Tablo Update 2.2.18 Problem Recording


#21

I don’t feel qualified to give advice, I just know what worked. Pay heed to the above warnings to avoid losing any recordings. I followed directions from a previous posting which were very simple:

These steps will revert you back to your old firmware.
Steps:

  • Remove the power from the Tablo
  • Hold down the blue reset button
  • Add the power back onto the Tablo - DO NOT let go of the reset button
  • Continue to hold down the blue reset button until the Tablo’s blue LED begins to flash
  • When the LED starts flashing, let go of the reset button

I have received a couple emails from support stating that they have identified a quirk and are working on a fix. I don’t blame the techs at Tablo or the update. I am amazed at how well they respond to issues. My father is also a retired engineer and knows the difficulty with implementing an update that runs perfectly across so many different devices and platforms. And he is also aware that he has saved over $3,500 since I installed his Tablo :wink:


#22

I’m still waiting on the fix after contacting support a week ago. Yesterday I was told by Tablo support that they’re still in the final stages of testing the fix. They also informed me that reverting back to the prior version won’t fix my problem. To me that means they have data corruption, and they have to run some type of database update to fix it? Oddly enough, the recordings for my wife’s shows starting working for two days in a row, but today it didn’t record again.

The whole point of a DVR is to reliably record shows to be viewed later. This latest update has rendered this device as pretty much useless.

I like how the Tablo networks with all my TVs, but I’m starting to seriously doubt if Tablos are going to make it commercially as appliance customers can reliably use. My wife is losing patience with this, and if there isn’t a fix soon, we’ll most likely be getting rid of if for a Tivo, or another OTA option. This sucks.


Tablo recording shows there is a recording, but nothing is there
#23

Thought I’d mention that I’ve been experiencing this the last couple of days with Mannix on MeTV that’s on in the middle of the night at 2am. In case the info helps in some way.

Hopefully the fix comes soon.


#24

Wondering if your problem may be related to the nightly maintenance routine each Tablo does sometime between 2-4am. Mine started it’s cleanup at 2:35am the other night and I lost the recording, as the cleanup and download of the new EPG took a little while.


#25

Thanks for the instructions to revert.

I have two Tablos and I can neither record reliably nor delete reliably. After years of ownership, these types of problems are inexcusable. I agree with your dad entirely that having software that runs over a very wide range of devices and platforms is extremely difficult to do, and for that reason, I have complained perhaps bitterly that Tablo should not have attempted to support so many platforms while giving all of us such unreliable products
Having a few reliable players would’ve made a lot more sense than trying to support so many diverse platforms and operating systems, and the results are predictably unreliable. In addition, trying to implement new features when the core software does not work reliably is also a mistake, and leaves the product with new bugs which are added to old blogs which have yet to be resolved.

Finally, and most critically, releasing beta software before it has been adequately tested creates a huge burden for the user base to go through and become the beta testers. When I buy a drill I am trying to make holes and I really don’t care very much about how the drill is internally constructed. When I buy a DVR, I want to make recordings, and I don’t want to become involved with the details of how the file system and other internals of the product are working or not working. I am therefore extremely frustrated when I cannot turn on my TV when going to use the treadmill this moorning and find my morning news recordings were missed recordings, nor can my wife and I turn on the TV at night and find that shows that we are accustomed to watching were missed. Poor quality assurance and testing combined with the strategy of trying to do too many things in a very unreliable way is a management decision that I strongly disagree with, and am the victim of on a daily basis.

When the product fails to perform my frustration is amplified by the fact that I spent a great portion of my career managing software projects, and understanding how software engineering is correctly performed. Although the Tablo is a complex product, on an engineering complexity scale, it is far below what are really true complex projects of the type that run the New York Stock Exchange, send people to the moon, or implement the Amazon e-commerce website.

