Possible Fix for "Ragged Text"

I’m new to Tablo and very satisfied so far. I’m in the process of cutting the cord but I still have overlapping Tablo and satellite service at this time. This has given me the opportunity to compare picture resolution/display using a 1080i signal from my satellite box and 1080p (or so it thinks) coming from my Roku via Tablo recording at 1080/720fps60. One disturbing item I’ve noticed ever since hooking the Tablo up is that the satellite picture resolution/quality seemed quite a bit better for some reason. I couldn’t put my finger on it at first but then I noticed that the Tablo picture had very “ragged” looking text. People’s faces and scenic landscapes and other parts of the picture seemed fine, but for some reason the text seemed really blocky and ragged via Tablo/Roku while the satellite text displays of the same image were super sharp.

This really started to bother me to the point that I wasn’t sure I could live with the blockiness. So, I started playing with all of the television settings to see if anything could be done. I finally stumbled across the “Sharpness” setting on my Insignia TV and noticed that it was ratcheted up fairly high. I turned it down to about 1/5 the original value and the text suddenly looked much less blocky and ragged on the Tablo picture. I couldn’t turn it completely to zero or the picture started to look very slightly blurred. But, a value of 10 on a 100 scale seemed to balance text and picture sharpness on the Tablo image.

I’m totally at a loss to understand why the Sharpness setting so greatly affects the Tablo output via Roku, but doesn’t impair the satellite picture at all. I hope this helps someone out if they get the “blocky” or “ragged” text issue. Try adjusting the “Sharpness” setting!

Harry G.

The satellite uses the native uncompressed MPEG2 video stream. The Tablo re-encodes the video to h.264 video, which even at the 1080p recording quality is not lossless. Hence the video quality not being comparable.

If you want the pure quality, then you should consider a DVR which does not re-encode the video. These include:

  1. NVIDIA Shield with Tablo DROID software DVR engine (to be released)
  2. Plex DVR with HDHomeRun tuner
  3. ChannelMaster DVR+
  4. TiVo

But the OG Tablo DVR will not be for you then.

Also TiVo is MPEG2…

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Thanks, did not know this!

@Harry_G Have you tried playing the same video on other devices or tablet and see if you still have the issue? I haven’t had any sharpness issue with the live or recordings from Tablo, and I would expect to see a lot of user complaints here if the problem was with Tablo. One thing I notice from my experience was that regardless of how high bitrate the recording was set to (and mine was set to the highest 10mb), the output was also dependent on how the device processes the content during streaming. I had similar experience with the the text being blurry and a diagonal line appears jagged on a Samsung Tab E when streaming from Tablo, but when I play the same video on a different tablet with better process/GPU, it appears totally fine and sharp. I’m not sure how recent your Roku model is, but you might want to try another streaming device and see if the issue persists. IMHO, you really shouldn’t need to tune down sharpness to 10/100 to avoid ragged text if you have decent quality streaming device.

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Thanks for the suggestion; I’ll give that a try. All of my TVs are using Roku 2 (model 4210R) versions so I think they are all rendering the same way. However, I sit closer to the Insignia TV and it has a fairly large screen, so perhaps I’m just noticing it there more! I don’t seem to notice it as much on my iPad but then that is such a small screen and everything seems so sharp on it.

Harry G.

You’re not going to notice it on a smaller screen.

You aren’t using the best streaming device, and you don’t say how your Roku 2s are connected, but I believe those are WiFi only, yes?

You’ve got a lot of potential sources for issues in your setup. The Tablo picture quality is not as good as TiVo, but I wouldn’t have a Tablo at all if I got results like you are getting.