Switching from Tablo 2/4 to Engine thoughts?

We currently have a Tablo 2 and working pretty well but considering the switch to Shield/Engine. I am curious if anyone here has made that switch and their feedback if they’d recommend it right now given how new Engine is or if they have had any downsides to the switch. Obvious reasons we’d like the idea of the switch is for quicker channel changing, 5.1 and I realize that we wouldn’t be able to stream anymore which we’re fine with (we have Plex setup for that). We came from a Tivo setup and thought this might mimic that a bit better.

Really all we’re hoping for is reliable series recording and live tv watching. We’ve had decent luck w/ the 2 that we have now so just curious if there are any known hiccups w/ Engine that would be worth holding off on for now

I was fortunate enough to be a Beta tester for the Engine before it’s release and have been using it alongside an 4-tuner I’ve had for over 3 years. I’ve listed a few positives/negatives for the Engine compared to the OG Tablo below that I have seen over the past months of use:


  • Speed - The Engine is much faster when tuning in both Live TV and recordings. Live TV starts within a second and recordings will restart after a fast-forward instantaneously.
  • Sound - Having surround sound is an improvement over stereo for a number of programs, mostly movies, action TV shows and sports. The volume also isn’t as “low” as from the OG so no turning up the volume to compensate.
  • Interface - The interface is an improvement over the current Android TV interface. Tablo is working to update the current Android TV interface so that it matches the Engine.
  • Picture Quality - This could be a placebo effect but both my wife and I believe the Engine looks a little better.


  • Stability - The Engine isn’t quite as stable as the OG. Every so often I will miss a recording on the Engine but it is infrequent. There are also random times it will freeze and require a forced closure of the app but again it is infrequent. If you have issues with power outages you will want to add a UPS as once the Shield reboots, it requires you to confirm the Engine can use the USB tuner each time. It will also not start to record a program already in progress. I was told by the support team that this is a current limitation in the Android software. I have also had random times when thumbnails haven’t been produced.
  • Picture stability - I have some issues with picture artifacts on the Engine while the watching the same program is OG is fine. I haven’t been able to figure out the exact problem myself or with support help. I don’t believe it is a tuner sensitivity issue as all channels constantly show 5 bars or a strong signal. I see more of the issue with Live TV particularly when recording another program at the same time. This makes me think it might possibly be a limitation where the hardware or software isn’t quite able to keep up. If you watch most of your TV recorded you probably won’t notice this issue at all.
  • Number of tuners - As you currently have a 2-tuner this probably won’t be a problem for you but I know there are times when we record a couple programs and watch another.
  • Interface - The current interface doesn’t have all of the features yet from the current Android TV or Roku app. You can still interface with it from the web browser to have all functionality.
  • Subscription - There is no option for a lifetime subscription.

Overall we use the Engine mostly now for main viewing in the living room and only utilize the OG Tablo if the stability issues I mentioned give us a problems where a show didn’t record. If you have any other questions, please let me know.

1 Like

thank you for the very detailed response here. that is exactly what i was looking for. matching up the features 100% to the OG tablo i’m not really concerned with as long as Engine can get to live tv and view recordings (and set recordings of course). the more advanced stuff we can do on the web interface. one thing i forgot to ask, w/ Engine can you use the app outside your home to set recordings or what limitations do you have there? right now w/ the OG i can set recordings, and view/manage current recordings. obviously since its not a network setup like OG you cant view live tv and recordings but what ARE you able to do w/ the app w/ Engine inside your home network and out?

the stability is the main concern i think as we came from a really stable tivo environment so the little hiccups we see now w/ OG and our Fire TV setup are already getting negative attention from the rest of the family so i’d hate to introduce engine to fix some issues and then bring in new ones.

thanks again for the help!

No problem, glad to help another fellow Tablo user! The base interface is good to watch and set recordings as I mentioned before with the web to be used for more advanced scheduling and tuner work. The web app is identical to the web app on the OG. That said, most of the missing features are filters for sorting shows, movies, sports, etc. that are in the current Android app.

