Time to try HDHomeRun with Plex

I’ve had my Tablo for over a year now, and I’m really tired of Tablo constantly not recording my shows, and the ridiculously slow sync. I’ve ditched using the Tablo apps on my FireTV and Android phones in favor of Plex. TabloRipper + MCEBuddy + Comskip + Plex make Tablo usable. But now that it decided that it only wants to record two shows of my scheduled 10 or so, I think it’s time for something else. I just ordered a HDHomeRun. It will arrive tomorrow. Plex DVR support and the ability to save to a NAS = major win. Let’s see how it performs.


Keep us posted!!!

I hope you have better luck than I did. Don’t get me wrong, I love Plex and right now my workflow is to record using my Tablos and then rip the recordings to my Plex server for viewing and archiving. I haven’t had any problems with my Tablos. I am a Plex Premium subscriber too and gave Plex DVR a good couple of months try (quit trying February). I eventually gave up. I had a few problems with it:

  • Missed recordings. Lots of them and most annoying for me was that the recordings would fail and then completely disappear. Meaning that while Plex DVR was supposed to leave the failed recordings in the listings, it didn’t. This was a problem that cropped up in the last beta released I used. This meant that I had to constantly check that shows were actually showing this week and then check that they recorded.
  • If you’re going to use a HDHR Extend for recording because it has a x264 transcoder built-in and will let you transcode the broadcast MPEG-2 to x264 in real-time, good luck with that. You either get pretty good transcoding (“Heavy”) that is not deinterlaced or you get heavily compressed transcoding (“Mobile”) that is deinterlaced. This is a thread about it. If you didn’t get the HDHR Extend, then all your recordings will be MPEG-2 and you will either have to transcode the using a post-processing script (a pain to get working in Plex) or transcode on-the-fly.
  • Plex DVR does not check HDHR tuners before recording and since Plex doesn’t let one watch live TV, you’ll end up using another app to do that. The problem here is that Plex DVR predetermines which tuner it is going to use in an HDHR box when the recording is scheduled. If someone in your household decides to watch live TV using the HDHR and uses that tuner – and is continuing to use that tuner when your recording starts, the recording will fail. Plex does not bother to try the other tuner even if it is free.

The benefit of Plex DVR and HDHR is that Dolby Digital surround is passed through and recorded. That is awesome.

Oh, when you do record, don’t do the remux-on-the-fly option. Any glitch in the broadcast will throw the video and audio out of whack. I ended up recording only to TS files.

Hope you have better luck, let us know how it goes.


So I’ve been using it for about a week, and here are my notes / experiences.

  1. I do not watch live TV - so tuner issues are things I have not experienced.
  2. I have a lifetime PlexPass subscription.
  3. I have the paid versions of both MCE Buddy and Comskip.
  4. I use Plex on a QNAP TS-451+ with RAID6, 4X 3TB WD Red drives, 8GB RAM
  5. TS files are bigger than was was coming from the Tablo. Maybe that’s due to the multichannel sound from the HDHomeRun. That doesn’t matter much since I process everything through MCEBuddy - with comskip for stuff with commercials, and without comskip for PBS items - everything shrinks.
  6. I do not subscribe to the HDHomeRun DVR service - just use Plex DVR.
  7. The Plex DVR interface is only available in the web client - not on any others such as Android, Windows 10 App, or Amazon FireTV. This needs to be added so I can schedule recordings directly from any device.
  8. The couple times I have tried the HDHomeRun FireTV app to watch live TV, it was incredibly fast - just like the tuner on my TV - and it does have a 24 hour guide so you can see what’s on a channel in the future - no waiting to sync or to connect.
  9. The FireTV app also lets you watch live TV while browsing the guide.
  10. The HDHomeRun’s tuner seems to pick up more channels than the Tablo. I’m using a very simple antenna - RG6 cable with the last 10 inches stripped down to just the center conductor.
  11. I wish the PlexDVR would also allow viewing by a channel & time guide.
  12. No more external HD necessary - the files are recorded directly to my NAS.
  13. With PlexDVR, you cannot watch the show until it is done recording - again, not something that’s bothering me at this time - by when football season starts - well, I guess I’ve have to watch live - or pony up the money for the HDHomeRun DVR.

Question about #10… “RG6 cable with the last 10 inches stripped down to just the center conductor”. Do you mean you connect a regular RG6 cable and then the end (i.e., where an antenna would be) is just 10 inches of bare wire? How far are you from the towers?

Thanks for the feedback - Number 7 and 13 are big features for many, good to know the limitation (which I can only assume they will fix later).

Yup. I actually have the device in my utility room, connected to an RG6 cable that runs to another room in the house. At the wall in the next room, I connected a roughly 6 foot long RG6 cable with the last 10 inches stripped down to the center conductor. I’ve been doing this for years. At my previous house I had a Terk Attic antenna which was no more effective. My closest tower is 3 miles away, and the longest distance is about 7 miles.

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Thanks for the info. Figured you had to be pretty close (and I agreen on Terk antennas, they aren’t very good at all).


I guess this puts the nail in the coffin for the Tablo at my house.

I’m not quite ready to give up on Tablo yet but as I posted in another thread, this is compelling.

All my content ends up in Plex for final viewing so this may allow removing some moving pieces and simplifying the overall process. Plex appears to have addressed some of the major pain points with this release so I’m curious to give it a try.

One thing I’m interested in is multi-tuner support on the Shield TV since we use that as the platform for the only TV we have. We would need 4 tuners like we have with our Tablo now. The Shield TV has 2 USB ports. I’m using one for an external 1TB drive since we have the 16GB Shield TV. If we get 2 2-tuner USB tuners I wonder if the Shield TV supports a USB hub so I use the second USB port on it to connect a USB hub and then put both tuners in that?

I also use both HDHomeRun and Tablo.

The Tablo records all the OTA network shows, and my Plex DVR using a HDHomeRun Prime (with a Cablecard) records the like of ‘Better Call Saul’, ‘Mr Robot’, and ‘The Walking Dead’. I ra

The Plex app allows you to apply post processing to the recordings, so I use PlexComskip to remove all the commercials from the Plex DVR recordings.

For the Tablo recordings I use the script I posted here.

All the shows wind up in Plex, commercial-free. I use the Plex app on the latest TV to playback.

And, btw, Plex just released Live TV for PlexPass holders. I already use a second HDHomeRun for live via the Channels app on the TV. The new live feature in Plex might be very useful for getting hometown live TV when out-of-town.

With other apps on the TV for Hulu, Showtime, HBOGO, etc. I can get everything I need, including live TV and commercial-free DVR, through the TV. Whole-house DVR (for any tv with an TV attached) for the cost of a Cablecard, $4.99/mo.

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Now that live tv is supported on both android and apple clients this is starting to get interesting. Does anyone know if transcoded shows (using the “Extend” model) support 5.1?

Found a post on the SD forums that said this about the Extend…

“Stereo vs 5.1 - the EXTEND outputs the audio in the same format it is broadcast in - 5.1 is supported (no loss of channels). If you are using the HDHomeRun apps for Windows, Mac, or Android and you are using the HDMI output you will get 5.1 if the original broadcast is 5.1. I believe Plex is the same.”

I don’t do 5.1 but one thing I ran into when I got an Extend fairly cheap via the Plex Pass deal a few months is I couldn’t get Plex DVR recorded content to direct play on a Roku 3 without transcoding. At that point since live TV wasn’t supported on Android (just Android TV) and there wasn’t (and still isn’t) a grid for live TV (sorry, my wife let me do this much, she still watches some live TV during the and prefers a grid for that so, so that has some weight in a move to something else) I ended up returning the Extend and will be sticking with Tablo for now.

BTW, the speed of Tablo Ripper vs post-processing stuff in Plex DVR via ffmepg, etc. was a determining factor as well. Tablo Ripper just works, which is a testament to the time you have put into it. Thanks!

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Thanks for the insight! I wouldn’t have suspected something as basic as a channel guide would be missing. This isn’t a great way to surf IMHO.

Tablo still seems to be ahead of the competition. It all just works :+1:

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The HDHR DVR and Plex DVR both have a channel guide, just not a “grid guide”.
As a user of both Tablo and HDHR Products, my way is as follows:
Tablo: DVR only.
HDHR Connect(2x) serves as my “Live” under the “Google Live Channels” app. The HDHR App provides a 4hr grid guide to the google app, and works great for channel surfing.

**Google Live Channels also supports the HDHR devices under their native interface- which adds a 24hr guide and their native DVR, but if you have and older TV you will not get audio without an AVR or soundbar that will decode the 5.1 audio.

TBH, everything I have tried has had a shortcoming somewhere-
Tablo: Horrid experience for “Channel Surfing”, No “Google Live Channels” app support
HDHR DVR: “Slice” guide is not wife approved, doesn’t fully integrate to the “Google Live Channels” app.
Google DVR: Single device DVR, won’t support stereo only TV’s.
Plex DVR: nonstandard guide not wife approved, (haven’t tested the newest release- newly added features and expanded the DVR interface) https://www.plex.tv/blog/control-time-space-sort/

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Don’t say to loud about TABLO. Everyone thinks that TABLO is the Best thing up there and the person who has a problem with it they don’t know what they doing…

I don’t think that’s an entirely fair comment. I understand there may be some frustration for you but I try to be very careful about using everyone and making blanket statements.

Yes, there are plenty of us here (remember, generally lots of people only post when they have issues, not when things are going well) that have minimal problems but I think most of us that fall into that category still have places where we feel Tablo could be doing better. Posts from long time posters asking for updates on long standing requests is pretty much proof of that.

Having said that, there are also some pretty tried and true causes and solutions for some of the common complaints and most of the time they are worth paying attention to. Not that they always resolve the problem, but there is plenty of evidence in other posts that it’s worth the time to investigate them if only to rule things out.

Using solutions like Plex and Tablo necessarily introduces more pieces into the puzzle so sometimes it is a Tablo problem, other times it’s a network or antenna problem.

I’ve been a long-time Plex user (going on 6 years now)…and I’ll say with confidence that the Tablo isn’t going to be replaced any time soon. I’ve been running a Tablo Quad and an HD Extend w/Plex DVR simultaneously for a couple of months. Despite hours upon hours of troubleshooting and research, I continuously have issues with the Plex DVR recording shows and then immediately deleting them upon completion. Some others simply don’t record. Additionally, the Extend’s tuner significantly underperforms the Tablo’s in terms of both reception and transcoding quality.

Tablo still has some frankly head-scratching shortcomings (still no ability to limit a show to a certain # of recordings??)…but it’s never eaten up much of my time. It’s still leading the OTA DVR competition, in my opinion.

Food for thought…

Yup getting interesting.