Thinking of getting a Tablo

I’ve been looking into OTA DVRs for a couple of months now since we cut the cord in the Spring. I’m thinking of getting a 4-tuner Tablo and connecting via Cat-5 direct to my new Asus rt-n66u router then wirelessly to a Roku Stick that I also use for Netflix, Amazon, and Sling.

My main concern is that it seems the Tablo hardware is a couple of years old. It would seem that with an upgrade to USB 3 and newer processor some of the transcoding lag would be reduced. Is there any word or rumors of the Tablo getting upgraded to a 2.0 version. I don’t necessarily mind buying it as is, but I would be a bit peeved if a new version was released a few months after I bought the original.

I’d be curious what you’ve found in your research; how do the various DVRs compare in terms of hardware specs?

@gt8042b - We have no plans to update the hardware for the 2 or 4 tuners for the foreseeable future.

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Alright, I was just wondering since many other electronics seem to change so often. I was originally leaning toward the Bolt, but I think I’m going to give the Tablo to myself for Christmas.

I haven’t seen any detailed tear-downs of these units. Most of my research has been on sites like Amazon, Consumer Reports and forums like these. The comparisons that I have found aren’t exactly apple-to-apple because each comes at the problem a little differently. Like the Tablo doesn’t have a hard drive, while the Channel Master doesn’t have wifi, and the Bolt has an expensive guide and requires tivo minis if you’re going to use more than one device.

I say buy it. Tablo is a good company because they don’t appear to purposefully antiquate their products to get you to upgrade like most other tech companies. They may not have as many developers as TiVo, but for the most part they listen to their customer base and constantly add new features as requested. I’m still very happy I got mine, and I succeeding in helping my parents get one last month.

Upgrade to USB 3.0 will not affect anything.

Newer, faster, better processor will definitely affect things. However I think they’ll still want to make sure there is a good price point on the device (or they can follow the massive increase plan like Roku going 3 to 4).

If even a successful, believable rumor where to come out (be it true or false), it will hurt Tablo sales and the company. So it’s pure economics … can you wait and take a risk for some unknown period of time?.. or do you need something now?

Since Tablo devices aren’t getting greatly discounted, I would think that a new device is still a ways off. But that’s not a definitive statement.

Are there any issues with using a Roku Stick instead of a Roku 3?

I also spent several months observing at this forum so I knew ahead of time what problems I would encounter with the Tablo. However I had gotten sick and tired of people having their hands on my wallet every month so I ditched cable for OTA to be free. I saw that the Tablo would cost me the least per month (though the ChannelMaster unit had no monthly costs).

I considered the ChannelMaster DVR because I had the ChannelMaster 4228 antennas which I respected a lot. However the ChannelMaster DVR would tie me to one room and I wanted to see my programming on my Rokus, iPad, Nexus 7 and Samsung phones. So while I didn’t like the $5 per month for the extended guide, it was the least amount I was willing to pay.

I knew the problems ahead of time but was willing to put up with them since software is changeable, malleable and improveable. One only has to glance at the official Roku forum to notice that every second thread is about a Roku problem so any device will have problems. Heck I had a Tivo years ago that I had to fix myself since it was out of warranty.

The person happiest in our household with the Tablo is my wife who has wanted a simple interface for several years to record OTA. I’m particularly thrilled that my wife can be watching television OTA in bed while I have the iPad (with earphones) to be watching something else OTA through the Tablo. Or take my Nexus7 on the back porch to watch a game streamed by the Tablo.


Actually the Channel Master does have wifi if you use their USB wireless adapter. What it does not have is the ability to stream to another TV/device. Even though they have some software to download/copy the recorded shows, it requires the HD to be removed from CM and connected to the PC. The lack of sharing/streaming has significantly limited its usability, IMHO.

The spec of the Bolt looks pretty good to me, but I’m not a fan of their physical shape and color, in addition to the recurring fees after the first year. One thing I really like about the Tablo is that I can hide the unit and hard drive anywhere in my house and still be able to access it through a small set top box, or an app on my phone.

I’ve been checking the price of Tablo on Amazon and Newegg and notice that the price has gone up from ~$270 to ~$295 in the past week. You might just want to wait a bit to see if they have sale price again for black Friday. On the other hand, there is a $25 off $200 promotion from American Express, if you are to buy from Newegg.


Yep, mine is in the basement. I also like the fact that the hard drive is not internal. I personally upgraded the hard drive on my Tivo years ago and it was a pain in the ass. DirecTV DVRs in those years allowed you to add an external drive but then disabled the internal one if an external one was plugged in. I like the fact that I can BYOD (“bring your own drive”) so that if one dies, one can easily change.

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Yes, I used my own external drive on the DTV DVR in those years also just to avoid needing to send the unit back to DTV in case the internal HD dies. My bedroom is much quieter now after I got rid of those units with noisy fans :smiley:

Did you get the $5 a month equipment insurance policy from DTV in those years? Man that used to burn me up when I’d call DTV and the CS rep would say FIRST THING, “Checking your account, we see sir that you have OUR insurance for YOUR equipment.”

And those boxes could also get hot.

BTW the way I would get recordings off those boxes is by running component cables from the DTV DVR out to a Hauppauge recorder and rerunning the show (for the hour or two) for the Hauppauge to record to my PC LOL. Now the Tablo Ripper does that in minutes for me.

