Some thoughts on Tablo

I have a four channel Tablo with a lifetime sub…

Why does the Tablo run so slow on Amazon Fire TV? It’s punishingly bad.

Just to note, HDHomeRun had a Kickstarter to add recording and NAS functionality, and they have implemented it already. Their service does the exact same thing as Tablo, but records MPG’s to the NAS and it works perfectly. If you guys refuse to address features like this, you’re just going to lose customers. Folks can’t even download the shows without running scripts.

Can’t delete files on my Android phone because it loses the menu.

Can’t run on my Kindle Fire HD because the version of Android is too old, yet I can watch it through the Plex app that runs on the Kindle Fire HD. Dumb…

When you load up a browser to watch it, you have to wait minutes for it to sync everything. Dumb…

You can’t watch anything unless you first connect the PC to the internal router. Security! But all other services like Sling don’t have this problem. So those of us with desktop computers in the office would have to haul them home to use Tablo one time. Dumb.

Two terrabyte storage limit is dumb. Write to a network location! Every device under the sun can write to a network location, but you guys are saying it’s somehow a speed issue. Sure, somebody could be moving 4k video on the same network but we have smart routers in 2015 that manage that kind of traffic flow just fine. That’s why it works on the HDHomeRun, Avermedia, Hauppauge, or just about any capture card in existence. But the Tablo can’t do it. sigh

Anyway, I’ll live with most of its failings but I’d really like to know why it runs like crap on a wired Amazon Fire TV. It’s like it has a memory leak. If I reboot the Fire, it’ll work but just gets slower and slower until it’s too painful to watch unless I reboot the Fire TV. Of course this problem doesn’t happen on any other app on the Fire TV. Just Tablo… It’s like begging me not to watch it, because if I “bother it” it works slow as molasses.

  1. Define “slow”. I have the Amazon Fire (wireless, though it is right next to my router) and it works at the same speed as my Roku 3. What actions are slow on it, and how slow are they?

  2. Deleting shows on my Android phone (Moto G 2nd gen, 5.02 OS) works just fine. What phone and OS are you using?

  3. Sync will be in the background for the next release (currently in beta), so no more waiting.

  4. Tablo Connect was designed more for ease of use and implementation, not so much for security. But the Tablo folks have acknowledged that many users would like to use un-paired devices, and it likely will be implemented at some point.

  5. 2 TB limit is gone in the next release (currently in beta). You still need an attached hard drive, but it can be any size.

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I can post up a video of the various problems so you can witness them. I don’t want to come in here and just say things are slow and not have proof. I’ll create a video of it tonight and post a link to it on YouTube so you can witness the problems firsthand.

I’ll respond later this evening with a link to the video so you can see the problem with the Fire, as well as the Android phone.

  1. Is your Tablo hard wired to your router?
  2. What is the make and model of you router?
  3. Is your Fire TV hard wired directly to your router? Or do you have any switches in line?
  4. I have a Dual Tuner and a Fire TV, and the UI is always responsive. How long does it take to start playing a recording?

I don’t know how long for the current beta to become the released version because of a problem I found on Saturday and others have confirmed it. Tablo is working on it.

I’ve provided a link to a YouTube video showcasing the problem.

Note, that the speed problem does not happen on the Roku, or the Web. Though the web does have the painful sync on first go.

I also demonstrate in the beginning how quickly the other piece of software runs without any issues. Any other Amazon Fire TV application works fine and zippy. And really, if bandwidth were an issue the videos would buffer a lot and not play, which doesn’t happen. Once they start playing, it’s fine. The skip function works fine while watching as well. It’s just the menus that are terribly slow. My house is wired with CAT6 Gigabit. All devices are wired. The router is a Western Digital My Net N900.

Video Here -

The Android calamity is at the end, as an added bonus.

Like I said, I have a four tuner with a lifetime sub. I spent a nice bit of change on the Tablo, and I’d like it to work better. As it stands right now, it’s just really frustrating and is not my first choice when watching stuff because of these performance issues. Interested in any ideas on how to make it perform better on the Fire. Android, on the other hand, doesn’t really matter to me. I rarely need to watch anything on my phone. But I thought you would want to see how it worked for me. As I imagine other customers have the same perils.

Thanks for the video. The time it takes to play a live TV show is normal. But I have never experienced anything like the rest of your video. It was a lot slower than my setup, and deleting shows (while a bit slower than doing it via web) works on my setup. The Android app crashing was very strange as well.

I recommend other FireTv users to look at this video and see if any of that is familiar. I doubt Tablo can do anything right now, since they have a whole new player for FireTv in beta right now (though the beta has some problems according to @beastman. Hopefully the new player will help you.

On your phone, are you using the standard Android web app? What happens if you just open up the chrome browser on your phone and go to

tempestb - I have Roku and Fire TV, and the Fire TV Tablo app was truly awful in my experience as well - BUT - the new 2.2.2 Beta Firmware and the Beta Fire TV app (with no external player app) is working great for me now. For the first time in my experience with Tablo, the Fire TV app seems comparable to the Roku app in performance (but has a few extra options, like sorting by newest recording).
Hopefully, when all the new software is rolled out for general release, the Fire TV issues will be a thing of the past.

I watched your 6 minute video.

  1. The time it took to tune a new channel is normal. Reason is the Tablo has to convert the OTA TV to h.264 video, buffer a stream and then play.
  2. Forensic Files, how many episodes are listed there? I saw over 300 in the list? That would explain why it takes so long to load. Can you load a show with say 10-50 episodes only?

The Tablo is really optimized for seasons, where you wouldn’t have more than 26 episodes, and usually just 13. If you have 300 episodes in a single season, it will crush loading the list and make deleting single episodes take a really long time.

