Tablo during an internet outage

I work as an IT professional. I worked in television for 15 year.

Tablo’s policy on not allowing their hardware to work without an internet connection is straight up DUMB.

Sure, you cannot get the guide, but that isn’t entirely necessary in the short term. My understanding is the guide downloads to the device, so for a short time, it would be correct.

The time could be… off. Again, not a huge deal. the box stays on 24/7, and time slippage would be minimal in the short term.

Future scheduled recordings could not take place. Again, that only affects long term outages.

Why do I bring this up? My neighbor’s dog decided to dig in the corner of his back yard, into mine and discovered the fiber i had buried. and he ate it. I was without internet all or this week until today. But I figured, “no problem… I have a Tablo”. My wifi router is fine, and I can get into the programs I have DVR’d.

NOPE!

I have a plex server set up. I was able to stream movies from it minus the online offerings from Crackle, podcasts etc.

Everytime i tried to connect to Tablo I got a message stating Tablo is not connected to the internet. No option to continue, go to channel lineup, or go to DVR.

Fix this please. It’s fairly dumb.

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Mine worked just fine this morning when someone reset the neighborhood ISP node at 5:20AM. The internet was down for 10 minutes. SlingTV and all the other internet apps failed but my tablo and hdhomerun still worked

Of course I was using a Roku and I am familiar with the various threads about what does and doesn’t work.

I think Roku makes it the easiest to use while offline. I have used a roku also with it offline. Fire has a work around for it that was published in the last newsletter.

What device are you using? It works for most devices without internet.

Although I completely agree with your fundamental view, I believe there is some misunderstanding. It’s more 'business model" than policy.

A snip from one of TabloSupport’s comments (in whole and linked below)

Our focus is also on developing the product to be easy-to-use for the average non-technical user.

They want to keep things easy and simple, not overwhelm the support system with calls and tickets I suppose. (reading some questions here you get a feel where some “typical” consumers understandings for tech can range). You may see it as marketing to the lowest common denominator.

I completely agree, and mentioned in the post, it probably would take much to work around this. Me, I use my tablo for recording. 3rd party apps to convert recordings to mp4 files and use "media’ PCs for viewing and streaming – but that’s me. Many of these apps store IP or have discovery and some have “play” function.

I’d rather not use proprietary devices or app with little control - FF and hope for the best, if there’s a thumbnail?!?

Then there’s always some guy telling you “mine worked”… so what’s your problem? oh yea, I know more stuff.

Although I do find the box a bit misleading - need internet for downloading guide and out of home streaming (implies only), there is this https://www.tablotv.com/blog/tablo-faqs-do-i-need-internet-use-tablo-ota-dvr/ much, as you’ve noted is exaggerated.

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I pulled out my crystal ball and ouija board but it’s rather hard for anyone to discuss an issue when the most detailed technical description of the problem was the dog ate the fiber. But even dogs may need a diet high in fiber.

Well, reading is fundamental. Literally, the neighbor’s dog dug up and chewed my fiber in to pieces. Not really the point though. Internet outages happen. a cheap Walmart $30 tuner will work without the internet. Plex works without internet. Are all the features there? no. But i can watch any video on my Plex server. Roku, to a degree, works without internet as my Plex example shows.

So i wouldn’t have the guide. No biggie. the channels are saved to the box, and a channel list exists. I had several programs DVR’d I should have been able to access those at the VERY LEAST.

So for me, this was probably what will drive me over to HD Homerun. It integrates with Plex, so I can have much of my media accessed in one place. DVR saves to the Plex Server And so even IF the HD Homerun failed to pull in a channel guide, I’d at least have access to my recordings.

The point is, this is supposed to be a device designed to help you cut the cord, not simply trade one cord for another. It should be internet assisted, not internet reliant in order to provide minimal functionality. Truth be told, it’s my backup. I get plenty of streaming options, that mostly i rarely use the Tablo. I can get most every OTA show on Hulu the next day.

Except when my neighbor’s dog is feeling the need for more fiber.

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I also sometimes DVR with hdhomerun via a nvidia shield. Of course I would read their forum for all the various issues.