The Engine doesn’t have the capability for connect/outside viewing or setting of recordings. I honestly haven’t used the feature on the OG as I live in a rural area outside of a city and have limited internet options and speed, ie… 1 mbps upload.

I can’t say much about use with the Fire TV but my OG has been rock-stable for the last two years of use. There were some limited stability issues in the first year as they were continually adding features and improving items. I’ve always been able to have my unit hardwired as well as the streaming box which helps with the experience. I also switched to a Shield about two years ago from a Roku 3 and that was a big improvement in speed and stability. We still have the Roku hooked up but only use it for one application that is not available on Android TV.

The limited stability issues I’ve had with the Engine mentioned above haven’t created any heartburn with the family to date. Most of the items mentioned have been more of me nitpicking things as they are not perfect yet. I know that they will continually be improving the Engine from what I seen over 3 years of use on the OG. The Engine will be more like the Tivo you came from in terms of response and speed.

Where you already have a 2-tuner do you plan to keep it for a short time period? I don’t find myself using ours much except for backup of recordings, pulling recordings with third-party programs, and web viewing on the computer or tablets when the kids are watching other things on the TV.

Let me know what you end up doing as I’m always interested to hear others experiences.

awesome thanks again! so if i’m on my network i can use the phone app (or web) and set recordings but if i’m outside my home no way to do that, right? i can always remote into one of my home computers and use the web app i guess for that if need be until they could add that option later for Engine

i guess if i made the move from my Fire TV box to a Shield i would hope i’d see some speed improvements w/ just that (although my Fire TV is still pretty fast even being 1st gen…hardwired into my gigabit switch) and going from OG tablo to engine at least right now the only benefit would be quicker channel tuning and 5.1 sound and i’d have to weigh that against loosing the networking capabilities

i am playing w/ Plex Live TV too though so i could maintain that feature there. i thought maybe i’d try and sell my Tablo 2 to take care of some of the Shields cost but not sure how resell is on them

You can use the web app only. This could be on your phone or laptop.

ahh ok thanks for clarifying…but even w/ the web app with Engine it can only be used when you’re on the same internal network as your device, right?


Small update here…i have Shield/Engine setup and so far working awesome! it looks like the Tablo app and web app both work well on my local network to set recordings and delete recordings so thats cool.

The 5.1 pass through and quicker channel changing was well worth the change and i like the simplified interface so far.

2 things I hope they add to Engine at some point that i’m sure i’m not alone on would be:

  1. ability to search from w/in the Engine app (so you dont have to use the web app or smartphone app). I’m sure thats in the works since its in the OG app and for me personally not a big deal but I know that will drive my wife nuts not being able to do that

  2. ability to connect to set recordings from outside my home network (ie. forgot to set something to record when you already left the house, etc)

Hopefully those are things that are at least being looked at

a HUGE improvement I hope someday will be (and im sure it wont be anytime soon from what i’ve been told) is the thumbnail preview on Live TV instead of having to wait until the recording is completed. A good example for this would be watching an NFL game slightly behind…so you can more precisely FF/RW to a point between plays or commercials w/out guessing in 10-30 sec jumps. I’m sure thats a pretty large change in the architecture but that would be one area that TiVo blow Tablo away still. If they fix that i’d say they are on par w/ each other

Great to hear that you are enjoying the new setup! I know personally I end up watching most of my shows now on the Engine and only use the OG sparingly.

i’ve had Engine crash a handful of times tonight and one channel go to spinning a few times too so not as smooth as it started. unfortunately i found that Engine also seems to experience the issue i was told only the fire tv OG app had where if you pause live tv and leave it for more than 5 min (about when the screen saver kicks in), when you press any button to get out of the screen saver, your show jumps immediately to live instead of where you left off so thats pretty disappointing