Tablo 4 just replaced. Signal issue with Tablo but not TV

Had an on-going problem and can’t seem to find help. Support finally sent me a new Tablo but that didn’t resolve the issue, so here goes:

I have a Roku 4 which works great with everything but Tablo, a great antenna hard-wired into the Tablo, a Samsung Smart TV. The antenna is not the issue because if I use HDMI to watch a program through Roku/Tablo, it is pixelated and reception is horrible. So switch to TV setting on Smart TV, not HDMI and watch the same program live on TV, the reception is clear, there is no garbled video or audio. Yet, when I attempt to watch the EXACT same program after it has recorded, there is massive garbled video and audio. How can it be that the reception on the television is great but the reception with LIVE TV on Tablo is terrible, as is the recording? It doesn’t seem to matter which channel we watch, CBS is the worst but sometimes NBC, Fox or ABC can also be horrible. Unfortunately, most of our favorite programs are CBS so it a serious issue. The antenna is hard-wired into the Tablo, there is no WiFi used. We updated firmware, followed all of the steps recommended by Support, including replacement of the Tablo. Scanned for channels and 9 come up as 1080i. The best reception is with a channel that scan says is 480i.

A neighbor brought his TiVo over for us to try. It worked fabulously with all recordings. I was even able to watch it on the other TV without issue.

Finally, I have a Fire Stick in the bedroom and watch TV after husband is asleep using headphones. If I watch Smart TV or use Fire Stick for Amazon Prime shows, it is great but if I try to watch Tablo through the Fire stick it is also horrible. It won’t find the Tablo at all. Is the issue Tablo? Do other people have issues with second tv and fire stick? Again, if I use Fire Stick to watch Amazon Prime shows the reception and signal are superb but Tablo can’t be found and resetting it doesn’t work. All it does is disconnect the Tablo in the living room and if I fail to remember that the following day’s programs don’t record because it says. “Tablo not found”. I am constantly resetting it and after about 5-6 times it will find the Tablo and connect.

Please, if you have any ideas, I would greatly appreciate it. I would hate to have to replace everything with TiVo. Costly enough to purchase the 4-Tuner Tablo, Hard drive, etc.


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The Tablo 4-tuner is like connecting 4 TVs to your antenna on an unpowered splitter. It is very possible that you need an amplifier to boost the power to your Tablo to compensate for signal being split 4 ways.

I’m not as lucky as you with good antenna reception.
We get good enough reception for 6 channels, and our 7th is marginal.

However, our Tablo Quad, with a Roku 2 (2015) and 4 sound like they’re working better than yours.
Maybe we can figure out the difference in setup.

We have a router hardwired to a network switch.
The Tablo Quad is hardwired to the network switch.
The Roku 4 is hardwired to the same network switch.
The Roku 2 (2015) wirelessly connects to the router via wireless-g from ~75 feet away thru 3 interior walls.
We use wireless-g instead of wireless-n, cuz wireless-g goes threw walls, and other objects more easily than wireless-n.

Our 35 mile range Amazon Basics non-amped antenna is directly connected to the Tablo with no spillters.
The Tablo Quad is set to max recording quality 10Mbps.

We record, and watch Live TV daily for hours.
We rarely see any pixelation, except for the 1 marginal reception channel.

I set my mom up with our original Tablo Dual.
Her setup is more challenging, cuz the best antenna reception is on the second floor, but her internet gear is on the first floor.
The same type Amazon Basics 35 mile range antenna is directly connected to the Tablo.
The Tablo wirelessly connects to the router via wireless-g.
The Roku 3 wirelessly connects to the router via wireless-g.

The Tablo Dual is set to max recording quality HD 720p - 5Mbps, since this is the highest setting we could use without buffering.
She mostly watches Live TV, hours every day.
No pixelation.

Thanks, eek, My antenna has an amplifier and it is attached but never thought of it this way.

