Soon to be new owner, looking for tips

Due to the friendly fast responses from support related to “pre-sales questions”, and the desire to get away from a stack of DVD-RWs which can’t be reused until you have watched ALL shows and then reformat the whole DVD, and the Amazon sale prices, I took the plunge.
I ordered a 4 tuner model (as we often find that there are 3 or 3 things to record while we are gone for the evening, or my wife wants to watch something we’ve recorded while we record a couple of other shows, etc.
We have MotoX phones, Kindle Fire (3rd gen I think, it’s my wife’s device), NO APPLE devices at all, no iPad, no iPhone, etc. We also have a notebook running W7 64bit and a desktop 6 core 10 gig RAM computer running W7 64bit.
The home network is a cell modem (since we can’t get cable where we live) acting as our WiFi/router and due to the layout of the house, I have a repeater which grabs the WiFi from the cell modem and rebroadcasts it at other parts of the house. The repeater is thus also a hotspot as well as having an Ethernet port which I run to my 10/100/1000 8 port switch.
I am an IT specialist, have been in IT specializing in computer and network security for over 20 years and lately maintain the remote office connections at work so am not new to networking.

The main use will be recording OTA and playing back to our 3 TVs, although likely only 1 or 2 TVs at a time since there’s just the 2 of us.
The 2 newer TVs have HDMI, the older one which is an early flat screen TV from Toshiba doesn’t have a digital tuner or HDMI. It was in the weeks prior to TVs coming standard with those.

Now to the questions - since I don’t like things that force me to buy services or have yet ANOTHER online account and like things simple, I can’t see myself doing Roku for getting the playback to the TV.
I don’t want to have to have a Roku account just to stream recorded shows to a TV.
We don’t have Roku and frankly don’t have the Internet bandwidth to support any such need so it would be a waste, IMO, to buy one of their devices simply to stream shows to internally.
I note that to just use their device for the Tablo to broadcast to you have to have a Roku account - I know the account itself is free but it’s another things to hassle with. (Not everyone is a Roku user so I’m wondering why Tablo concentrated on that device as if it’s the defacto device all tech people have in great numbers. In fact until last year I’d never heard of it and no other IT person I worked with used it… )
We are Amazon customers for their books, music and just plain buy a lot of stuff through them and my wife has her Kindle Fire but I note that Tablo doesn’t support “broadcasting” to the new Amazon device.

That sort of leaves Chromecast which I have read is yet another problem in that Tablo can’t broadcast or stream directly to Chromecast. I see you must use an Android device, stream to that and then echo the screen to the Chromecast device if I am “getting” it correctly.

So to keep it REALLY simple, and keep costs down too, of course as isn’t that one of the whole reasons for Tablo, what’s the best solution to get recorded shows from Tablo to one of our TVs, perhaps 2 TVs at any given time at the most, but normally, 90% of the time, stream to a single TV.
No Apple devices, that leave that out.
Roku one must have an account, the cost is twice that of other hardware and it’s not as clean an interface from what I see or hear.
Chromecast, but you have to stream to another device first, and I hate not being able to use my notebook while the TV is being watched and my wife wouldn’t give up her Kindle use so we could watch TV.

There are some Tablo owners who have it all figured out and are having great luck from what I read in the Amazon and other reviews - so hit me with your best solution suggestions for our scenario.
I have not ordered anything BUT the Tablo 4 tuner device itself. I’m about to order a drive but will hold off on the device to “stream to” based on feedback here.
Maybe some will convince me I’m not thinking straight on the Roku part, or maybe someone knows of the LATEST from Tablo that changes everything I’ve read to date…

I love start-ups, love small companies, that’s another reason I’m here.

Oops, meant to say the repeater is an access point, not “hotspot”, but it’s acting like the hotspot in a way. My old “wired” computer can go through our switch to hit the repeater which then goes to the cell modem/hotspot. The wireless computers and Kindle to either directly to the cell modem/hotspot or to the repeater then the cell modem. (assuming that makes sense)

Just a little history, and the Tablo folks can correct me if I am wrong.  The Tablo was originally designed to work with Apple products.  Users would use their iPad for portable use and stream to AppleTv to watch shows on their TV.  It was also designed to compete directly with SimpleTv, so the Roku, web, and Android interfaces were added just before the Tablo was released.


Amazon FireTV didn’t even exist at the time, though the first iteration came out not too long after the Tablo was released.  The Chromecast API was released right around the time the Tablo was first shipped, and it took a while to even get that working. It still is limited to Android devices and PCs with Chrome when using a Tablo.

The Chromecast has always needed another device (tablet, phone, or PC) to use as a remote and to initiate the stream.  

You have a few choices to get the Tablo to work with your TVs.  
1. Use your MotoX phones to stream to Chromecasts attached to your TVs
2. Use your laptop to stream to Chromecasts attached to your TVs.
3. If your laptop has HDMI, connect to a TV directly and use the web app on your laptop.

The tricky part is whether your network is strong enough to support a Tablo.  What speeds are you getting on your internal network?  1080p uses 10Mbps, 720p uses 5 Mbps, and 720P Roku/Chromecast is 3 Mbps (I think).  If it can support at least one of those, you should be good.




