Surround sound issue

My problem is that not all my TV’s support surround via the Tablo box, not to mention my ‘Dolby’ laptop for some reason. If I enable surround on the Tablo, I get nothing on the older TV, so I have to use ‘regular’ sound.

Netflix, Amazon, and such all can adjust for this as I get sound on all devices (surround on the capable ones).

Why can’t Tablo build in something that will record in surround, but if a device can’t handle it, play it in stereo/mono?

If memory serves, I think it is because they are only capable of recording one audio stream. I believe the other services you mention have multiple audio streams available. I’m not sure if Tablo’s limitation is a space issue or a processing issue. Or perhaps they just haven’t gotten around to supporting the recording of multiple streams or the playback of a choice of recorded audio streams.

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5.1 Surround Sound

Once you enable the Surround Sound feature, your Tablo will deliver this audio profile to all your devices, whether that device has the capacity to decode surround sound or not.

Tablo doesn’t build the devices that can or can’t.

Devices that cannot decode surround sound – like many Android smartphones - will receive video, but no audio.

Suggest it’s a “two piece” issue -

Supported streaming set-top-boxes, sticks, or mobile devices must have the appropriate device-level passthrough settings enabled and (if applicable) be connected to a device (TV and/or audio device) that can decode 5.1 Surround Sound.

First need a streaming device with proper settings… the device capable of playing 5.1 – and a “3rd party” to know both are playing together? Probably a massive headache.

Headache or not, when you have a device that is supposedly capable of streaming to multiple platforms/devices, you should never put in a ‘feature’ that doesn’t take this into account and allow for usage across all platforms. I bet there are many, many people that can’t use surround sound because of this issue. Just saying ‘sorry’ is wrong, they should figure out a way.

I had to switch my soundbar with my A/V receiver due to lip syncing issues while using the Tablo. Again, only Tablo was exhibiting this behavior, other services were not. Anyway, when switching to my A/V receiver, I’ve found that Tablo thinks this isn’t a surround sound device, so no sound. Yeah, right… while it’s older, it certainly has surround sound capability.

Don’t get me wrong, I really like my Tablo, I would just like to see them fix things that are broken before moving on to other features.

Yes, tablo kind of comes one-size-fits all… and, well that’s not always going to work for everyone - everywhere.

Many at least several users often come here with issues concerning “shortcomings” concerning their tablo, including myself. Your surround sound, across multiple devices seems challenging to work around - most are just annoyances.

As you noted, tablo isn’t all bad, it does a fairly decent job at what it’s designed to do… particularly when accepting it’s various UI constraints.

What playback device? This isn’t specific to the Tablo app. For example on the Roku, it can auto-detect the wrong audio settings. This can be manually fixed under the Roku system settings. So it is not the settings in the Tablo app.

I completely disagree. This was done because so many users said “Give me surround sound, even if it doesn’t work on all devices”. The users here were willing to live with this limitation (or at least claimed to).


Some things to consider. Recently I had an HDMI cable giveaway me problems between the Roku Tablo app and my Denon AVR. Swapping cables and following the suggestions I saw onscreen seemed to have fixed the problem.

Well, it may have been a “Give me surround…”, but I bet the ‘doesn’t work on all devices’ was taken as surround wouldn’t work on all devices, not that audio wouldn’t work if a device didn’t support surround. Anyway, it’s just a PITA as implemented.

IMHO, the issue is “surround sound” and total lack of “good implementation” across the board.

It’s a passthrough hack. It’s like:

I want surround sound.

“Oh, we never thought of that, the protocols and codecs don’t support it. Let’s just pass through whatever crap you want to passthrough and hope for the best.”

But, there’s a gazillion standards (i.e. there is no standard).

“We’ll just pass it through and hope you can deal with it on your end.”

Essentially, this IS what surround sound is today (regardless of Tablo, etc.)


I agree with this. The surround sound audio from the Tablo is the untouched 5.1 AC3 audio track from the OTA stream that is passed through to your HDTV or AVR.

The HDTV OTA tuner can decode the 5.1 AC3 audio so you can hear audio.

Because your playback device can’t decode the audio cause it doesn’t have a AC3 codec isn’t the fault of the Tablo. But almost all HDTVs and AVRs can decode 5.1 AC3 audio passed through to it. If you’re not hearing audio it’s cause you have not set up your configuration properly, which again has nothing to do with the Tablo directly.

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