Sanity check to deal with pixilation - AppleTV

After introducing Tablo into my AppleTV based system I now have many stations which are pixelating. When my antenna is cabled directly into the TV, I get 0 pixilation.

After a little thought I am guessing that my Netgear R7000 nighthawk router is probably struggling trying to keep up with high content motion. This router is not line of sight with my Tablo/AppleTv that are placed side to side. The router is about 9 paces away around the corner and down the hall. I am using 5GB capability.

My strongest antenna signal (which is really strong ~61Dbv) measured with my Digiair Pro signal strength meter pixelated at a heavy rate yesterday. So this raises a few questions I have about how Tablo actually works.

  1. When I play OTA content to my HDTV through my AppleTV, I believe the sending of the data travels from my Tablo to my router, and then from the router back to AppleTV for display. That is, the WIFI packets have to be repeated and travel double the distance, through the same wall twice via round trip to reach my AppleTV. Does it really work this way? Or does the Tablo IP communicate directly with the local IP of the AppleTV?

  2. If I run my OTA cable to where my router is and instead place my Tablo next to my router, then cable connect the two together, I would be reducing by half the Wifi path to my AppleTV. Is this correct? I am guessing I would greatly reduce the chances of pixilation.

  3. I am also wondering about the stability of my router. Amazon has it rated pretty high however I have experienced issues in the past. Namely, when editing a video from my Vista laptop using MSFT screen sharing that is sourced from my desktop Win7 system. What happens is the screen starts to freeze, I loose the screen share, and then my whole WIFI network is down. I have to go to the router and reboot the WIFI. Does this indicate I have a flakey router?

  4. What can I do to minimize any WIFI channel conflicts with the surrounding neighbors? Could this be causing said flakeyness?


Actually, I would highly discourage connecting the Tablo directly to the router - instead, connect the Tablo to the router via an Ethernet switch (packet flooding is known to occur with live video streams (although primarily with MPEG2 streams)) . I would also ensure that you are only using the 5GHz band for your wireless connection to the Apple TV - again a preferred connection would be through a wired switch to the Apple TV, not a wireless connection. I have the same setup Netgear R7000, Apple TV 4 w/Tablo app - all hard wired - Zero connection/pixelation issues. Works flawlessly! Using a laptop(MBP15) or iPad Air 2 or iPhone 6 - again, no issues streaming over 5GHz network either.

Hi Hotrod.

I have no experience using Ethernet switches. Is this how it works…

  1. Use Cat5E with a single Gigabit Ethernet switch.
  2. Tablo output to the switch.
  3. Available router port also wired to the switch
  4. Apple TV port wired to the switch.

This is the best of any configuration?

Problem is it would be really murder for me to run a Cat5e to where my AppleTV is.

Would not any open router ports act in the same way?

Thanks !

Hello @DaMonster

Yes, you got it figured out with steps 1-4. That has shown the best performance with this or any other Network TV Hardware devices/setups (HDHomeRun/Tablo).

If you can’t run Cat5e to the Apple TV, at least get the Tablo and router talking through a gigabit switch and the Apple TV on a strong 5GHz signal, then test from there.

Open router ports will act differently as you are using a) different subnets for IP traffic routing and b) potentially much lower bandwidth as supplied by the Tablo remote streaming quality.

Hope that helps.

99% sure Pixelation has nothing to do with the router or connection. I am not 100% because I havent used Tablo on an Apple TV and so it is possible it is different.

I have, however, used it on other apple products (IPhone & IPad) as well as Roku, multiple PCs, Chromecast and Roku. All the devices I HAVE used it on, pixelation is antenna signal, period. If you have a connection issue you will get disconnects, repeats of video , black screens, loading please wait screens, etc.

Keep in mind that the Tablo has a 4 way splitter, that will significantly reduce the signal (~7db). Probably want to try an inline amp.

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Last night with a little effort I was able to bring my router out of the room using long cables so that it was more or less line of sight with the AppleTV. No more pixilation after 20-30min of viewing. I then placed it back in the original location and some of the pixilation returned. This pretty much says it all. I have now proven that router transmission paths do matter.

I should be able to improve this like I wrote before. That is, re-locate Tablo in the room next to the router and hardwire it with a Gigabit switch. The switch plus the reducing of the number of pass through walls the signal travels via the round trip will get reduced from 6 to 3 and should help. Lets see. I need to get a hold of some more good coax, RG11. I will report back after all is said and done.

RG11 is only for feeder runs by the cable company. Use RG6 in your house.

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Sorry mate, not clear to me if your Tablo and Apple TV are wired or wifi. Someone posted they got better wifi signals by moving their devices a few feet apart. Maybe you can give that a go.

Thanks, I did not know that. Since I already made the order, there is no problem with me using it, right?

They were wifi-ed. Am setting them up to be wired now.

Putting more distance between the boxes is also worth a try. But you know after thinking about it, even if it worked, I am not so thrilled about having even more devices all transmitting at the same time, creating possibly an unhealthy living environment in my house. There is no data on this that I know so I feel it is probably better to try and keep the activity to a minimum. So I am committed to doing the wiring now. Thanks !

RG11 is about 4 times the size of RG6. None of your connectors are going to work.

The RG11 arrived and the connectors do work. I placed a line link (connects two lengths of male cable ends) and it screws perfectly into the ends of the cabling.

The cabling is expensive and I got it via Amazon:

Oh, you bought a cable with connectors already on it. If you were installing the connectors yourself you would have had issues. Waste of money, but it’s yours to waste.