The types of problems we are addressing today with regard to sticking icons that cannot be deleted and missing recordings go back for literally several years now on the Tablo, and have not been properly fixed. In fact I own two Tablos to record duplicate, redundant recordings, so as to avoid the disappointment of not being able to watch programs. When bugs show up, they typically appear on both Tablos,and demonstrate the very same problem. Both of my recorders this morning failed to record “Good Morning America” and I’m sure it’s for the same reason, a software bug. I particularly dislike the fact that even with redundant recorders to attempt to ensure reliable recording, these bugs are preventing succesful recordings, and I’m told by people who have a dismissive attitude either to not complain , or worse yet, make cavalier, dismissive remarks scoffing “I’m not having any problems of this type on my unit".

Please feel free to run any or all of the above rant past your retired engineer dad. Mention to him I am actually considering a 3rd Tablo which will stay at a stable firmware release to avoid / minimize update grief.

Larry


#26

I wanted to reply and see if I can provide a summary of my setup and processes if only to help isolate what may be contributing to your issues.

I have to be honest and say I truly haven’t been encountering issues like the ones you have been reporting, but it may well be because of my processes and configuration and use of the Tablo. Some of these issues seem like isolated bugs that have to have very specific scenarios met otherwise I would expect more of us would be encountering them regularly.

For reference, I participated in the beta for the 2.2.18 firmware and even during the multiple consecutive beta releases over several weeks of the 2.2.18 firmware before it was released to the general user base, I never experienced the issues you have been reporting.

My setup is:
- 1 4-tuner Tablo wired via a D-Link switch to a second D-Link switch that is hardwired to a Google WiFi router.
- 1 Shield TV for the living room TV hard wired to the same D-Link switch the Tablo is using.
- 1 Roku Ultra on a second TV connected wirelessly to the network.
- 1 2TB WD My Cloud NAS

A little background, I use Plex as our primary UI for playback because it has parental controls and offers a unified UI for all media content we have. I have a lifetime Plex Pass so I also utilize Plex’s sync functionality and I dabble in playing around with Plex DVR/Live TV on the side. Primary Plex server is the Shield TV.

All recordings are scheduled on the Tablo. Only issues I’ve encountered recently appear to have been reception issues, that resulted in the decision to upgrade the antenna which appears to have resolved those issues. The only complaint I have there is I really wish a reception issue on a single channel didn’t result in the entire Tablo rebooting and interrupting multiple in progress recording on other channels.

Tablo Ripper runs nightly overnight to move all content from the Tablo to the NAS which is where Plex is configured to point for libraries. Because I’m a little OCD about keeping things tidy Tablo Ripper is configured to delete the content from the Tablo after ripping it to the NAS. So, the Tablo usually has very little actual content on it for longer then 24 hours. Maybe that’s a primary factor as to why I’m not seeing the issues you are? Maybe it has something to do with the amount of content on the Tablo at the time and by association the amount of data in the database as well?


#27

The bugs we are discussing here are unrelated to your configuration, router, switches, PLEX, antennas, etc. They arise from some combination of mistakes made in design and programming , a lack of hardware resources to perform the necessary functions, or both.

When users begin to experience problems which you do not observe as a beta tester, what you are witnessing is an incomplete set of testing that only expose the software to a limited set of test conditions, and therefore did not reveal the problem that occurs in other types of circumstances. A simple example would be that a start of new recording which simultaneously occurred when an EPG update was in progress may cause starting recording to fail, a missed recording.

The bugs that are being reported here on this forum since the firmware update have suddenly changed the way the Tablo behaves, either because of mistakes were made in design or coding, or the hardware lacks the necessary resources to perform the tasks at hand . We are not encountering these missed recordings and undeletable stuck phantom icons 100% of the time. To the contrary, they occur occasionally, but they do occur somewhat repeatedly and in a way that can be replicated .

A technical opinion I expressed a couple years ago on this forum , based on my experience in building real-time systems since 1971, was that a likely explanation was a software "race " design issue. In this situation, synchronization and real-time control sometimes works correctly and other times fails, depending upon how busy the hardware is. In a real-time system, either interrupts or semaphores are used to synchronize two or more processes so as to ensure that they each take place in the correct sequence . If one of the hardware devices lacks the ability and its operating system to support interrupts or semaphores (which is sadly the case with the Roku), then two processes that are supposed to take place in a particular sequence may instead not occur correctly.