Since the web interface on a PC now supports bulk delete, I recommend that you use it to get rid of at least all your watched episodes. That will help a lot.

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I have a four Channel Tablo with lifetime and never considered it running any “slower” on FireTV than PC or Roku.

HDHR DVR is definitely interesting and for many DIY whole home DVR users it will be a better solution than Tablo. Which product makes more sense ultimately comes down to whether you need streaming to Tablets/Phones or outside your home network. I don’t think HDHR can do this yet although in theory all they need to add is a new tuner which can transcode to a compatible mobile format.

As others have stated, 2TB limit and the Sync will be gone shortly.

I agree the remote login process needs to be fixed as the need for a mobile device to first connect on the home network is less than optimal

Since you seem to be an experienced user, you probably already know the FireTV makes for a relatively poor HDHR client because it doesn’t support mpeg2 decoding.

@tempestb I would love to borrow your Tablo to watch Browns games! :flushed: #goBrowns

They are working on a new FireTV app that is supposed to be better as well as new firmware. Hope it speeds things up, it does look a tad slower than my FireTVs.

There were 125. But it doesn’t matter what I watch. I just chose that one because I didn’t care if I erased the episodes. Again, problem does not happen on Roku. So I am of the mind that the Amazon Fire App is doing something odd, like maybe analyzing all the files over and over again, rather than having the data in a simple database to fetch from as needed. Just guessing at this point.

I appreciate your response. However, 300 files in a file system is nothing. A Commodore 64 using sequential file load could load data faster off a 1541 floppy then what is happening here. (And it was 125 files) What seems to be happening to me, is that the data isn’t stored in a table, and is instead being analyzed on every pass, so it’s looking through the file system to generate the list. Like maybe the Amazon Fire application isn’t using a database table and is doing something different than the other applications. I dunno, it’s weird though.

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It already does this. There is an Android app for HDHR. Works fine. Currently, for Kickstarter backers, the HDHR has a DVR setup that writes to NAS. At the moment it only works through Kodi (Which is free) to manage it. The other apps are only live TV apps, such as the Android app, but that will all change obviously. They also have full Plex support coming.

The Fire TV as a client to the mpg data isn’t a big deal, because I can point Plex at the data and it’ll handle the transcribe if needed. (The official Plex support will allow you to schedule and watch live TV, etc.) And I can run Plex on just about anything. I’m pretty sure there is a Plex app for my toaster. :wink:

It’s good that the beta and new version are going to address a lot of the problems I mentioned. Hopefully the client will speed up. I’ll just wait to see what happens. Nothing else I can do really, except buy another Roku I guess.

Thanks everyone…

As I said above, the HDHR DVR is an interesting project which has the potential to include all of the features of Tablo and a lot more but most would consider it still alpha. Requiring Plex to transcode would certainly work but is a hack and you are then back to a PC based DVR rather than a network appliance like Tablo. Its also my understanding that HDHR doesn’t have a standard EPG? That alone would be a deal breaker for many users. I’m peripherally watching the project as SD does appear to be well organized and funded. In the end, competition is good for consumers.

The HDHR product does look interesting, yes…but as I’ve discussed before, I don’t think it’s aimed at the same consumer segment as the Tablo. When you start talking about NAS’s, KODI, and PLEX…you’re talking some very niche items utilized primarily utilized by the tech-inclined among us. They aren’t mass-appeal consumer products. The average TV consumer doesn’t know what a NAS is, much less own one…and balk at the complexities of KODI and PLEX. Tablo does not, from my perspective, aim to be part of that group…they want to be far more consumer friendly and able to be set-up/maintained by the average consumer. Put another way…the HDHR product is aimed at the HTPC crowd…while the Tablo is aimed at the streaming crowd.

For that reason…I don’t think Tablo loses any sleep over what HDHR is doing. On the other hand…I’m sure they are VERY curious as to what TIVO has up their sleeves. TIVO is supposed to unveil some new product any day now. If that new product includes streaming of OTA transmissions to FireTV/Roku/android-TV…Tablo will end up on a collision course with a company that has much more name recognition.

  1. The HDHomeRun always records the native OTA format, that is MPEG2, which takes up A LOT more space than the Tablo. So 2 TB on the Tablo will have many more hours of recordings. (This is also why tuning live TV channels is a lot quicker just in case the OP was wondering)
  2. There is no native Roku support, or iOS support with HDHomeRun.

Very different beasts.

Which is larger niche, consumers who wish to stream OTA or HTPC users who wish to setup a home DVR which can accept OTA or cable content? Considering all SiliconDust needs to do is a release a new model which transcodes to a mobile compatible format and it will have all the “streaming” capabilities as Tablo plus the ability to stream protected cable content.

In my estimation…I would guess the streaming-OTA is a bigger niche right now, but they are both pretty small. I’d also guess that the OTA streaming niche will grow more quickly than the HTPC niche. The technical barriers of entry into the HTPC arena are just to high for it to suddenly take-off.

Sure, SD could add a transcoding capability…but they haven’t, and leveraging a consumer-level NAS to do that transcoding is difficult, to put it mildy…as anyone whose tried to run PLEX on a NAS can attest. The horsepower just isn’t there. They’d need to tap into a different hardware platform.

Let’s also not forget that Tablo has “displayed” a cable-card version that would, in theory, allow that cable-content streaming. If a OTA/Cable transcoding & streaming system is what you’re waiting for…Tablo would seem to have a big headstart on SD. Although, to be honest, I don’t see either of them actually doing that in the near term. The technology is the easy part…it’s the likelihood of Comcast and TWC unleashing an army of overpaid lawyers that will keep small-company products like HDHR and Tablo from doing so.