Tablo, Alexa, Fire-TV-Recast


Your house is full of echoes.

I would have been an Alexa guy (I’m a Prime customer) but my sister gave us a Google Home for Christmas last year. So I wound up connecting my LG TV to Google Home.

The funniest thing is that the Google Home thinks the LG TV is talking to it sometimes and will start spouting some fact. Like in the middle of a romantic scene on TV a few days ago, Google Home starts saying, “The weather right now in your city is 60 degrees with lightly falling rain.”


I’m using “Hey Google” for my Caavo, it’s works very well. I’ve got several of these great little Insignia-brand Google boxes. My original intent was for a desktop pandora / spotify music, weather, etc. (both for work and at home), and they’ve fit the bill perfectly for that purpose. Took one of the small ones and set it up with my Caavo as a sort of fun test, and it stuck.



I would own a Tablo TV DVR right now if it could EASILY stream to the seven Echo Shows in my home. I don’t want to control my DVR with my voice other than to say, “Alexa play channel 38 on my Tablo TV DVR.”


If I only had a daughter named Alexa.


I just read the Tablo vs Recast comparison myself.

Everything stated is factually correct, but it is misleading that when comparing pricing the subscription fees, external HD costs &/or cloud storage fees are omitted. To Tablo’s credit they did later mention the subscription fees but I can’t help but suspect it was deliberately mentioned separately to give the appearance that Tablo is less expensive. Additionally, the fact that the subscription is not required is highlighted while the fact that without it the performance of the product is greatly limited is downplayed. And ultimately, the expense of external &/or cloud storage is never mentioned.

And lastly (for those that seem to think that no 1080i is a deal-breaker), the fact that the Recast only offers 720p@60fps is really a no issue. Tablo them selves acknowledge that 720p@60fps is essentially the same thing as 1080i.

I am a very happy Tablo user & there are advantages to Tablo verses Recast especially for those not using the Amazon ecosystem. But this supposed bare it all comparison has some subtle attempts to make some things, especially cost, seem something different than the truth. But alas, that is business.


I would be very sad right now if I had bought the Amazon Fire Recast and found out about the Tablo later. I don’t feel like the comparison was overly biased or anything obfuscated. As a consumer I would have got a second opinion anyway considering the source.

That Fire Recast only does 2 streams at a time would have nagged me despite it usually being acceptable.

Not being able to pick the quality of the recordings would annoy me.

Being stuck using Amazon device’s would have been a HUGE sticking point for me. Maybe a complete deal killer.

Not being able to set a recording outside of home would have nagged me but not a deal killer.

Not being able to pull recordings off the device would be very annoying. Hard drives eventually die and sometimes I just want to archive stuff.

I spent quite a bit more on the Tablo since I bought the lifetime subscription and a 4tb harddrive but with both being useable / transferable to a new device that takes the sting away. Might even host a Tablo for my nomadic parents (snowbirds). Next Tablo is $149 cheaper since I don’t need to buy another subscription!

I like the integrated guide the Amazon Recast has but I rarely watch TV that way so I won’t miss it too much. My wife would probably use it though so it would be great if Tablo partnered with Pluto.

Neither device can record from streaming services. I got that covered with PalyOn. I only use it for archival purposes occasionally.


I agree that Tablo has advantages over Recast & I said as much in my earlier post. I simply pointed out that the Recast is a less expensive option especially for people who are already using the Amazon ecosystem. And that Tablo (IMO) is attempting to present the comparison as a nothing hidden/objective comparison but actually did exactly what one would expect from a business and attempted to present their product as something not true - less expensive.

It’s not like Amazon is always completely upfront with consumers either. Obviously, they aren’t waiving the guide subscription - they simply have it built into their price. But if you then truly compare prices, the 4-tuner Recast at $280 minus Tablo’s $150 subscription fee & minus $50 for a 1TB HD then a true price comparison puts the Recast at $80. And BTW, I just checked & today Amazon has the 4-tuner Recast on sale for $220.