So, let’s go through this bit by bit. I have a combo router and modem which has 2 speeds 3.4 and 5, maybe? Since our connection is to the main tv is hardwired, it is ethernet not WiFi so it is irrelevant here, until we get to the bedroom tv.

Tablo hardwired to Modem.
Roku 4 hardwired to Modem
Antenna is good. Works great with simply tv. Not the issue. Just with Tablo. I have tried several antennas which go in the window and were no better. One had an amplifier which did not help and I disconnected it, which improved the signal for a while. But it still was not good. The newest antenna is a rooftop and, as I said, great reception on TV…in fact, even better picture than Tablo, when it works.

Our home is in an area built in the 1970s so there are lots of mature trees but, as I said, I am the only one with reception issues.

Any other ideas would really be appreciated. Hubby is about to dump Tablo but I am the hard-headed who says it can be fixed.

The only thing left that I can think of is the hard drive.
It’s easy enough to see if the hard drive is causing the pixelation problem.
Tablo’s Live TV doesn’t require a hard drive to work.

Disconnect the hard drive from the Tablo.
Power cycle the Tablo.

Use the hardwired Roku 4 to watch Live TV.
If the channels come in clear, then the hard drive, or its USB cable are the problem.
If the channels are still pixelated, I’m out of ideas. :frowning:

Tablo it self has a weak tuner. I had the same problem when we had a storm. Had to switch to TV tuner so I could continue watching the show. Tablo will not pull any channels while TV had no problem.

So I got fed up with Tablo and change my setup to Tivo same as Tablo, 4 tuners and pulls all the channels fine even when is bad outside. But I could return all because I was in time of returning Period.
Good Luck…

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When I read this I got to wondering if the antenna was too strong. I know that if you had too much signal coming through on something years ago it was just as bad as not enough. So I disconnected the outdoor antenna with booster and put up the Leaf 50 we had purchased a year ago when we bought the Tablo. I tried scanning for channels again and again with the booster and without the booster, changing from each possible setting for recording quality, etc. I spent hours trying to get it to work and finally got Jeopardy to record without issue, which has been impossible for the last 3+ months.

I still have a small amount of stuttering on video and on audio but it appears to have resolved a great deal of the issues.

Thanks for all your help. I have spent months trying to get this thing to work. My husband wanted to just give up and send it back a long time ago.

Never give up.
Never surrender. :wink:

:nerd: As I said, I am the hard-head who doesn’t give up. Thanks for all your help!

It doesn’t make sense that the Mohu antenna outperforms the rooftop one. Have you done a TVFool report to see what are the directions and prospects for reception from your location? You may not need a booster with your rooftop antenna. A TVFool report would give you (and us) a better perspective on what’s needed.

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Yes,I did a tv fool report. TvFool said each channel in my area should have perfect reception at 10 am. Now, the TV Fool report shows differently. It even says that rooftop is needed for several channels.

After the 10 am Fool report, I removed the booster first from the Rooftop, then I disconnected the rooftop and added the Mohu with booster, then without the booster. EACH time trying again to get perfect reception. Finally, without a booster, the Mohu worked perfectly. Here is the current run on the report

You have stations in 3 different directions. What type of antenna is on the roof? If it is a yagi or bowtie, it will only pick up those stations it is pointed at. The Mohu can be omni-directional and therefore pick up more stations but not as powerfully.

As well you have a mix of distances - some stations close by, others further away. Those marked out as LOS (line of sight) will not need a booster. Those that are marked as 2-edge probably need a booster. In such a situation of varying distances, a booster will both help AND hinder reception!

So you have a complicated reception pattern in terms of directions and distances. It all depends on which stations (and how many) you are interested in…

The way the Tablo is designed with an internal 4-way splitter, its reception will be inferior to your TV’s tuner. If the signal strength is at 50% the TV will pick it up; the Tablo will pixelate. What range is your signal strength numerically speaking? My experience has been that a Tablo needs a signal strength in the 70% range for stable reception. Otherwise the Tablo may behave erratically.

