Signal Strength required for Tablo

I am considering buying a Tablo but I live in a fairly rural area about 27 miles from the major network’s HD towers. There is a mature tree farm in back of my property and the forestry company is harvesting and replanting in the next year or two. I have only been able to get a watchable signal by stacking two 8 bay bowtie antennas, but the signal has no dropouts with me splitting the signal 2 ways. My question is, will a Tablo work with signal strength in the 30-50% range currently giving me a stable picture? Could some of you tell me your signal strengths as reported by your HDTV’s.
I would like to ditch cable now, things will only improve after the trees are cut.
Thanks for any hard numbers you can give me on signal strength.

The Tablo has a 1x4 amplified splitter in it. There is some signal loss still so if you are having signal issues now on your HDTV tuner you will have the same on the Tablo. The Tablo tuner is no better than your HDTV tuner. I have actually found it a little worse which is understandable given the splitting that occurs.

Can you run a direct line to the Tablo straight from the antenna? No splitters in line.

I have a great picture with the 3 major networks on my Panasonic plasma. I just removed the splitter to check the signal strength without it and ABC, NBC, and CBS all still have below 50% strength. I am using a Winegard LNA-200 amp with my 2 stacked 30-240 MCM (Stellar Labs) antennas. The Tablo would be connected from the antenna through quad shielded RG6 coax directly to the Tablo. IF the Tablo will operate with a weaker signal that is working fine on a Panasonic set then will I be okay. I haven’t purchased the Tablo yet because I wonder if some of the current users report low signal strength numbers that work okay with Tablo.
FWIW, my son lives closer to the towers and all numbers are 80-100% signal strength, but some channels still pixelate badly. Is the Tablo tuner able to work with a signal that gives a great picture on a Panasonic, but the signal strength numbers are low?

HDTV tuners are not generic so the signal strength numbers do vary sometimes. If with the antenna directly to the HDTV you do not get any pixelation the Tablo should be fine.

Where is your Winegard LNA-200 pre-amp? It should be very close to the antenna.

Your best bet is to purchase the Tablo from somewhere that has a return policy and test it out. You do not need a USB hard drive to test being able to scan channels and watch Live TV.

My pre-amp is located right in back of the lower panel on the antenna mast (see photo if it attached ok). I will think about this and probably buy a 4 tuner Tablo online at a store that has a 30 day return. Thanks for your help.

Nice setup.

Amazon has 30 day return and great service.

For what it’s worth, I have observed considerable differences between tuners at my location. I’m relatively close to most of the local transmitters, but I live in a wooded area, and the trees definitely wreak havoc. In the analog TV days, this could easily be seen as ghosts and shadows. Not so easy with digital tuners though. A few devices with digital tuners reveal signal quality (as opposed to just signal strength), and that cab be very useful when positioning an antenna or evaluating other antenna or feed-line issues.

Sadly, the Tablo interface does not seem to have this functionality. But even if it does/did, it’s not of much use unless it is displayed in real time. Tablo might take a hint from the HDHomeRun on this feature…there is a (third-party?) iPhone app that shows both signal strength and signal quality in near-real-time. One can observe the performance on multiple channels at the same time, making it easier to compromise in case one antenna heading is not ideal for all channels.

If I didn’t already have a tuner that had this kind of tuning aide, I’d be in trouble with the Tablo. With that said, my experience so far suggests that the 4-tuner Tablo performs very well compared to all of the others that I have tried. It is probably on a par with the HDHomeRun, which is also relatively good, but I feel that the Tablo may do a better job of dealing with very strong signals. For example, I had to insert a 16 dB attenuator in the line to the HDHomeRun in order to get the best results.

On the same connection, the Tablo just didn’t seem to care. Lacking a better tuning utility, I went ahead and put the same attenuation in front of the Tablo as well, but it sure would be nice to have better information to work with. For example, my local NBC (channel 35) has always been troublesome. It’s fine until the wind blows, at which point it sometimes drops out. If I had more information, maybe I could find an antenna position that works better for that channel.

My antenna is a 20-year-old Channel Master Quantum, which was legendary in its day for multipath rejection, but time takes its toll. It still looks fine, but perhaps there are some better options now. At least it could be newer. Then again, this is not a new problem, so if the Quantum has a problem with channel 35, then it has always had that same problem. Actually, NBC was on 31 before digital d-day, but maybe that’s close enough to have the same problem. Or maybe it’s just that there are a million trees in the exact direction of their transmitter. 26 and 39 both seem fine, and they are both in almost identical directions, so it does seem strange that 35 would cause so much more trouble.

Anyway, I do wish the Tablo would reveal more signal info. It would be great to be able to take advantage of the potentially superior tuner.

I asked a similar type of question(s) and got zip from Tablo, so don’t expect anything.

To be fair, TV reception is kinda voodoo IMHO, and you gotta take your chances sometimes. As someone said earlier, you can always return the Tablo if the reception isn’t what you want/need.

Thanks for the replies, I agree it is like voodoo trying to get a reliable signal with a lot of trees in my path. Over the last several days I have tried many positions for my antennas. I can usually get 40 - 50% signal strength on ABC, CBS, and NBC but I still get dropouts occasionally. It’s best if the wind isn’t blowing and it’s raining slightly. The only good thing is the reception is better at night when I would be recording. I may buy a 4 tuner Tablo if I can find a good 4th of July sale.

I have a Mohu Leaf 50 indoor antenna, and found it makes a difference in what I receive. I moved the antenna and Tablo to the bedroom to get some additional channels that were not coming in in the living room. I live in an apartment.

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