The 4k Future on Tablo

Anyone who goes to Costco will notice the 4k future is now. It seems clear to me that Tablo must be making plans to support this trend. Upgrades need to be made… USB 3, Sata III, ATSC 3.0, and last but not least, room for 15mm internal drives.

As a customer that just purchased my 1st Tablo, and is looking to jump off from Tivo… these are all things that I worry about. Before I continue my investment in the Tablo ecosystem (I have 3 Tivo’s to upgrade/replace) I am concerned about the “expiration date” on my hardware purchase.

So far, I have not heard any news about this future, the 4k future… and this concerns me.

How is 4K the near future though? 4K OTA TV is years away. Especially in Canada :joy:

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This will solve all your problems:


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I do not know how near it is or is not. I live in the Phoenix area, where ATSC 3.0 testing is beginning. All the TVs I see for sale are 4k (and I see 8k TVs coming soon). I just recently purchased my 1st piece of 4k gear (a streaming box). I am looking at upgrading my old TVs, 2 x 1080p and 1 x 720p. I am also looking at upgrading my receivers and Blu-ray players to 4k. This will be a big upgrade cycle. Even the Tivo’s are getting on the bandwagon, with 4k capable units. As a consumer, I am wondering if by buying 2 more Tablo’s now, to replace 10 year old Tivo units, am I buying into the wrong ecosystem.

I am trying to make decisions now that will affect me 5 years from now (maybe), that might have a life span of a further 5 years beyond that (for a total life of 10 years). That’s how long I have stuck with Tivo… and hope to stick with the next cycle of equipment I buy.

So far I see that Tablo has upgraded their storage capacity to 8tb, and their internal flash memory to 8gb… both steps in the right direction. But I think more steps must be in the works. Perhaps I am too early, but I need to do something with the limited storage on my old Tivo’s… I am pretty handy, maybe I will just try to upgrade their HDDs myself and stick with them for awhile longer.

To be clear, TiVo Edge’s ‘4K’ capabilities have to do with the streaming services it also runs on its box. Not OTA content.

As the series of blog posts @snowcat highlighted above point out, the transition to ATSC 3.0 is voluntary. While locations like Phoenix are test markets, even the folks who are deeply involved in pushing this transition forward are caught in a chicken/egg dilemma.

Broadcasters are reluctant to invest in a switchover until there are consumer products able to access those signals. Until there are signals to access, consumer electronics manufacturers like us will be reluctant to invest too heavily in making gear for the new standard.

It’s something we’re definitely keeping a close eye on, but even if everything goes according to proposed timelines and we start seeing stations come online towards the end of 2020, ATSC 1.0 signals will continue to be available until 2025 at the very least.

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I agree with you. As a consumer though, I am trying to make wise choices. Choosing the right ecosystem is important to me. During my 10 years with Tivo, I have upgraded my Tvio’s a couple of times. I do not expect Tablo units that I buy today to last 10 years, but if I buy into the Tablo ecosystem, I want to know now that Tablo will be producing 4k equipment in the future. I don’t want to get on the wrong horse.

My basic reason for leaning away from Tvio at this point is the difficulty of working on their equipment… I am a DIY’er. I like the way that Tablo has allowed people to easily pick and install their own HDDs. Tivo doesn’t do that. I like that Tablo has improved their hardware and software over the last few years, all steps I have watched and like to see. It may only be hype now, but 4k is coming (when I don’t know, and that makes it hard for people like you and I). But it is coming and we all must plan for it.

I work for a software company…that company has a strict policy of not predicting the future…we can talk about plans and when we expect things to happen, but never promise anything such as an exact date, because inevitably, if you miss that date, someone is going to try to pin you to the wall for it.

Due to the fact that Tablo is OTA only…not a media server, their sole focus is on OTA, which is currently only ATSC 1.0, with a few small markets trialing 3.0…I can imagine that once a certain percentage of the country…20?..40?..who knows…but once a certain percentage of the country has 3.0…they will be in a position to sell units that support both 1.0 and 3.0 because they won’t want to produce a unit that only supports 3.0…because even if you have a station in your area that supports it, you’ll likely have ones that don’t also…so you will need both…and even the ones that DO support 3.0…they are legally obligated to support 1.0 for a MINIMUM of 5 years after going live with 3.0…but they themselves know that dropping 1.0 will drop customers out of their network…so they might not even drop it at the 5 year mark…

