Record and Playback Buffering even with SSD drive

When I started my Tablo 4th Gen use, I used the WD drive I had on my old Channel Master CM-7600. It did “OK”; when recording two 480p programs and attempting to playback an already recorded program, the Tablo video is “jumpy” and occasionally “buffers”, with the spinning circle displayed. Generally, even if the video is jumpy, the audio works fine until the buffering starts.

I purchased a new SanDisk Extreme Pro SSD USB drive (also 1 TB, capable of 2 gigabytes/second transfer rates). This device (on my PC, USB 3.0) is capable of sustaining 300+ megabytes/second transferring lots of small files, and nearly 400 megabytes per second with big files. So, maybe this will “fix” the jumpiness?


Just finished running a relatively short test (15 minutes), recording two 1080p live channels while playing back a third 1080p program. The video jumpiness is still there, but the buffering seems to have disappeared (again, short test). The audio plays fine because no buffering.

Since the same problem exists even with more highly advanced technology, the limiting factor would appear to be the Tablo 4th Gen unit itself, maybe its USB 2.0 limitation. If this is not the case, then I’d certainly appreciate Tablo’s recommendation for an external USB (2.0 capable, apparently) drive that can handle the above mentioned scenario.

Just FYI; the old channel Master CM-7600 could handle this situation with no issues.

Buffering for the 4th gen can usually come down to two things:

  • slow/incompatible drives (they’ve got a recommendation list; I’m guessing these are just ones they’ve tested)
  • a hiccup in your network

Also, if this is a freshly formatted drive through the Tablo, I’ve noticed that this is common if you don’t also reboot the Tablo afterwards. I’m guessing that the fresh boot helps the indexing process and makes sure the device knows this is it’s only storage option? No real clue here, but this has helped me on all 3 of mine.

Not sure if you’re hardwired or on wifi, but since most of your viewing devices will use wifi, this might be another area to take a look at. Keep in mind that because you’re dealing with uncompressed MPEG-2 video, it takes more bandwidth than other apps (lHulu, etc). While internet speeds matter, it’s really the network/LAN speeds that are important here.

And OC, the usual reboots of your viewing device, network, Tablo…

Good luck, keep testing, and when you find out what’s helped, please share it for others.

Yes, did the reboots of the system. The WiFi is within 3 feet of the Tablo and the TV (Chromecast with Google TV). All at the latest revision level.

I’ve not seen specific recommended USB drives on either the Tablo site nor the Community. What am I missing when I search for this content?

Wireless is a weird animal… You can be too close and or coming in too “hot”

It’s almost like opening the oven and that heat hits you in the face. Devices being too close can feel that as in interference.

If you can, are you able to check the signal strength of the tablo within your wireless router? If it’s in the -20’s that like sticking your head in the oven.

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Good question.

This link has been hard to find on occasion and it looks like it’s ref’d to the WiFi setup page now.

I understand that you’re close to your router, but that doesn’t take into account your internal speeds. Might even cause some interference because it’s so close. Making sure you’re on 5ghz v 2.4ghz (if you’re not already) is a step in the right direction though.

a home wired network 10/100/1000 shouldn’t have “hiccups” that will cause playback stuttering…there should be no internet interference either when playing from the device to the tv. the stuttering/buffering is a problem with the tablo app…you’ll notice that a change in roku, caused the tablo app to barf…similarly, more than one user, self included, had a week of stuttering playback and app crashing. app crashing would have nothing to do with network or internet, but would have issues if the app had a bug or was out of memory…whatever was going on the beginning of the week of the 19th has rectified itself, and as a software engineer who has written streaming and android code, my bet is the app was doing something in the background, either calling home or who knows what, or just has a bug in it from bad coding causing the out of memory and eventually the ANR and crash…Tablo needs to look into it

Understandably, app issues can be the cause. I’m not disagreeing with you at all in this manner.

The user’s left us to our imaginations when trying to figure out what else has changed. The one thing I did see was a recent change in external drives. With 3 Tablos and 5 drives used (two were unsupported and didn’t work for crap), a Tablo reboot was the only thing that cleared up my playback issues.

No matter how fast your overall network is, if you’re trying to watch two 1080p videos on a 2.4ghz bandwidth, there’s going to be problems. I’m taking this from experience. I can set all 5 TVs to watch a Tablo recording RN, but if I switch over to the slower network, I’ve got problems. Just because my ancient Roku Express+ plays fine with forced 2.4ghz, I’m not going to overload the band and run the rest of them on it.

In any regards, we know of only one device/STB the user is viewing Tablo content on and until he tries it on another device, it’s hard to compare variables. Many users did have the issues you’re describing, myself included, that were solved by this latest app update. As you’ve mentioned, an update fixed that – maybe he’s using an older version?

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My thought would be underpowered processor.
Just like laptops, use slower processor so it doesn’t generate as much heat.
But what do I know…

in which of the devices?

I would suspect the Tablo 4th Gen that OP was talking about.

Wasn’t sure if you meant the wifi router or the Tablo.

BTW, those Tablos get hot AF! I know others have turned theirs upside down to help cool it off, and I know when it hits 90° outside, I’ll have to do something to keep it from melting the inner components!

I have Legacy OTA 1TB Quad and it gets pretty warm.
I raised it up to get better air flow under it for disk drive.

They have fans or just passive?

Just passive.

There was another thread about the power supply being inadequate when adding a larger or bigger drive.

Equipment is designed and built to be just enough to work, all for $$$.
Put a $1 fan in it to aid cooling and prolong life and not a big deal.
However put a fan in a million units, that costs 1 million dollars now.

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Very true.

I’ve wondered about the power needed for external drives. But, the splits seem to happen on internal as well…

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I don’t know what you mean as “internet interference”?

But low end chip sets in cheap/ISP provided routers and cheap switches can a lot of issues.

Weak and low wireless signal can cause the app can crash. This is a two-way street. The Tablo is uploading, and your device is downloading internally.

I had tons of issues when I started with the Gen4 Tablo in Dec 2023, and 90% of the issues I had were internal. Once I leveled it out, my Tablo Gen4 has no VERY LITTLE issues.


Not an under powered processor.

I have had very little issues with my Gen4 against WD Black 3.5 4TB SATA HDD in a USB adapter. That mug is like 5 years old and I just popped it in. It is being powered by external power supply on the USB adapter.

I’m going to say this again, I have a Gen4 and I had issues when I first got it. If everyone would grab their go nads to investigate their internal issues, like I did. They will find out the Gen4 works really well.

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Straight up adapter? Nothing in-between it like a data/charging split cable?

A cheap Amazon 3.5 USB adapter that I’ve had for many years. That has SATA power cable, SATA data cable to USB and power cord.

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So, here’s the update.

First, all the firmware is up to date.

With the OLD Western Digital drive in place, but now the Tablo connected to the network via Ethernet, I’m not seeing the stuttering when recording two 480p programs and playing a 1080p recording. I do need to run a longer test using all 1080p streams (2 recording, one playback).

It is likely that it’s the Chromecast with Google TV dongle. It sits on the 2.4 GHz Wifi pretty much all by itself, but this does have bandwidth limitations.

I’ll give it a more extensive test in a day or so, and post results here.

Thanks for your inputs!

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