SageTV vs TabloTV

As a longtime SageTV user I decided the other week to invest in a Tablo. I have been watching all competitors very closely since Google purchased SageTV in 2011. At this point there seems to be nothing to come out of that acquisition so I fear that eventually my SageTV software will stop working. I have had the Tablo for a very short time, but decided to do a quick comparison of the two products for SageTV users in case they are interested in moving too. Overall my assessment is that Tablo has come out of the shoot strong with a viable product, but has some features it needs to add to draw others like myself from the SageTV platform. Good job Tablo!

Here is my configuration:

SageTV setup
Dell Computer running Sage server
HDHomeRun PLUS Dual Network dual tuner
Sage HD100 and HD20 Media Extenders

TabloTV Setup
TabloTV with Seagate Harddrive
Roku 3
Apple TV 3
Various tablets

Hardware - Tablo
- Tablo is by far the winner here. The tiny footprint made by Tablo and a slim hard drive is phenomenal. Sage requires PC hardware and some type of tuner to run it.
Interface  - Tablo
- The Tablo interface on all platforms is fantastic and very modern looking, taking advantage of the tiles-like interface. Tablo shines particularly on the iOS platform. Its support of so many platforms, including a web interface, at delivery is impressive. The Roku interface has some work to be done, but that platform is limited anyway.
- The SageTV interface is solid, but is looking dated. Sage is very extensible and has some really nice modern interfaces that can be added. 
EPG - Sage
Both have a 14 day electronic programming guide. Sage gets the nod here because it was free out of the box (since Google buyout waiting to see how long EPG lasts) and Tablo has a monthly fee (optional lifetime payment).

Managing Recordings - Draw
Both have the concepts of managing recordings including setting a favorite. While Sage's interface is a little more developed the awesome Tablo interface makes this a draw.

Plugin/Extensibility - Sage
- Sage has a plugin architecture to extend the base program. Some of the more favorite  plugins are commercial skip (Tablo PLEASE add this) and Web interface. It gets the nod here.

Placeshifter - Tablo
Both have the concept of watching recordings away from home. Sage has Placeshifter and Tablo allows you to pair a tablet to watch away from home. Configuring Sage Placeshifter is a little bit of work and Tablo's ease of use make it the winner here.

Navigating recordings - Sage

Sage has this beat hands down. Skipping is probably THE most important way to navigate a recording (unless you have comskip). Skipping is consistent on all clients and smooth as silk. Plus there are two skip modes which are configurable. Tablo suffers from not being able to control how navigation is done on their different clients. So navigating is still a little rough. IMHO skip should be at the top of Tablo's feature list.

Sage also supports the idea of resume playback. Tablo currently does not, but I believe is on their backlog.

Media Extenders - Tablo
- Tablo supports most modern media extenders directly or through broadcast via AirPlay or Chromecast. I assume more to come.
- The SageTV extender set-top boxes are still super solid, extending Sage to any TV via HDMI. However, you can't buy a new one and good luck finding a used one if it breaks.

Great write up. and I have a few things to add. just can’t right now.

Ill add ASAP.

Just cross-posted to the SageTV forums referencing this post, found here. Some good discussion there as well.

Thanks @PiX64 for participating in the SageTV forums to answer questions about Tablo. To the @TabloTV team, I think it is worth noting that SageTV is probably the best PVR software/hardware solution remaining in the market. Although it has grown stagnant since the Google acquisition the features that were built up to version 7 make Sage a full and rich product. My point? By looking at the SageTV feature set and seeing the questions SageTV users are asking about Tablo can help you build an even better product!

@tomanak - We’ve got lots of plans on how to make Tablo even more awesome and we’ll do our best to keep pushing additional features and improvements. We’ll definitely check out the Sage forums for ideas. 

@tomonak - I still have plans to add my thoughts here, just haven’t found the time to sit down and do that.  Yet i find time to answer others questions, and what not… oh well.  Anyways yeah I agree 100%  The SageTV feature set is incredible and I for one would be more than willing to have an open dialogue (open forum or closed communication) with the TablotTV team regarding features that SageTV has, how its implemented, etc.

I still have my SageTV server (although its not running right now thanks to TabloTV) That I would also be willing to grant Tablo devs access to… Not sure if that is legal or not but whatever :slight_smile:

@PiX64 - Thanks for the offer! 

We’ve got lots to keep us busy for the short term, but we’ll let you know if we want to poke around.

My nod goes to Tablo… Due to commitment and innovation. Google is all about the next new idea and they end up pulling the plug on yesterday’s new ideas. Had google voice, they pulled the plug. Don’t know the Tablo team, but it is apparent they intend to be the best at OTA tv,dvr, and cutting the cord. From what I see they are smart, innovative, committed, and willing to listen and support the product. Gotta bet on that horse to win the race every time.

@goforit111 Oh, stop. You’re going to make us blush. :smiley: