Potential New Tablo user: Tivo Bolt vs Tablo

I’m trying to cut the cord & Tivo has a new product the Bolt & you can use HD antennae or Cable. What are the monthly costs for Tablo? You do have a lifetime option for the Bolt. How many Tablo’s do you need? I also just got an Amazon Fire stick so have to set that up. Just so tired of cable! Thanks for the insight.

Do you already have an OTA antenna with good signal set up?

The Tablo retail price is $220 for the 2-tuner and $299 for the 4-tuner (though you can find both cheaper on Amazon and other sites).

You do have to buy your own external hard drive and your own antenna. Hard drive used to be limited to 2 TB, but now can be any size (though it is hard to find anything bigger than a 5 TB).

While you don’t have to have a subscription at all, the most popular option is $150 for a lifetime. What is great about the lifetime is that it by account and not by device. So you could have multiple Tablos all covered by the one fee. Other options are $5 per month and $50 per year.

The Tivo Bolt works with just Tivo devices, while the Tablo allows you to use a multitude of clients: AppleTV, Roku, FireTv, Android TV, Chromecast, smartphones, tablets, and computers.

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The Tablo’s main advantage over the Tivo is longterm cost. Tivo Bolt has a $150 subscription cost per year (1st year free) that you can’t avoid. If you want streaming to Android or iOS devices, that is another cost. If you want to use the Tivo on multiple TVs, you have to buy Tivo Minis (which have to be wired to your network - no wireless option). The hard drives on the Tivo are quite small as well (though users have some options to expand or replace them).

The Tivo’s main advantage over the Tablo is that it is a well polished DVR that captures the TV signal just like a cable/satellite DVR. So you will get a better picture quality for some events (like sports on 1080i channels), almost no crashes, and a very powerful interface (Tablo has core DVR functionality but is missing some of the nicer options).


No wanted to find out about that also

Thanks for the insight. The Tivo rep said the 500 gig was $299 which includes first mth of service then $149 annual until paid off-$600. The minis are $150 each & that’s it. The lifetime is whatever model you select. I like the fact that Tablo works with multiple ones. Sounds like Tablo is more cost effective. So how much are the Tablo mini’s approx. & is there a lot of crashes? I was thinking of getting the Amazon Fire TV as the stick is awesome so far. I could see missing live TV (that’s where the antennae would come in as I don’t want to pay for an app-Sling TV if I don’t have to) Any more thoughts?

The Tablo doesn’t connect to a TV directly like the Tivo. Instead, it captures the TV signal, transcodes it to H.264 format, and then can play it on all these devices I listed in my other post.

The other weakness of the Tablo is that it takes 10-15 seconds to tune to an new channel in order to buffer some of the signal and transcode it, while it takes no time at all to tune to a new channel on the Tivo. Once a channel is tuned on the Tablo, you can go back and forth to it within a second, though you don’t have a one button return to previous channel function.

For live TV, I tend to use an antenna directly hooked to my tv instead of my Tablo, unless I know I will be on a particular channel for a while. I use my Tablo mainly as a DVR to watch shows I have recorded earlier. If you do a lot of live channel surfing, the Tivo is going to be a better experience.

Other thoughts…the Tivo Bolt does have some built in apps, like Netflix and Hulu. The devices the Tablo supports can have a lot more built in apps (especially the Roku series).


Thanks for your insight snowcat its all a mine field trying to figure it all out & finally cut the cord!

You are welcome and I am glad to help. This board has a lot of great members on here with about every configuration imaginable. Some have been long time cord cutters and some are like me that started cord cutting with the Tablo. Free free to keep asking questions.

With the Roku 4, new AppleTv, new Chromecast, new FireTv, and multiple AndroidTV devices all coming out this year, there are even more choices to make. It is an exiting time in the streaming world.

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Not a TiVo customer because I don’t like to be locked into large subscription costs (hence the reason I cut the cord), but my understanding is that you now can use the Fire TV with TiVo devices (instead of buying a TiVo mini): http://www.aftvnews.com/tivo-app-arrives-on-amazon-fire-tv-in-beta-form/

My trial period with Tablo ended a few weeks ago and I can’t say I miss any of the features you get when you pay for subscription.

My guide even updates much faster because there’s no thumbnails to generate, it feels like scrolling through it is also faster.