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The Stick is old tech, the UI interface will operate slowly on it.

I bought the Tablo about 8 months back. Thought it was right for me and what I wanted. Turns out I should have done more research as it did not do 2 things I really thought I was getting. Dolby 5.1 and a way to reach the hard disk so I could put recorded content into my PLEX server. I was not too happy about either, but not being able to access recorded content in any normal way, was more then not being happy, it was the reason behind the purchase.

That up there is the negative stuff. What follows is the positive stuff.

I aired my comments and complaints here and some other forums of like kind I belong to. Got some replies, some up and some down. Got a nice reply from the Tablo employee who is here often. And I got some suggestions on what I can do to possibly move recorded content from Tablo’s hard disk to my PLEX server. Read and listened and tried some of all that was given to me. It took quite alot of research and work on my part as well, but I did find ways to get recorded content off my Tablo. Most of the work though was already done and being done by at least 3 different people right here on this forum. Some work proceeded the work these 3 did, but I wasn’t able to make good enough use of it for my purpose.

So, over the next several months, I worked with the 3 different apps these fellow tablo user produced and I was able to make do with my Tablo. Still no 5.1 surround sound, but that’s not the deal breaker the lack of a suitable means to do what are essentially backups of Tablo’s recorded content was.

Now, all of my recorded content is always being monitored automatically and whenever a new title is generated to the Tablo HD, freely provide software from one of these 3 is busy making a perfect copy and then placing it where other software I have purchased takes it, removes commercials, and puts it into my PLEX server, all by itself. Could not be more pleased as it is working fine and has been for at least a month or more.

So I would have to say if and when you might decide to by a Tablo, you will not only be getting this nice piece of hardware, you will be getting the best efforts of fellow users who are on your side and are willing to help you. That to me is worth more the the Tablo as it is willing people putting themselves in a place to help. And help is what this world filled with people need more then anything else. It’s a little thing here but the concept of freely helping and wanting to, is what makes all the difference in turning not so great into something that can be very great.


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What is this said software? I am very interested in it.


No I did not, because I figured that if anything goes wrong, I still have to send the unit back and have nothing to watch for at least a week or two. It would have been much easier when I can just plug in another hard drive myself :smile:

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I too would like to know what programs he’s using and how it’s doing everything on it’s own. I’d like to have this setup myself for storing full seasons of shows. That would be awesome.

It is MCEBuddy, but both MCEBuddy and another program included with it will need to be contributed to. MCEBuddy I believe was $30 US and Comskip I believe was $10 US. When you have the donated versions, you will get full speed use of Comskip and MCEBuddy only releases it’s latest versions if you have donated. For me, only the beta version of MCEBuddy allowed Comskip to perform nearly flawlessly to remove commercials. I have had these programs for over a year and was trying to make use of the automated commercial removal software. There are 2 different ones, Comskip and Show Analyzer. I tried for many weeks to make either work well enough to use, but really never succeeded. This was back when I was using Happauge HVR-2250 tuner and MCE. But, after trying again with the encodes produced by FFMpeg (all 3 used FFMpeg BTW), I was still not satisfied with the commercial removal results, so just continued to using the apps provided by the 3 user here until I decided which one I liked the best for my purpose. Over a few weeks at best, I aging got “itchy” want to automatically remove commercials. I have found an excellent program to manually remove commercial content very quickly, but I keep trying other packages. Wound up going back to both comskip and Show Analyzer and bought both. Show Analyzer suite really did nothing for me as I think it must have been only partially completed and was being sold “as is” more or less. So when I paid for the donator version, I decided to uninstall MCEBuddy fully and even did a manual registry cleanup for both Comskip and MCEBuddy. Downloaded the latest beta version of MCEBuddy and install that and then moved the Comskip files to a permanent folder of it’s own so any future installs/updates of MCEBuddy would not effect how Comskip would work.

Wow, my fingers are getting tired.

Anyway, did a test on one of the ripped files from Tablo using my freshly configured MCEBuddy (there is a bit of of one time setting up that is necessary for fully automatic operations, but not overly involved or tough to figure out) and then did a test conversion. Took maybe 7 or 8 minutes to convert a 1 hour show. This was the fastest I have had this work todate. Normally it would take upwards to 1/2 hour or more, but now Comskip was running full speed which made a huge speedup in the entire process. So, played the converted file using my default windows media player (Daum’s PotPlayer 64 bit) and everything just work fine. End points seemed fine and the commercial cuts were within a second or so of being right. The cut-out was right on the money and the cut-back left just a second or less of the last bit of commercial before the show content started. This can be tuned, but honestly it’s good enough for me so I haven’t bothered to mess with the Conskip.ini files.

That’s the scenario and it’s a good one for me. Now all I do is every few days I will move the TV Show and TV Movie content into their own Title folders. PLEX likes each series or movie in it’s own folder. Make sure to put the production date in parenthesis with the title first and PLEX almost never errors to get the correct metadata for each and very title. Every once in awhile there will be a mixup on a title that has a similar title in IMDB or TVDB, but once you place that title into it title folder PLEX will always fix it automatically.

That’s just about all there is to it.