Wow, thanks snowcat! GREAT informative and fast response. The histories and such help. Yeah, I figured with the name “Tablo” it was intended for tablets but they were wise and saw the smoke in the air from the rest of us fed up with the subscriptions and services required just to watch TV, etc.

We have our phones from before we got the MotoX phones and wondered about using one of those just for streaming. The cell phone part is obviously not functional since the service was moved to the newer phones but the data part, the network parts, that all works fine. I can’t recall the Android OS version on them. That would allow a SMALL device, much smaller than a notebook, to sit around for that purpose.
My network devices are mostly newer and the WiFi does anything from 78 up to over 100 Mbps depending on distance from the repeater, etc. The wired can do 1000 although I think the repeater port which is also the router is 100 only. Devices plugged into my switch can communicate directly with each other at 1000. Example - file from desktop to notebook (if it’s on the wire) can utilize the switches 1000 as the network interfaces are also 1 gig interfaces.
I could also plant the Tablo near the repeater as that’s where the TV antenna all comes in and goes to my splitter. (single roof antenna with cable running into a wiring closet to a splitter then off to the TV jacks, that closet also has my 110 punch-down and cross-connects and is where the repeater is.) The cell modem is on the main level in the kitchen. My desktop is in my office in our finished basement but the cell modem WiFi signal isn’t strong enough to reach it, thus the repeater.
This is where we charge our cell phones, where the BlueTooth gateway is and where the cell modem/hotspot sits (trim not installed yet, don’t look too closely! Assuming the image actually shows)

It looks like for “testing” and setup I could wire my notebook to the TV directly using HDMI then - at least until something else is decided or purchased…?

(Kitty reminds me of a fluffier version of my Punkin who we lost 3 years ago at 19 years.)

Glad to help!


As long as those phones are Android and have at least OS version 4.1.0 on them, you should be able to use them to stream the Tablo to Chromecast.  Using your laptop directly hooked up to your TV will be a good way to set up the Tablo initially as well as test how it looks on a TV.

It sounds like your internal wi-fi is good for the Tablo.  It will go out to the internet once a day to update the 2 week program guide, but that requires very little internet speed.  Also, if you can hook your Tablo into router/repeater directly, you should have a better experience than if it is wi-fi.  The Tablo’s Ethernet port is only 10/100.

When you get the Tablo, I would set it up initially for the 720p Roku/Chromecast quality.  If that works fine for a week or two, you can bump it up to regular 720p.  1080p may be too much for the Chromecast (consequence is multiple buffering messages during a show).  

There really isn’t a good solution for your TV without HDMI, but it doesn’t sound like you are too concerned about it. 


For that TV without HDMI I do have the ability to stream to the main desktop which sits right around the corner from that TV and then cable the PC to the TV using another set of cables I have which allow it to be used as a monitor. Doable, done before to watch video I had captured off the web to that computer’s drive (I have an app that captures any videos being played and it saves them to the drives of that computer and I can play them later)


The Tablo arrived and it’s impressive how small it is and yet how well built it feels just handling it. It’s not some cheap feeling thing with loose parts. I also appreciated the “Made in Canada” label on it. (I hope they make a go of it and are extremely successful)

Setup went well. It worked with the WiFi for setup with no issues. In fact, the setup was done in about 3 or 4 minutes, then it downloaded the program guide (that took a while but the modem had kicked down to 3g speeds) and then it grabbed the latest update and restarted. This AM I found it was not reconnected to the network and I had to “reboot” it then it was fine.
I need to find out how much traffic that program guide is as we pay per gig and I may have to up the account - going over our monthly limit is pricey but if I up our limit it’s cheaper to just pay for a higher limit than to pay for going over.
Anyone know how much bandwidth, what sort of traffic or file sizes are involved in the guide? Is that like a gig a month, for example? If so I need to up the contract amount!
 I may have to do some other home network rework as when the cell mode is in the 3G mode it limits connections to 5, when in 4G mode it will take 10 - and around here 4G is iffy at times meaning 5 devices. Chromecast takes 1, Tablo takes 1, my desktop 1, notebook 1 and the Kindle. that’s 5 right there, not counting a smart phone, etc.

Next step - figure out how to play something! LOL - it’s set up and accessibly, ready to go, I could likely program something to record in the next 30 seconds but then I hit the “ok, so now what?” part and the quick-start has 0 on that, and the online manual is pretty much the same.  I find no step-by-step for “how to play what you have recorded” unless it’s Roku.
I’m going to do a search for how to get it to play or stream to a device then figure how to get the device to play through the Chromecast.
I did play a YouTube video through the Chromecast and it worked fine. 

Once this is all set up and working I might move it to the closet where the connections for antenna and network are - it’s cool in that room as it’s in the finished basement, it’s next to my switch, AP and repeater and it’s next to the splitter for the antenna. Rarely ever need to actually “touch” it so it could go literally ANYWHERE! I could also run the 3’ Cat5e cable it comes with right to my switch so it wouldn’t need WiFi to get TO the network.