Sports at 1080i looks terrible - FireTV and Roku and Browser



It seems there are quite a few threads on this issue (see bellow), but no one has provided any information or resolution.

The problem being: Sports (anything really that’s “fast action”) where the content is being broadcasted at 1080i seems to look terrible on the Tablo, irrelevant of platform - Roku, FireTV, browser, etc.

Eliminating bandwidth/wiring/etc - no wifi, local network all ethernet cat6 with gigabit switches, which really doesn’t matter since the firetv ethernet adapter is 10Mb I believe, and the Roku is 100Mb, and the Tablo 4 tuner is 100Mb too.

Samsung TV - smoothing has been turned off, but even with on it made no difference.

The settings on the Tablo I have tried are both “1080” settings – the 720@60fps with 10Mb, and the 1080 with 8Mb – on both there is no change/difference.

I’ve tried multiple other tuners, and so far this only seems to be an issue the Tablo (I have had the Tablo 4 tuner version since June of 2015)

Here are some relevant links:

So, the question being - what is the problem and is there a fix for this (if not yet, is there one planned)? This seems like an actual problem, and as more and more OTA content is moving to 1080i (currently 11 out of 16 channels I receive), this is starting to get quite frustrating.

Here are some screenshots of what the 1080 content looks like:



What “other tuners” have you tried?

Do any of them convert the native MPEG2 video to h.264 video? That is what the Tablo does and explains the slight video quality degradation. The point of converting to h.264 was to save significant storage space and to allow playback on devices like the Roku.

Roku can not play back MPEG2 video.


I’m watching the Tablos recording of K.C. now. Mine doesn’t look like that. But it’s recorded at 720p while the broadcast is at 1080i.

And what networks have changed their broadcast feed to 1080i. Four out of six broadcast 720p. Two at 1080i.


Another thing to watch is the scoreboard at the bottom of the screen. This displays score, time, down,etc.

You might notice that it is in focus all the time while the longer game shots are much softer and the sideline shots are more in focus.


Before the Tablo I had a mythtv setup with card tuners. Ive tried homerun. Ive tried a couple no name ones from bestbuy. (One had the same issue to be fair). Ive tried the stick for the synology. Ive also tried a couple of network dvr streamers (one which I connected later to the mythtv).

Is there some way to change the encoding if the device supports it?


Around here (MA) a bit more than half seem to be in 1080i - basically all of the major networks with the exception of 1-2. Some of those have a secondary 720 version too. Ive selected the 1080i whenever available. (I can get a list when I get back if you want)

The irony is I dont even like sports, but its driving me nuts when my family watches live sports games and its choppy.

The comparison I would give - its like watching 1080p content on a 5K display full screen. It looms aweful.


Tablo does not, has not, and will never record in MPEG2 video. It is h.264 for file. So your option would be to try and record from 720p channels rather than 1080i. People tend to notice the video differences less when the encoding it from 720p to 720p rather than 1080i to 1080p.


I’m now recording both ways, mpeg2 ATSC and Tablo. If I prove there’s isn’t that big of a difference, can I have a cookie?


Your other option is to just split your antenna feed, one end directly to the HDTV for live sports. Video will be pristine.


There is a really simple solution, which I use while watching live NFL games. I hook up an antenna to my tv. But I mainly do it so that I can post online as soon as a play happens, since there is a significant delay.

I still have many Titans games on my Tablo (1080i), and they are just fine.