Tablo Quad questions before purchase

Hi all,

I’m considering a Tablo Quad purchase. I like to know as much as I can about a product before I buy it. I’ve watched probably every Tablo Quad review on YouTube, as well as other Tablo product reviews. I also ask some questions for other people who may be interested in a Tablo product.

Apologies for my long paragraphs.

Here are my questions:

  1. I’m primarily interested in using the Tablo to record sporting events. It’s not uncommon for weather to delay some events. For example, a few NASCAR races last year were delayed several hours because of rain and/or lightning. There are also occasional program guide errors. For example, last year, when I was still a YouTubeTV subsciber, at least three times, Xfinity series race broadcasts started 30 minutes before the program guide times.

Based on watching several videos, it appears that it at least used to be possible for customers who were not subscribed to the program guide to set up manual recordings. Would it be possible while being subscribed to the guide as well? I’ve seen the basic Start/End options for 1, 2, 5, and 10 minutes out (sorry if I’m a little off on those numbers), but I haven’t seen the option for manual recordings demonstrated for people with the guide.

Is there a way to set a recording start time and end time manually?

  1. Has anyone tried the AirTV Anywhere or the HDHomeRun Scribe? How do they compare to the the Tablo? I’ve read specs that I’ve been able to find, but I’m curious about actual user experience.

  2. I read/heard somewhere that you can’t fast forward or rewind if you’re not a subscriber. Is that true at all? I wonder if the person/people who said that were confused about the automatic commercial skip.

  3. Why doesn’t the Tablo company offer a solution that doesn’t require the internet? Program guide information and time are broadcast over the air. Firmware could be manually updated via a flash drive or external hard drive.

And a follow up to this. Does the Tablo company sell customer data, such as viewing data? It seems many/most other internet-required products do this.

  1. What are the cons of the Tablo Quad? What would you say are features that it’s missing that it should have?

  2. Finally, are there any discounts that anyone knows about for the Tablo Quad?

Alright, I’m sorry for the long-winded post. I’ll wrap it on up for now. Thank you.

Any user (subscribed or not) can set up manual recordings. Subscribers can set the end time 1 hr, 2 hr, and even 3hr past the normal end time as well (plus several shorter options).

Any user can fast forward and rewind.

The Tablo folks might answer your internet question, but the obvious answer is that it is just a lot easier for the Tablo to use the internet.

This blog post explains why we don’t use PSIP guide data:

And you just missed the latest sale on the Tablo QUAD. Not sure when our next promo period will be but keep an eye out.

You didn’t mention if you were interested in streaming to multiple TVs in your home, or just watching mainly on one TV.

I recommend you look into the differences between the “Tablo QUAD” and “Tablo QUAD HDMI”. The former is a network connected DVR that records in h264 video format and the latter is a TV connected DVR that records in the native MPEG2 video format. Transcoding or converting to the h264 video does result in some video quality loss, but there are many other benefits so it’s best you make an informed decision.


Thank you for the replies.

I will primarily watch on one TV. I don’t travel very often. I’m not overly concerned with watching recorded content away from home, but having the option occasionally would be nice, so I’ll personally probably go for the network-connected Quad. My elder relatives and friends would possibly prefer the HDMI connected Quad.

I’ve read about hard drives. I’ve read that an SSD doesn’t add enough performance to justify the purchase. How about an internal 7200 rpm hdd? Is there any benefit at all for getting one instead of the 5400 rpm models?

Is the ripper necessary to copy the files elsewhere? Every device I use plays h264 files (Nvidia Shield, phone, Windows 10 laptop).

Say I plugged in an external drive, could I copy files to the external drive, plug the drive into my Shield, and play the h264 files or must I rip them first? Just curious.

Network connected (original style) Tablo, good choice.

I use low power 5400rpm bus powered spinny disks. For a long time.

Various tools can be used to export recordings in h264/aac format for easy playback anywhere.

You have to use an exporter. While you might be able to mount the drive, it’s not “friendly” to navigate. The recordings (each one) are stored as tons of mpeg4 ts files (for streaming).

Watching on other TVs isn’t limited to out of house. Other TVs/devices within your house even.

Here’s tablo’s page about drives - Setup & Networking | Over The Air (OTA) DVR | Tablo If you’re using an external drive… no matter how much performance you got - it’s going through a USB 2.0 So even if you get an internal drive… if a USB 2.0 connected drive is adequate, what gain can you really achieve from a performance drive? (I’m not saying it isn’t measurable, but being noticeable at least playing video)

There are more options along with “the ripper” as you term it, there is a section #tablo-apps:third-party-apps-plex , however Tablo Ripper is very popular. Yes, you have to export videos, the drive is not portable “as is”.

Thank you for your replies. This is very helpful insight. I have an “old” hard drive from my original PS4 that I never used. When I got my PS4, I believe I immediately installed an SSD drive on it. It’s a 500 GB drive, which is probably plenty for my needs, for a while at least.

I had read that one could watch on multiple TVs inside the house, too. That’s not necessary or applicable for me at this time, but it’s definitely good to know for friends and family. They usually ask me about things I have that they’ve never heard of, such as my Nvidia Shield. I also had first gen Firesticks, Roku stick, and Chromecast. I think the media server thing and Plex are neat ideas, but I just don’t have or currently even want those setups yet.

I’ll share this long-winded story with Sling customer service (chat).

First, I am currently a Sling customer. I even use Locast and a VPN to say I’m in one of those markets. It clearly states on the Sling FAQ page that local channels can be recorded in the cloud if you’re in a market that gets those channels. This is simply not true, as I’m sure everyone here probably knows. However, that misinformation, the ability to record locals on Sling, was a major contributor to my joining Sling. I got on chat and asked about that. They said that’s only for select markets. I said okay, well, which markets? The CS rep proceeded to dodge and attempt to deflect the question. I had to ask 4-5 times before he admitted that there’s no market where you can record locals on Sling’s cloud. I asked why don’t they correct the FAQ. He said because it’s not wrong. facepalm I closed the chat.

After researching the AirTV Anywhere, which has 1TB internal storage, I noticed every review mentioned a USB port and said the port isn’t able to add external storage. I spent a couple of hours searching for anything explaining why the USB port exists. It’s a different form factor than the original AirTV and AirTV 2. It’s got to serve some purpose, right? I decided to try Sling chat again. The exchange was almost identical to the first exchange. The CS Rep kept telling me that the AirTV Anywhere doesn’t require an external hard drive and doesn’t take one. I kept saying yes, I know, but what does the USB port do. Why is it there? They couldn’t find any purpose for it. There’s no full manual for the AirTV Anywhere, just a quick start guide and a sales flyer. My theory is that they intended for it to use external storage and cancelled it at the last minute, maybe ran out of time, and/or they plan to eventually offer it through a firmware update. Who knows? Still, it’s pretty lame that a leader in online streaming, Sling (basically Dish), would put something out with a useless port. You’d expect that from some cheap Chinese bootleg product. And while it’s probably not a big deal itself, it’s really got me much more likely to buy a Tablo.

Update: I ordered a Tablo Quad today. I’m sure I’ll be back soon. I’m excited.

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We recently moved from our OG (2015) Shield TV to a Chromecast with Google TV but the Tablo experience on a Shield TV is very good, particularly if you have it hardwired. It’s the same Tablo experience (both are the Tablo Android TV app), our Shield TV was finally just starting to show its age and we actually prefer the Google TV UI.

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