Success using a Flash Drive, SD Card or MicroSD with Tablo

I’ve been successfully using a 1TB Western Digital Drive with my Tablo Quad

I’d like to know if anyone has successfully used a Flash Drive with Tablo? Either a USB Flash drive, or preferably a MicroSD card with a USB adapter?

If so, what size? what brand?


Those storage formats are not compatible:

So, the Tablo DUAL 64GB OTA DVRs has what I must assume is 64GB of flash memory onboard.

If so, why can’t the other Tablo models also use flash memory?


I’d like to add only about 64GB to my older Quad because I don’t really need any more storage space than that. Also, a 64GB MicroSD with USB adapter would be low profile and I can buy one for about $15.

Also, Some MicroSD cards allow many write cycles, those designed for video recording, dashcams and such.

The memory used on the DUAL 64 is much more specialized than what comes in the average USB Flash key.

Many of those aren’t fast enough, or aren’t designed for the intense amount of read/write cycles required for recording video.

Not only that, but adding such a small amount of storage to your older 4-Tuner will mean that the Auto-Delete algorithm will not function as intended and could cause recordings to be deleted before you can watch them.

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Got it. Thanks. Seems like the Micro SD cards that are designed for video/dashcams would be adequate, but if the Tablo disallows it then I suppose I’m out of luck.

Dashcams and Video are only one continuous stream recording or being played back. Tablo can have multiple streams being recorded and played back at the same time. So different performance demand.

Your explanation makes sense.

So, I suppose the performance requirements with a 2-tuner Tablo would be less. I would certainly like to try a video performance rated Micro SD card if I could overcome the device’s objection to it :frowning:

It depends on how you define success. Rebel that I am I have been experimenting with a Dual Lite. I first used an old USB 2 jump drive without success. I then hooked up my least-likely-to-succeed laptop drive, a Utania (what?) from Cloverhitech (who?) for a few days and it worked. For a few weeks, now, I have been trying a 128 GB Samsung USB 3 flash drive without problem. Of course, I don’t know if I have ever viewed more than one stream while the Tablo was recording and it only has two tuners but so far, so good. Also, I have live and recorded bit rates set to 720 3 Mbps that keeps down reading and writing (I hope). Time will tell.

I really don’t like the extra cabling and clutter of an external drive and, thanks to Tablo Ripper I can backup any recordings that I would hate to lose should the flash drive fail. If it does, I will switch to an HD.

JEB, very interesting and precisely what I was hoping to hear.

Did you have to do anything special to format the 128GB Samsung USB 3 flash drive?

Can you post a link to the specific drive you’re using (so I can see the USB specs?)

I bought the drive from Amazon back in September of 2018. It is still available there – Samsung FIT Plus USB 3.1 Flash Drive 128GB - 300MB/s (MUF-128AB/AM). My Tablo accepted it and formatted it without complaint.

Low profile and cheap (about $25). Thanks! I’ll give it a try!

TL DR; not sure if it’s already been said in this thread, USB flash drives are not meant for heavy read and write environments like DVR recording. The life is not as long as a USB HDD, or an SSD.

So if the USB flash drive fails and you lose all your recordings, you’ve been warned. This is partly why they are not recommended.


Yup. It’s been said and I’ve been warned.

At $20 I consider it a cheap experiment for a light user.

Expensive vs cheap means different things to everyone… considering the investment cost of a tablo device, using it for a cheap experiment?

Yup. The recommended USB Flash has a 5 year manufacturer’s warranty, so we’ll see about that. This specific USB drive was designed to be left in place - not necessarily for transporting data between devices.

I’ve been installing Tablos for folks for a year or so and I’m also a 20 year TIVO owner (currently own a Tivo BOLT, a Roamio, and a couple of Minis). I’d love to have a easy, reliable, small capacity (flash) solution for light TABLO users and I’m willing to try it myself first.

The specs look pretty good for read/write video according to the manufacturer’s website:

Well, if a $20 flash drive fails I expect only to have lost the $20 flash drive, not the TABLO into which it was inserted. And if the flash drive truly fails (as in no longer works for any purpose) I’ll take advantage of the manufacturer’s 5 year warranty.

(I highly recommend heeding Nuvyyo’s advice against USB stick/flash drives)

Ok. I’ll bite.

Have you tried it?

What possible harm could come from this experiment?

I’ll say again: Nothing I record is critical. I just want to see if it works. Most people pay more for a take-out dinner than the price of this 300Mbps flash drive.

The only harm is probably frustration. Dashed expectations. That sort of thing. I guess it’s up to you. But certainly not supported.

It’s working successfully for JEB on his DUO.

I own a DUO and a QUAD (and a BOLT and a ROAMIO). I’ll try it in my two TABLOS, and compare notes with JEB in a few months.