Tablo issue with one channel but not Tivo or TV!

Since the 2.1.28 firmware both me and a friend’s 4 tuner Tablo’s stopped being able to tune to channels 20-1, 20-2 & 20-3. These worked fine for the 2 months before the update. Tablo Support said the logs show the signal was pulsing as the issue.

All along direct connection antenna to the tv 20 would come on perfect and it is only about 11 miles from my house. The other day I received a Tivo Roamio and hooked it to the same antenna and it gets all channels including 20 perfectly.
It sure looks like it’s a hardware or software flaw in the Tablo.
a firmware downgrade a couple of weeks ago by Tablo didn’t fix the channel 20 issue so it sounds like a hardware/design issue.

What can I do to get this fixed??

I have spent alot to setup a Tablo and it’s to late for a refund since I purchased it on January 9th and I believe Tablo support has tried everything they can. And chance of at least a refund on the lifetime guide since it looks like I have to sadly abandon the Tablo route and go with Tivo so we can g we t our main local station ??

$270.00 4 tuner tablo
$149.99 lifetime guide
$82 2tb external drive

Sorry to hear that - can you try contacting Tablo again? Open a Support Ticket.

Is your OTA antenna directly connected to the Tablo when you’re having these issues?

Any chance you’re willing to do a little antenna tweaking to try and improve your signal? If you tell us a little about your setup we may be able to help. The signal pulsing could be multipath interference in which case moving the antenna around could help a great deal. I’d hate to see someone give up on such an investment without trying a few things first.

Btw the difference in signal quality between the TV directly and tablo is likely because the tablo has an internal 4 way splitter which causes slight loss in signal strength.

“Theuser86” The antenna is directly connected to the Tablo. Their final word was that it was the tv stations issue.

“KyleR” this station has only one transmitter and its about 11 or 12 miles just across town. I can pickup perfectly clear another channel 55 that is about a mile father away and others that are 35 miles and a couple that are 50 miles with 100% reliability. And I get all channels including 20 on 2 Tv’s I have plus this new Tivo box perfectly clear with 95% signal strength. Hard to imagine it’s the antenna. Plus a friend of mine has the same situation about 5 miles from me and his antenna is on a tall outdoor tower. Mine is in the attic.


The converse argument may also be true. The OP states the channel he/she is having issue with is only 11 miles away, this is very close and probably is the strongest channel received by the OTA antenna. The Tablo Quad tuner has a 4-way splitter in it that is amplified so there could be signal overload causing issues if the OTA antenna is connected directly to the Tablo. That is why I asked how it is connected.

My suggestion would be before moving the antenna around to put a 1x2 splitter or even a 1x4 splitter in line between the OTA antenna and the Tablo - this will attenuate the signal before it gets to the Tablo built-in amplifer. Let us know how it goes.

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I can easily give that a try this evening. The theory sound plausible since it is the strongest transmitter in our town and closest to me. PBS public broadcast channel 14 is closer at only 5 miles but I believe is a weaker transmitter than channel 20 which is ABC and the top station in Springfield, Illinois…

Thanks for the good idea!


We’ve had one or two reports of these issues with channels 20.1, 20.2 and 20.3. All of our testing points to an issue with the broadcasting tower itself.

The feed appears to be sending out a significant amount of corrupt data. A standard TV tuner is able to crunch through this since it doesn’t have to transcode. When the Tablo attempts to transcode this video, it’s too corrupt to be done successfully.

We downgraded a few Tablos having this issue to earlier versions of the firmware to ensure this wasn’t a bug introduced by 2.1.28. Unfortunately, this didn’t yield any results. It appears just to be bad timing. We’ve reached out to the broadcasters running the tower but have yet to hear back.

We encourage you to contact the broadcasters directly - if we apply enough pressure we can hopefully get this investigated and fixed quickly.

The two reports are most likely me and my friend. We have also reached out to the tv station with no response. Most likely with only a couple of people saying the have reception problems they are ignoring us and assuming it’s us and not them, if there was a large outcry then they would probably look at it.

This is what unfortunately lead me to try a Tivo box which doesn’t exhibit the problem and makes my family happier. I will probably have to try and find a new home for my Tablo due to this issue…

Any chance of getting a refund for the lifetime guide I purchased in February? That way I’m not to deep in a hole.

Thanks for all the help, it worked great for two months…

I will say the Tablo was great. The Tivo works fine but the interface is cluttered and clunky and I have to switch tv inputs to watch live tv/dvr and Roku only streams which is a pain plus if I want to stream outside my home network Tivo wants another $150 while Tablo includes this for free!
Tablo is a better deal and device but won’t work for my due to the tv station… so I’m stuck.

Kind of a shame there’s no provision or policy to “transfer” lifetime guide subscriptions.

Years ago I had an EyeTV reception problem with 4-1 WNBC and 100% confident it was a broadcast issue. Went on for a long time to the point I removed that channel from my lineup.

My site is literally about 1 mile line of sight from the Manhattan transmitter. I eventually sent an email to station engineering explaining the situation and a few weeks later, low & behold, the problem went away.

Good luck OP - your situation has confirmed I better wait on paying Tablo $150 for lifetime. Hard to have confidence with so many nags…

Go to tvfool and see the signal strength of the stations. A station in Austin recently went from 75 Watts to 15,000 Watts. More Watts means better reception.

Any status update? Were you able to try any splitters in line?

I did try 2 way and a 4 way splitter but got the same results. Of the 18 channels in my list all worked except for channels 20-1, 2 & 3. Looks like the Tablo Support seeing garbage in the signal is the issue and not just an overly strong signal. To bad but it was worth a try. Thanks.

Just for fun I went to TV Fool and here are the details on ABC 20-1 and the other networks:
(All tune perfect on all devices except Tablo for channel 20)
ABC 20-1: NM 61.6. PWR -29.2 Distance 14 miles
FOX 55.1: NM 59.1 PWR -31.8 Distance 15 miles
PBS 12.1: NM 52.8. PWR -38.1 distance 23 Miles
CBS 49.1: NM 45.5. PWR -45.4 distance 11 miles
NBC 17.1: NM 37.2. PWR -53.6 distance 52 miles
CW. 23.1: NM 44.4 PWR -46.4. distance 46 miles

Broadcast streams can be very funky. I don’t think they really know and/or pay close attention to all the variations and ramifications that can derail proper reception.

Doing OTA for several years you may eventually notice all sorts of signal issues - video garbling, audio clicks, pops, dropouts, etc. Often nothing to do with signal strength but indicative that all streams and receivers are not created equal.

The fact it works on some tuners but not Tablo is a tough rock/hard place. I guess it’s not really the fault of Tablo but ‘kinda hard to give them a full pass when other equipment can see and tune the channel okay?

Good luck…

I assume you are using a preamp since you are receiving stations at 100% 50 miles away. If that is the case, any chance you can remove it just for a little troubleshooting? It would at least tell us if signal overload is the issue here.

The TabloSupport explanation of the corrupt data in the stream makes sense in that the TiVo captures the MPEG-2 stream directly and does not transcode it, while the Tablo is transcoding the stream to h.264 video.

But yes, last attempt is to remove the pre-amp and see what happens.

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No preamp in my setup I just happen to live in a place we’re I have no tall obstructions around me and my house is on somewhat elevated ground. About 50% of the time usually later in the evenings I can even watch a station that’s about 80 miles away. Not sure why it comes in at that distance. Just lucky… I have an RCA ANT751 antenna mounted in the attic of a single story home running straight to the Tablo (or the Tivo depending on which one I am testing at this time and no splitter.)

I was thinking the exact same thing.