If both devices are very fast and have no big latency the chances of a problem are very slight . If on the other hand one or both of the devices are having trouble keeping up with the workload, they will occasionally or frequently fail to synchronize properly.

One bug which lasted on the Roku and Tablo for well over a year caused the Tablo during FForward timeline scrubbing to lose synchronization with the Roku unit crashing and then rebooting . Those of us who lived with that problem found it maddening. Most recently, a single step process of deleting recording which were being made live was changed into a two-step process, with the first step to be stopping the live recording, and then the second step, performed manually at a later time, to actually delete the recording. In both the scrubbing and deletion situations, the solution to the “race” condition is to slow down the processes so that the chance of one going to completion before the second one begins is assured. It is not a coincidence now that the timeline scrubbing now is considerably slower than it used to be, nor is it a coincidence that the deletion of live recordings has been now split into a two-step process . Clearly, there are high demand workloads, particularly of the four tuner unit, which cause certain activities to be slowed down possibly causing them in turn to misbehave. Rearranging task priorities and adding code to inject wait times/delays our time-tested software engineering methods to solve these problems which have been applied successfully here.

Thus, simultaneous downloading of the EPG along with multichannel recording as a hypothetical example, may actually indicate a specific stressful situation which is difficult to be completed 100% of the time without error. Process completion timing and processor workload become especially critical when the device or devices do not support interrupt or semaphore signaling.

Since the Roku and its operating system support neither, the software engineers are left with the challenge of choosing task priorities and deliberate process delay / slowdown code to ensure proper sequence of execution.

I am delighted to learn that the reports of problems have been met with aggressive activity by Tablo to resolve these issues. I certainly do look forward to swift resolution.


#28

I wouldn’t consider a machine from the same vendor as backup. For that reason I bought an inexpensive Homeworx ($35) that records programs at the same time as our Tablo that both my wife and I deem as essential. If one fails, the other has carried on.

BTW I’m also at a loss to explain why this $35 box has a vastly superior tuner to the Tablo getting stations the Tablo doesn’t even see… So for one channel we have to go to the Homeworx (both on the same antenna).


#29

MarkKindle…TV signals can vary from time-to-time, so you might try a channel rescan on the Tablo to see if it picks up the channel that only shows on the Homeworx device.

Also you might try swapping the cables between the Tablo and the Homeworx. In times past I discovered a defective 2-way passive splitter that had one bad output; possibly a bad solder joint internal.


#30

Tried all those at one point a year ago. The Homeworx still comes out on top (it gets 20 channels, the Tablo consistently gets 17 not counting subchannels). Two channels on the Tablo pixelate; those same two on the Homeworx are rock solid.

There have been a few others with Tablos that have also observed that the Homeworx has a better tuner. In fact the Homeworx tuner slightly beats what used to be my best tuner (my LG TV). Don’t understand why a $35 device outperforms more expensive boxes in terms of reception…

LG and Samsung have made historically the best TV tuner chips (over the past decade). I heard somewhere that the Homeworx does use an LG made tuner. The other tuner that I have run into that was one of the best is the now defunct OnAir GT (which also used an LG made tuner). When somebody asks me to recommend a TV for OTA, I refer them to either an LG or Samsung.

HOWEVER I wouldn’t recommend the Homeworx as a primary DVR - only as a secondary one in a backup role. Its other functions (aside from reception) are truly wretched LOL. I’m permanently hooked into the Tablo because of the lifetime guide subscription (which my wife loves). Very smart of Nuyyvo to have offered a lifetime pegged to the account and not device because if our Tablo fails, we’ll surely just get another Tablo.