The manual recording is working well, I use the repeating option and I don’t have to worry about it too much after, just wish I could see what’s going to record when I browse the guide.

If they find a way to fix the mess 2.2.2 brought and the products works as intended, I might end up buying a lifetime subscription but with or without one, this product is useable.

Tivo will be around for years to come … Tablo is still an long term unknown

Thanks for the post Vonda its amazing how the Tivo rep failed to mention this when I spoke with him. lol

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Timely question: I gave up on Tablo yesterday and got a Bolt plus two Mini’s. After one day, here are the Bolt features I have really enjoyed that Tablo does not have. Some of them have been stated as being on a road map; you should read other postings here about progress rate. But the things I did already that I have been waiting for for a year:

  1. Enjoyed 1080p picture. OTA picture is much better than compressed cable. Tablo now limited to 720 for may of us; limit seems to be required data rate, which I finally decided would never be supported at the far end of my house, where I want to drop a 4K TV. Tivo already supports 4K, and Netflix and others are starting to offer it.
  2. 5.1 surround sound. Tablo seems content with stereo for the forseeable future.
  3. Set up all the local and network newscasts plus the usual late night TV (Fallon, etc) to only keep the most recent episode. Tablo seems uninterested in the feature, instead offering a bulk delete, so plan for some time each week or just don’t schedule so many shows.
  4. Commercial Skip is built in and works like a champion.
  5. Smooth fast forward and reverse, plus skip in both directions.
  6. Channel UP/DN on live TV. With Tablo / Roku you have to exit one show and select another.
  7. 14 day grid interactive grid, so look ahead, spot a show, select it and schedule it. All channels shown at the same time.

I only installed one Mini so far. It was a bit choppy, but MoCA is built into the Bolt and the Mini, so will set that up this weekend which should cure that, down to the second Mini in the family room too. And the Mini has an available breakout cable to support component video (my really old HDTV) and RCA video/sound (feeds the RF modulator to the kitchen analog TV).

So yep, I dropped $600 yesterday. But service free for a year, so save $60 of the Tablo cost, then next year it is $15/mo instead of five. Not the same cost as a Tablo, but when you have many hundreds or perhaps a few thousands in your TVs plus sound systems, you’re gonna feed them with 720p stereo over about $200 (gotta figure the cost of Rokus to be a fair comparison) difference? Plus it is not a sure thing that Tablo will exist in a year (it seems to be a startup that is struggling; I am not the first to bail out) or would not be a surprise that within the year they come out with a new box to fix some of the capability limitations and support new features, which the old one will not be able to. So those will be frozen in time; probably get some sort of “thank you” trade in, but not a new box gratus.

I went through these pains with SAGETV, who finally got bought up and thrown away, so don’t want to continue just hanging out with a hacker group fixing this and that again. Unless $200 is really hard for one, I frankly don’t see any reason to go with Tablo over the Bolt. Minis are only $50/each more than Rokus, the main box about the same. And it has an eSata port, so I got the smaller internal drive and am plugging in a 2TB unit tomorrow. They indicate one should use their branded external, but there are many that have seen that it is plain vanilla, so any drive with eSata interface will do.

These are just my frank opinions and observations. If I have misstated any facts re: Tablo that was not my intent, just my understanding. I have enjoyed the support from many in this forum, and I truly hope it all works out well for you, but I guess I just don’t have your patience. Stay tuned!!!


Quite honestly, if I were using my tablo-quad for a personal dvr, I would shoot my other foot… But, I am getting the minimum I need now, but only thanks to a couple of guys that really should be thought of as tablo knights as far as I am concerned. Without a way to get my content off this tablo, it literally would be worthless to me.

Looked and thought pretty hard on the Tivo Bolt, but I am getting content now, which is what this is all about in my case.

Hope you have the best of the best going for you now.


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Hey, if it works well enough for your purposes. I won’t knock it. I just got tired of my Cowboy’s games not recording!

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I’ve had to do a little work in terms of optimizing my local network and router placement, but super happy with Tablo and performance so far. To each their own, and to be sure we all see things through the tint of our own experiences, but I’m thrilled to save loads in the long run over bolt with Tablo as well as being able to stream it across 4 TVs (major benefit of Tablo over Tivo…don’t have to buy minis per TV).

As compared to a startup , it is a fair risk assessment but to your point no company is guaranteed a future

It looks like the FireTv is only good for recorded content and not live TV for the Tivo.