Should I setup tablo or wait for hard drive?

Hello all I recently purchased a tablo and am looking forward to cutting the cord with all of you. The issue I am running into is as follows:

  • I am not receiving all of the OTA channels I should so I am having an antenna installed by a professional tomorrow.
  • I will receive my tablo today but the Elements HDD I purchased will not be here till tomorrow likely after the antenna is setup.

The question I am running into is should I have the tech setup the antenna and test the signal receipt through my tv or should I setup the tablo with another hard drive and test the signal through it (then reset the device and re-setup with new HDD)?

Thanks for any advice.


The tech should have a field meter to optimize the position of the antenna but I would still set it up through the Tablo when the tech is there. That way if you need any pre-amps or amps to compensate for the multiple tuners in the Tablo splitting your signal the tech should be able to install what you need and leave with you knowing the setup is good.

You can watch live TV without the HDD. Once you get your HDD you will not need to re-do the setup. Just plug it in and the Tablo interface will say something like “HDD Not Formatted” and it will walk you through formatting the HDD and you will be all set.


Yes definitely do a channel scan with the antenna installer there and watch live TV and make sure there is no pixelation. The HDTV tuner is different than the Tablo tuner.

I wasn’t aware you could get live tv without the hard drive. I thought it was required to start using the device. Does it have onboard memory for its own settings or do you just act like your setting it up and add the HDD later?

What you need the HDD for is to FF and RR live TV as well as record but you can set it up and watch live TV without it just fine.

Correct only 1 tuner works without an HDD.

Thanks for all the advice everyone I was able to check signals perfectly before antenna setup was complete. All full bars for networks plus an additional 20 channels I never saw before :wink:

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What OTA antenna did you end up getting?

I believe he put in an antennacraft HD1342 or newer equivalent. I didn’t purchase the antenna myself after unsuccessful attempts with a mohu sky and indoor antenna. Pre and post amped. Getting great signal so far unit in my attic didn’t see any issues at all two nights ago when there were crazy storms and tornado warnings in the area. Hope its good signs to come.

What are the preamp and amp? Where are each located?

I’m curious for future setup recommendations.