I would also keep track of how many plex DVR recordings and/or playbacks bomb.

Of course none of this details what part of your LAN topology failed.

Have to chime in here, though I’ve lived with how Tablo wants things for years. The reality is that most means of access can play back recordings and live TV from the Tablo unit with internet access down, albeit limited in issues like guide maintenance or commercial delete. (Even the Firestick has a workaround to launch without internet from within Settings/Apps.) There is no substantive (in my view) reason the web app cannot be written to permit access without phoning home to Tablo HQ. They might worry about not gathering data, but if other devices can do it, the browser interface should be allowed to as well.

There is one big issue with the web app.

It currently resides on a server on the internet. No internet, no access to the web application.

It was mentioned that the reason they didn’t want to put the web app on the Tablo DVR itself was to have more flexibility in updating the web app. On the Tablo DVR, the web app will have to be part of the firmware.

That’s the official line, but there’s no engineering reason why it has to be that way. The Tablo could download the current version of the web app during nightly maintenance, same time it does the guide data. Making it discoverable without using the internet servers is more difficult, but not impossible.

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Maybe we should talk about one real issue for the “average” non-technical user where “a dingo ate my fiber” and the internet is out for over a week.

For most simple installations the user will probably be using an ISP router that contains the DHCP server. For some reasons these often go down when the WAN connection is lost.

Many of these have an IP lease time of 24-hours. This means you are SOL after 24 hours since almost all devices will have their IP address relinquished.

So unless you have pumped up your IP lease time or have a topology where the DHCP server doesn’t go down you are going to have problems before the end of one week.

@TabloTV How about turning the web application into a PWA so that you have to ability to run it offline? There would obviously be limitations, but you should be able to configure it to, at a minimum, cache the recordings page so that they are accessible without an internet connection.

While I would find that awesome, I over time I have a strong feeling it’s highly unlikely this will ever occur. (they don’t find the web app significant enough to announce new versions)

While there’s still wishful thinking and I don’t really know anything, while you’re waiting I suggest you consider looking into some of the 3rd party apps even if for a “back-up” app

Just want to reiterate for those with a Windows environment that Tablo Tools will play Tablo live without an internet connection (if the program has been downloaded before losing the internet).

I’ve actually found its player more forgiving of signal hiccups than the Tablo web player. (Maybe because less is going on than with the web app - no scheduling or guide, for example.)

Great points all. Good post.

re-reiterate – Tablo Tools in not Windows specific as noted in it’s post title:
Tablo Tools - Bulk Export/Delete on Win/Mac/Linux
So PC users on virtually any platform can enjoy Tablo Tools !!

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Sorry, my parochial bad - very important point.

Tablo Tools plays Tablo on pretty much any computer (Win, Mac, Linux) without internet. (As long as downloaded before internet outage.)

Roku, I believe, can play Tablo without internet.

Firestick actually can play Tablo without internet through the workaround of going to Settings, then Applications, then Manage installed aps, then Tablo app, and then launch Tablo app.

iPad and iOS can play Tablo without internet, I believe.

Not sure about Android app, can anyone confirm if it works without internet?

And I believe the Xbox app does not work without internet (but can’t personally confirm).

So thanks to Jesse and Tablo Tools, I think now pretty much anything except Xbox can play Tablo recordings and live TV if the internet goes down.

Yes, but to be fair, thanks to 3rd party apps, recordings can be viewed without internet. Taking into account Tablo Tools is a PC application, so using PC based 3rd party app would suggest you have… at the least a media player on or PC to view videos.

As for watching live TV, vast majority just press the TV input button on the remote, and use the TV for what it is… a TV - when the internet is down, make sacrifices.

I’m not discounting Tablo Tools or the work, I do believe it’s the first to play live TV, just it’s not the first. others allow for directly viewing such as APL Tablo, and acquiring playlist URLs for streaming via media player. There’s also ota2GO specific to android mobile devices.

Ironically, I lost my internet yesterday and can confirm that you can play Tablo on Roku (Roku TV) without the internet. Just had to tell it to ignore the no connection and proceed.