements forum post.

So it seems it might be broken on non-CCwGTV devices. I would think they would use the same button code. Maybe you can see if there appears to be a difference by using Button Mapper to find out what code is being sent? I don’t have the CC, so I can’t check that.

All devices have a directional pad with center and back button. For me that means all basic functions should be straightforward with those and any additional buttons can be used enhance an experience. That makes things consistent accross devices.

Sorry, thank you. IDK why I was thinking 1.3.1 … (probably thinking of Roku’s 0.8.3 nightmare)

I though button mapper only told you the button number (other than the remapping)… but I suppose it wouldn’t hurt if we checked this out for the devices that act differently.

That is the problem with some remotes being TOO basic. I have the ONN box as a backup. I mainly use Roku, and also have a FireTV 4K Max. ANY streaming/video device remote should include basic transport controls (rew/play-pause/ff)

I do wonder if some form of 3rd party remote will work? There is an Inteset IR adapter I tried on the Fire TV. It basically works, but some of the codes act a bit different. There is no play/pause, just separate play and pause, so you cannot access some of the extra options in the settings menus. For the Tablo, the EXIT button didn’t work the same and I could not back out of a video. It would pop up the status bar, but nothing else.

I used to agree with you. In fact a few years ago I spent tons of time looking for a streaming player with a remote that met all my “needs” after I was dropping my Tivo. I never found anything. What has happened in the meantime is that I found the RW/PP/FF buttons don’t add any value. Nearly every app uses left as RW, select as PP, and right as FF. It leaves the dedicated buttons redundant. The best usage I have seen with them is that some apps have a slightly different RW/FF using the dedicated vs left/right buttons. For example, left/right might skip and continue to play, while RW/FF will continue to RW/FF showing previews so you know where to stop. That is a value add, but most don’t do that and it isn’t 100% necessary.

There are a lot of devices that don’t have dedicated buttons. I have binned a quick survey of the ones that Tablo intends to support:

Fire TV
Nvidia Shield (Android TV)
Samsung (Low End)
LG (Low End)

Has PP:
Sony (Google TV)
Hisense (Google TV)
Samsung (Mid+High End)

Has no dedicated controls:
TCL (Google TV)
LG (High End)
Onn (Android/Google TV)
TS4k (Android TV)

Looking at this list, if you are designing based on dedicated RW/PP/FF buttons, you are really designing toward Roku and Fire TV. That is a pretty big part of the market, but leaves out a lot as well. Going to PP only gets an incremental gain, mainly AppleTV. You have to go without to pick up most of the Google TV devices.

When I’m using the Tablo, the “OK” remote control button doesn’t pause playback, only the “stop/pause” button does. Just checked a bunch of apps on my Roku and the pause functionality varies with the app. Some require the “stop/pause” button, some are happy to pause when the “OK” button is pressed, or when the “stop/pause” button is pressed. So it would appear that if the default Roku player requires only “stop/pause” to pause, that an app can either use it’s own player, or can add semantics to the default Roku player.

Personally, I like having the “OK” button for pause, easiest button to hit on the remote when in a hurry. Also, both the Chromecast 4K and Apple TV do that so it’s grooved in my muscle memory :-). I second the request to add the “OK” button for pausing playback.


Exactly what I am asking for!

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This is for a dumb remote. Not a gaming remote or a 3rd party remote.