Now, that I do not know. How do I find that out? I typically watch the following channels:

Those are the first 4 listed on TV Fool. Here is the latest TV fool done at 10:55 pm 3/24/17. I did not confirm if anything changed.

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The first four channels you should be able to get at 100% with the Mohu without a booster unless you have trees in the way. FOX is in the opposite direction to the other three but the Mohu claims to be omni-directional so should pick up all 4.

As far as measuring signal strength numerically, if you have a PC with a tuner, it will usually come with an app that shows signal strength in terms of numbers. Most TV’s with a tuner show a bar graph. 5 or 6 bars is 90-100%, 4 is 80, etc. I’ve found that a TV needs about 2 to 3 bars to capture a signal, the Tablo 3 and above (and even 3 can be problematic for a Tablo so one typically needs a 4 for that station to be reliable on a Tablo).

Try something like this with the antenna plugged directly into the TV (no booster):

Menu > Support > Self Diagnosis > Signal information

BTW at 6 miles from the broadcast towers, a paper clip should work as an antenna!!! Or old fashioned rabbit ears… If your TV’s bar graph shows those channels at 5-6 bars, you might want to try a $2 experiment to see whether the Mohu is overdriving the Tablo. Stick a splitter between the Mohu and the Tablo.

To show how misleading simply viewing a station can be, I get a channel at 2 bars that the TV shows perfectly even though it translates to just 40% on the bar graph. In this case when viewing this channel (it doesn’t break up at all on the TV) one would think it is excellent at 100%. But the Tablo on some days doesn’t even pick it up, on other days it shows it for a few minutes then pixelates. To further complicate things, on some days the Tablo shows it as 5 green dots, on other days as 3 orange dots and others a one brown dot. Yet the TV shows it stabily all the time.

It is when you get past your first 5 channels that directions and distances become problematic. 2-edge stations means that these channels arrive at your location indirectly and reception can be unpredictable in these circumstances. A strong tuner can deal with 1-edge and 2-edge channels; a weaker one will fluctuate.

If you have trees in the way, some antennas are better than others in these circumstances. You mentioned that a neighbor’s Tivo worked better. My $30 Homeworx DVR beats the Tablo on problematic channels hands down!

BTW if you resolve the Tablo reception issue, you could in the future point the rooftop antenna at more distant stations in opposite directions and combine that with the Mohu (for near stations).

I also live in Omaha and had the same problem with 3-6-7 vs 15-42. On top of that (no pun intended) I have a metal roof with an antenna in the attic. I ended up installing a second antenna, one pointing at 3-6-7 and the other at 15-42, combining them with a splitter. I now have near flawless reception, I can’t remember the last time I had any pixelation. I do occasionally have buffering on the wifi Rokus, but not much. The main TV Roku is hard-wired, and I don’t have any problems with it.

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Another Omahan here. The real issue here is the substandard tuners they put the in Tablo. There are times when the good Omaha networks are perfectly clear on my TV, but the Tablo just pulls in pixelated garbage. I only used it for football, and after fighting the Tablo for 3 football seasons, I am ready to give up and smash it with a hammer.

I have temporarily gone back to running MythTV on a 10 year old computer, with a pair of ancient HDTV tuner cards, and it works fine. Right now I am thinking of a Plex and HDHomeRun combo. About the only other plug and play option seems to be the Tivo Romio, but I am considering giving a Homewerx a shot, despite the mixed reviews, they apparently tune stuff in just fine.

Interesting that all the shows that have trouble recording are CBS shows, and only new prime-time shows. No problem with re-runs or daytime. The FCC signal map shows that the signal at my house is strong. It seems odd.

Do you happen to have LED lights in your home on in the evenings? LED lights can interfere with OTA signals:

Of course there are. But if that’s the cause, they only interfere with CBS shows on Tablo. I have one TV on just an OTA antenna, and there’s no problem with reception.