My only other point was not related to their comparison, but rather was to point out to the many users on this board (that seem to think otherwise) that Tablo’s highest recording option (1080i) is essentially the same as Recasts 720p@60fps & Tablo themselves acknowledge this.

Amazon made the conscious decision to target their own customer base by making Recast exclusively compatible with Fire products & phones. They had to know that existing Roku & Apple users aren’t going to switch in order to use a Recast. And I’m sure they have hope that the Recast might gear future cord-cutters toward their ecosystem.


The Tablo records 1080i channels at 1080p (30 fps). The Recast records it at 720p (30 fps). So there is a difference.


Then why does there own website advertise their highest recording resolution at 1080(720p@60fps)?


What that setting means is that 1080i channels get recorded at 1080p@30fps, while 720p channels get recorded at 720p@60 fps. This make sports on 720p channels looks just as good as straight from the antenna.


Well Recast records at 720p@60fps BTW.


Does the Recast record 1080i 30 fps at 720p 60 fps? I doubt that cause they you’re just interpolating frames to double the number.


The following is the best info I can find on their recording methods & is quoted from AFTVNews’ review of Recast.

"The Fire TV Recast stores all content to its internal hard drive as unprotected raw MPEG-2 video files in their native resolution. This is important because it means that the full 1920×1080 resolution of channels that broadcast in 1080i is maintained for all recordings. Remember, no US channels broadcast in 1080p. They all broadcast in either 1080i or 720p.

When watching content from the Fire TV Recast, whether it’s live or recorded, and regardless of whether you’re watching through a Fire TV, Echo Show, or mobile device, the raw MPEG-2 video files are transcoded to H.264 with a maximum resolution of 1440×720 at 60 frames per second. This is done to ensure compatibility with a wide range of devices, including older Fire TVs that cannot de-interlace 1080i video.

The bitrate and resolution of the transcoded video are adjusted, on the fly, to ensure a highly reliable stream. This is the same procedure used by streaming video from services like Prime Video and Netflix. So, if you’re watching content at home through a Fire TV with a solid connection, you’ll see the maximum resolution and bitrate, but if you’re watching on a spotty mobile connection, the video quality will automatically adjust to keep the stream from dropping. When viewing content through a Fire TV, the Fire TV Recast may switch to a direct one-to-one WiFi connection between the two devices to bypass your home network if it determines that the direct connection will result in a superior video stream."


lol, I knew people on here were going to latch on to this statement and tear it apart. Seems like the sports crowd in particular are picky about their video quality.


My understanding is they just dump the raw stream onto the harddrive. That’s also what my last DVR did. They don’t touch the format until they stream it to the end device.


Well yes my question still holds, when they transcode 1080i 30 fps video so it can be played back on say an Android smartphone or Nexus Player, are they actually increasing the frames to 60 fps? Sounds like a video quality disaster waiting to happen.


not exactly sure what you guys are trying to get at. Are you saying that 1080i@30fps is a better quality than 720p@60fps because that simply isn’t true.


Well doesn’t that question hold for Tablo as well? They are transcoding the signal for play back on the same sort of end devices.


I would say that is highly dependent on the viewer, the content, and the display. There is no way to call one “better” then the other. That’s like saying vanilla ice cream is best.

Of course it holds true in both devices if you were to take 30 fps and double it you probably aren’t going to be able to improve the quality much. In many cases you would probably make it worse.

I mentioned it because it’s important where the transcoding begins. Amazon’s device will result in less transcoding since it always starts with the raw source. That means better video in certain cases. It also seems to be a limiting factor in the number of streams the Recast can do.

Tablo transcodes immediately which results in better hard drive useage. If the stream has to be transcoded a second time though the quality could suffer a little.

I personally don’t think there is a compelling reason for either device to attempt any kind of upscaling or frame doubling. I’d rather leave that to my end device be it a TV, PC, or phone.


Yes it does, and we know the answer. With the Tablo, at the highest recording quality 1080i 30 fps video is transcoded to 1080p 30 fps, and 720p 60 fps is transcoded to 720p 60 fps.

So from your posts, it seems the Recast is transcoding 1080i 30 fps to 720p 60 fps for playback?