I don’t think I’ve made your point at all, IMHO. This suggested feature would make it more complex for who, Tablo or the customer? I strongly disagree that Tablo’s existing mechanism makes remote access “as simple as possible” from the customer perspective. You are absolutely correct in that remote access isn’t technically simple, but that is for the company to take care of and make transparent for their customers. The most successful companies in tech share a commonality in the K.I.S.S. principle when applied to their customer experience and really I don’t think this feature would add a ton of additional technical complexity depending on how you implemented it.
Any friction to setup a device’s desired functionality for streaming outside the home (such as the need to sync on a LAN first or setting up a VPN) is going to frustrate the end user experience and create more support tickets for Tablo as well. There can be no reasonable argument that the current Tablo Connect setup doesn’t create support tickets (hell, I’m sure port forwarding throws some people for a loop). Nuvyyo isn’t a huge company by any means, and I understand that (Plex isn’t massive either, btw.). However, they have been around almost 10 years now and received approx. $4 million USD in their last round of funding alone. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this requested feature would be a great step forward for their existing base and allow stronger competition in the OTA DVR space as a whole which would bring great potential for company growth (gotta spend some money to make it, as the old saying goes).
From the perspective of device and user info registration, I’m fairly confident Tablo is already keeping some sort of centralized database with connection info as the app must know about the Tablo box public IP in order for Tablo Connect to work (the cookie it uses in Chrome has a CUID which appears to reference something on the backend of tablotv.com) and this info is likely used by their tech support reps as well for troubleshooting. If they already have a table that maps a given app install to a public IP that the Tablo is broadcasting on, it’s not a stretch to think they could then also associate this info with a customer’s login credentials or specific device.
Your Aereo parallels/concerns are really unfounded for a number of reasons. Primarily, any legal issue could be avoided with simple additions to the ToS stating that a user will not resell the streams or risk a ban (if this clause doesn’t exist already). Aereo’s business model was resale of OTA streams as a service using data-center infrastructure; they weren’t looking to hardware sales for their revenue so it’s much less likely that Nuvyyo could be litigated against from the same perspective. Additionally, Tablo could utilize any or all of the following to mitigate mass stream resales from even happening:
- Limit the number of concurrent streams coming from a single public IP.
- Use IP blacklisting service (i.e. MaxMind, etc.) to ensure only residential IP blocks are allowed to broadcast.
- Set a maximum number of Tablo unit registrations per guide subscription.
- Tokenize client device registration to the MAC and tuner number of the Tablo unit.
If after evaluating all of the above and finding they still don’t have the cash on hand to roll out an improved Tablo Connect they could respond in one of two ways: either offer “premium” Tablo subscription (monthly/yearly/lifetime) which includes “Easy Remote Connect” (bonus points if they partnered with a commercial VPN to offer a seamless port-forwarding-free solution for ISP NAT’ed users) or they could reply to this thread and tell us they aren’t adding the feature after all Because again, my primary frustration in posting here has to do with the attitude that “yes, the feature is coming” when in reality they appear to have no intention of adding it.