Thumbnails during playback

I’d like to see thumbnails during a playback after pause. If this feature is already there, please tell me how to activate it.


Thumbnails are only generated after a program has finished recording and a tuner is free to generate the thumbnails. It will usually take 10 to 15 minutes to complete the process for a 1 hour program.

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Huh? My Roku TV does it instantaneously. In other words, I’d have to record/pause the entire program and go back to the beginning to get thumbnails? That doesn’t come close to making sense.

But, thanks for trying to help. Much appreciated.

Because Tablo transcodes when recording the program in order to support multiple playback devices, the thumbnail generation is not done until the recording is completed and then only if a tuner is available to process the recording to generate the thumbnails (i.e. if all the tuners are in use recording programs it will wait until one is not being used for recording so as to not interrupt any recordings).

So, if you are just slightly time-shifting a recording and beginning playback before the recording completes, you will not have thumbnails. However, if you wait about 10-15 minutes after the recording completes (assuming a tuner was available to generate the thumbnails) you should have thumbnails.

Comparing it to your Roku TV isn’t quite apples and apples as it only has to support it’s own playback, not other devices.

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I don’t get the concept of needing a ‘tuner’, is it a tuner or one of the transcoders in the Pixelworks chip?

Good question, I’m just going by what the FAQ says and it doesn’t look like it goes into that detail…

Perhaps they just have it dumbed down, it doesn’t matter much I guess about the technical details.

I have to say I really like the Tablo, however this lack of thumbnails is by far it’s weakest link. My wife soon discovered this problem and switched back over to DirecTV to watch a show that wasn’t done recording. I plan to cancel Direct the end of October. Happy wife happy life.

The very FIRST thing the missus said about it was, “Where are the little pictures when I play back?” I like almost everything about Tablo, but when the missus goes back to straight antenna, that signals (to me) an area that needs some attention. I was hoping to avoid the back & forth switching stuff, but it appears that’s not going to happen.

I assume you have a USB stick attached to your Roku TV. Your TV has a built in 90-minute live TV buffer with that attached drive, which is why you can see thumbnails on live TV. You wouldn’t be able to do that with most TVs.

As others have said, the Tablo has to finish your recording and go through it all one more time to generate thumbnails (and one more time after that to process commercial skip).

Yep, massive weakness. It should be snagging frames as it records like everything else does.

Yup, I sure do. But, I also have a 1TB HD on my Tablo. Same principle except one’s a HD the other a flash drive.

I wouldn’t say “massive”, but definitely not a selling point. :grin:

Well if I get stuck with DirecTV for another 10 years it’s going to be a massive problem. I honestly don’t really watch TV, my sole job is to provide the solution that lets my wife watch what she wants the way she wants with the least overhead on her part and the bank account.


Actually I’ve been with DIrecTV for almost 27 years. Time for a change.

I can see why you say it is a weakness if you have other solutions that have provided it quicker. Out of curiosity though, is this really an apples to apples comparison? I would think the reason it’s not doing it while recording is because it’s doing the initial transcode to support all the playback devices it supports while other solutions may just be recording the MPEG-2 stream. So not exactly the same process.

It’s all about use cases but for mine we watch so little until at least after the recording has completed (honestly, we usually don’t watch until the day after something records at a minimum) that it’s just not a big weakness for me, not when compared to the flexibility it provides for us.


They’re actually combo units. Tuner and video processor. But everyone refers to the combo as a tuner. Generating thumbnails requires a processor, which ties up a tuner as well.

Isn’t the OTA stream output by the maxlinear tuners just input to the pixelworks xcode software (not tablo) for processing and HLS file construction. And that tablo calls xcode API’s telling it what it needs to do.

And if so, isn’t this really a request for pixelworks changes. And it’s not clear what pixelworks future plans are for the xcode processor. So if pixelworks needs to make major changes, I wouldn’t be holding my breath

On the Quad you can actually see the differential pairs coming form the tuners into the Pixelworks chip. Any idea what processor the Tablo uses or does it use something internal to the Pixelworks chip. I have one Chip with a heat sink glued to it that I don’t want to heat up and pull off. I’m rouge, but I’m not wanting to damage the device.