So…if you are looking for advise…I would say buy one now, and in 5-10 years when 3.0 is more of a standard thing and a greater number of consumer products even support it…then, buy the Tablo that’s likely to be on the market with that feature…but for the moment, you have a great product that has its flaws, but is better than any other solution I’ve worked with :slight_smile:

I don’t want to beat a dead horse… this is going a little off my topic. But I guess that is my fault. In case you didn’t read my OP, I have already purchased 1 Tablo unit. Basically for testing. To see if it will fit my purpose. But I am concerned that Tablo is still using old tech… i.e. USB 2, Sata II, 9.5mm internal drive bay, etc. I know it is the cost. You do not need to explain econ 101. But it does not seem they are moving very quickly toward the future. And that is concerning, as a potential buyer of more of their products over an extended period of time.

I am not looking for schedules or dates. The “future” is a pretty big period of time and sufficiently nebulous that it should not raise any concerns in regard to missed deadlines, etc.

About ATSC 3.0… I am not overly worried. I think it is a poor standard for OTA, since it is not in anyway backward compatible. I think there is a large probability that it will be DOA. Due to reasons previously given above. But 4k is still the future. Maybe ATSC 4.0, who knows? All I know is that the TV industry is going in the direction of higher resolutions. OTA must follow or risk becoming obsolete. My local cable company is reinventing itself as an ISP to try and avoid this sort of problem. Maybe 5G or the SpaceX satelite internet will prevail, who knows? But whatever it is, it will need higher resolution TVs, bigger HDD, more RAM, faster LANs, faster and smarter everything. I want to be on the edge, and I don’t think I am alone (not by any stretch of the imagination).

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Please tell me why you need USB 3.0. The USB 2.0 bus is more than fast enough for all the 4 simultaneous recordings at once, or the 6 streams at once.


Exactly. And Tablo is dependent on the OTA moves. As a small company when the big companies (i.e. some of the large station owners) themselves don’t know what direction they are going how is Tablo supposed to know?

The Tablo is used for a very specific function. Why does it need all the latest standards if they don’t really improve that function? I do get the WiFi and Ethernet improvements from the OG 4 tuner to the Quad as those are potentially some quality of life improvements but if USB 2 has sufficient bandwidth for the function of the Tablo, why does it really need USB 3?

Tell me why we need 4K? 8K? etc…

“Tablo is still using old tech… i.e. USB 2, Sata II, 9.5mm internal drive bay, etc. I know it is the cost.”

Since tablo only supports 6 concurrent output streams and 1 ATSC 1.0 h.264 stream max’s out at just above 10 Mbps why would a company over engineer a product. Does the product’s I/O requirements come close to what is currently built into the product?

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Please just like fancy specs on paper that serve no real purpose to make themselves feel good lol It is the only reason I bought my iPhone XS Max last year.

Nothing beats the 8K resolution of my new crApple Watch. I used to have the 4K version, not nearly as sharp. Feel sorry for everyone stuck in the past.

If your main concern is cost control, then one would be happy with “good enough”. However, as a consumer, that is not my main concern.

“ATSC 1.0” is to “ATSC 3.0” as “A small girl crying because she is lost in a forest” is to “potato”.

Actually, we don’t. My eyesight is failing and SD looks as good as HD to me, personally. But I need a new TV (or 3) and a visit to Costco shows me a bunch of 4k sets on offer. Not a 1080p set can be found. And my Tivo says hard drive is 95% full… so I am deleting shows like mad.

I purchased a Tablo and will use it as a way to offload my Tivo. But I really want a way to upgrade or replace the Tivo with newer better tech. Right now, nothing in the market is saying “buy me”. The Tablo I picked up for testing is a used model, that I got for cheap. I hope it works out.

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That was sort of my point. Often times we’re victims of what is “now”. We may not “need” ATSC 3.0, but eventually, we won’t have a choice, and sometimes that is “forced early”… as was the case for 4K TV.

(btw, I bought my 1080p OLED before the 4K wave… glad I did. Why spend big bucks on “new and shiny” when it all turns to dirt with ATSC 3.0?) The rest of our sets are 720p (32").

I think you are right. But Tablo could and probably (I hope) will make some small moves in the right direction. For example, I would like to see support, in the future for 15mm internal drives. That would not cost a lot, but would easily double the internal storage of the unit. Also, USB 3 and Sata II are not on the bleeding edge anymore, adopting them might even be cheaper than sticking with USB 2 and Sata II. Newer tech can be less expensive. And these kinds of moves by Tablo would be good marketing. And marketing is extremely important to small companies.