PS never quite sure if there are two “y” or two “v” in Tablo’s corporate name. They should have just gone with one “y” and one “v” :smirk:


#31

@MarkKindle

Interesting… I have One channel with 2 sub channels that I’d like to view, that comes in very weak/pixelated on both my Tablo 4 Tuners.

Same poor reception with my HDHomerun 2 tuner and quad.

These channels should come in ok according to the tvfool, etc sites.

I think I’ll give the Homeworx Device a try.

Thanks

Chas


#32

HDHomerun tuners aren’t the best either. In the early days of that company, someone noticed that their tuners were just average and took a look at who their supplier was. It turns out that the best tuner manufacturers from Asia weren’t willing to supply Silicondust with their chips and Silicondust turned to less expensive, more readily available chips.

Now I can’t guarantee that your experiment with Homeworx might work. I have one channel that neither tuner (Tablo nor Homeworx) would get although TVFool said I should get it more easily than all the other channels. Turns out that its RF waves were coming in at several inches away from the antenna. Whenever I moved the antenna to capture those RF waves, I got that channel quite well BUT NONE OF THE OTHERS. Darn…what a dilemma to be in!

So what I had to do is put an antenna up at that specific location to get that particular channel and retain the other antenna for all the rest. A matter of just several inches!

In fact I have three antennas up because my channels come into three different locations (a few inches or feet apart). Probably because I have a forest all around me and trees will scatter the RF waves. In a situation such as mine, one antenna will not do the job since reception is deflected into three different zones; in my case there is no optimum midpoint location (between all the channels) that will bring them all in.


#33

Tablo’s tuners were selected because they had the best possible performance for our use case.

The difference you’re seeing is likely because the Homeworx has a SINGLE tuner. Tablo has TWO tuners so you’re getting 50% of the signal to each tuner.

Well, likely less than 50% of your overall signal strength if your antenna is split between the Tablo and the Homeworx.

Boosting your overall signal with a better, more powerful antenna, or improving your antenna’s position will likely allow you to get those two extra channels.


#34

Is the Homeworx a single tuner device? Not that I’m saying it wouldn’t be nice if the Tablo had better tuners, but it’s a bit apples to oranges if you are comparing a device with one tuner to devices with multiple tuners if only because of the need for a splitter with the latter which will obviously affect signal strength to some extent.


#35

I have the best antennas and the best preamps. I am not getting 50% of the signal to each Tablo tuner since these signals show very high SNR on my Hauppauge signal meter.

I have put two Homeworx on a splitter and STILL get the channel the Tablo doesn’t. How do you explain that one?


#36

The Homeworx is one tuner but the signal going to both has a very low noise preamp which is quite strong as measured by my Hauppauge meter.

BTW I have put two Homeworx on a splitter and STILL get the channel the single Tablo doesn’t. I have a Homeworx in two rooms.


#37

Are you saying that there is no amplification in a Tablo to overcome signal splitting?!?


#38

If there is, remember that the dual Tablo has a 4 way split, not a 2 way. So my Tablo is dividing the signal by 4, not 2.

Also any amplification raises the noise level. Internal amplification within a Tablo will also add noise to the incoming signal. If for example, the Tablo amplifier ups the signal level by 2 db but adds 1 db noise while losing a certain percentage of the signal due to the split, what is really the overall effect? My Samsung TV has an internal amplifier of 2 db (which is why I used that as an example). What in fact is the quality of Tablo’s internal amplifier?

PS Did not mean to hijack @RetiredEngineer’s thread since I brought up the Homeworx as an example of an inexpensive backup to the Tablo to ensure failproof recording.


#39

BTW an another alternative way for getting a specific channel is to make an antenna tuned to that specific frequency. For example, in my circumstances I’d make a 4 bay with 10.75" whiskers for FOX or 9.5" whiskers for ABC. Done that kind of customization and it works quite well in resonating to problematic frequencies. And add a preamp also tuned just to that particular frequency (Jan Jenca make those and they are not expensive).


#40

This is the only reference I could find regarding an internal Tablo amp: