Trying to confirm "where" my thumbnails are coming from?

I am one of those that subscribe for commercial skip and it works well. Playing devil’s advocate; lets assume the decision comes down (from Tablo) to eliminate commercial skip for ALL customers — whether tomorrow or a year from now. Question asked below then:

For those of us that are willing to still pay the yearly $49.00 guide fee; will we still get thumbnails on our recordings? Just gathering some intel from users here with another question: If you turn OFF commercial skip on a recording how long after it records is it until the THUMBNAILS are reliably available to be seen and used? Does turning off CS speed up the availability of thumbnails after the recording is completed.

I wanted to solicit responses from my questions above rather than read a manual where what is printed might not be happening. I love my Tablo and for my wife the thumbnails are her “thing”.

Quad HDMI no internet no guide here.
Live TV just has skip no thumbnails.
Playing a recorded program has thumbnails. (work very well BTW)
Therefore you should still get thumbnails on finished recordings.
Did not actually time or check but seems they are there right after finish.

All my recordings are manual with no guide and have thumbnails on finished recordings.


I think thumbnails are generated as soon as the recording successfully finishes AND a tuner is available.

While the thumbnails are there, there has always been somewhat of an issue at times on Roku. It seems to depend on which roku os and the roku video player. Getting a new roku os seems to always be a crap shoot.

In a best-case scenario, a 1-hour recording should be commercial skip ready approximately 15 minutes after the recording is completed. However, the total time it takes for a recording to be processed by the Tablo Commercial Skip Server can vary depending on the length of the recording, the availability of an open tuner on your Tablo, your internet upload/download speed, and the current queue on the Commercial Skip Server. Longer recordings and recordings completed during peak periods can take between 1-2 hours for processing.

1 Like

Really? Tablo Support | Over The Air (OTA) DVR | Tablo and thumbnails
Here’s where it started, and some FAQs all which seem still relevant – hope this helps

note: at times the edit/update their posts without changing the date. So it’s hard to say when it may have been last updated.

Thank you all for trying to clarify.


I am happy to read that your “no internet” Tablo has great working tumbnails on your recordings. Hopefully my Quad “internet connected” Tablo performs the same on this issue.

I use a Firestick 4K max on multiple TV’s and Roku on only one. The Roku which is seldom watched and in the basement, seems to be OK too. Firestick is flawless on my end.


Your post brought up the same question I had before. Much/most of your post addressed CS and it may be relevant to my inquiry.

Opinions: does using commercial skip affect the creation time of thumbnails in any way? mendy above: says his “no internet” Tablo creates thumbnails fine. Without internet obviously he cannot access any commercial skip features. On the other hand, without internet, CS on his unit is not consuming a tuner to complete that process. Therefore by default that is one more free tuner for thumbnails??? Hmmmm

It would be intuitive to me that CS and thumbnails may actually use 2 tuners to complete their independent processes on each recording. Does that make sense, and is it so?

Would love to see Tablo Admin chime in on this post. I suppose many here would love to get clarity.

No. The process is: record → thumbnails → commercial skip. The system always tries to create thumbnails after the recording is complete, as soon as there’s a tuner available.

No again. One tuner is needed to create the thumbnails. CS does not require a tuner, but it does require that thumbnail creation be complete and successful.


Me again. Thanks in advance.

Back to mendy’s configuration above — > his no internet Tablo creates thumbnails LOCALLY, obviously. My internet connected Quad then must complete my thumbnails locally using one available tuner during that creation process.


My recording is now complete in that the show is recorded AND the thumbnails are now finished and available. Now its time to create the CS edits/addition of the recorded show. You are saying there is NO tuner used to “handshake” with the Tablo servers to process this procedure? My confusion then is HOW my Tablo and the Tablo servers are communicating to render the final outcome? Everything I have read indicates the CS premium service I buy cannot be accomplished locally only. Clarification please -------------------- asking humbly and not at all in a jerky way. Patience, I am old, LOL!

Not sure I understand your question. CS is accomplished by uploading thumbnails (a subset, I think) to the Tablo servers, then getting a playlist back that has the commercial sections marked. It’s all done over your Internet connection. The algorithm that looks at the images and figures out where the commercials are is running on the Tablo servers. No tuner in this part of the process.

  1. You record the show using a tuner.
  2. A tuner is used to generate thumbnails locally as soon as the recording is finished.
  3. The thumbnails are uploaded to Tablo servers. No tuner is used to upload.
  4. Assuming there were no issues Tablo servers send the commercial skip data back to your Tablo.

Handshakes are a security topic and would not likely be done by a tuner. Any handshake necessary would most likely be accomplished by the Tablo CPU which is separate from the tuner. Handshakes are very quick less then a second and not a constant action done continuously. They happen like an introduction to verify each device, service, or application knows it’s talking to the correct entity.

There may be some misunderstanding or confusion with terminology

  • When it comes to thumbnail creation - there is no distinction between an internet connected device and one which is not connected to the internet. Internet connectivity is irrelevant to thumbnail creation.

  • A tuner is needed to process thumbnails. I struggled to find the post from one of the Tablo[TV,Support,Engineer] In this respect only a tuner is used similar to processor [aka CPU].

  • The tablo otherwise is a SoC - system on a chip. It has a separate processor from each tuner to run it’s self. Stream content (network connected), manage the guide database and upload & retrieve commercial skip info - and whole bunch more.

djk44883, thank you for posting these articles. As a new Tablo Quad streaming DVR owner of 2 weeks now, I was wondering exactly how the thumbnail process works.

If I want to see thumbnails on a recording, I need to wait at least 2 minutes for a half hour show or 4 minutes for an hour show assuming a tuner is available, which should be the case for me most of the time. I have learned to use the left and right arrows to move around in live tv and move forward or backward in specific time increments.

1 Like

One trick I use if I started watching a show and there are no thumbnails is that I keep watching it to the commercial break. Then I stop playing it and resume it. Usually the thumbnails will have been processed by then. They won’t show up however without stopping the program and resuming it.

Not that anyone asked but…
One of the other things that does require a tuner is streaming from outside the home. That’s because the Tablo re-encodes the stream to reduce bandwidth.

1 Like

Jim, thanks for the tip. I will definitely take advantage of that.

Unless you have remote streaming set to Full Quality, in which case it doesn’t need a tuner.

Anyone know when that was added? I can verify it’s an option on my device but I don’t believe that was always an option. Seems as though there was only a handful of options when I originally set it up. Now they have a bunch of quality settings.

Are you saying you have thumbnails available while the recording is still in progress or when you say you resume it are you resuming after the recording has completed and the thumbnails have been generated?

In the context of the reply - waiting for thumbnails to complete. It’s likely they wait until the recording is complete …watching to the commercial.

If you start watching before the end, you’ll have to strategically plan your start time, to have the recording end… thumbnails complete, and then hope you got it right. Then it would be Real Tricky :wink:

No, they don’t generate till after. Sometimes I start a show near the end of the recording or right after before the thumbnails are generated. That’s when that trick helps.

It’s actually not that tricky with the news we watch. They don’t go to break till 15 minutes in. Start a little after half way through and we are good!

I got ya. I image it depends on the anixity/obsession level need-to-see the show. If it’s near the end, things work out… if you just can’t wait and hope for the best…

Just for additional validation -