Tuners - Tablo vs. Tivo

So for several reasons, I’m looking to jump from Tivo to Tablo at some point in the future. My Tivo is a 4 tuner model. I have one channel that will ‘break’ slightly, once in awhile. It’s acceptable, but I wouldn’t want it to be worse. Are the tuners in the Tablo (4 tuner) comparable to the tuners in the Tivo?

Also, I have a 2TB WD Elements USB drive. I’m thinking that would work with the Tablo, right? And at 2TB, how many HD recordings might I expect it to hold, approximately?


I’ve never had a TIVO but I can tell you the following after using the Tablo 4 Tuner for 3 years now.

  • 2TB WD Elements USB will work fine
  • Support for Tablo is fantastic and they answer in a timely manner
  • Their software is constantly improving. When I look back just 3 years OMG what a difference!
  • If you get a Tablo go all in and buy the lifetime guide instead of monthly or annually its worth it.

Last but not least, don’t go cheap on the TV antenna. Most of the problems people have with the picture breaking up etc… is not the problem of the TABLO/TIVO it is the antenna. Go out and buy yourself a good in door or out door antenna (prefer outdoor as they are the best).

I wen’t nuts with mine (all tool time) and purchased two massive antennas

I bought two of these 8 Element Bowtie Antenna

Those are only UHF antennas, so I then had them connect into a VHF antenna so I bought one VHF for each of those VHF Atenna

I then had both of them go into two pre-amps. Reason two is you want them as close to the antenna as possible so I have each of the mounted just below the black box you see in the picture of the 8 Elements Bowtie. Pre-Amp Channel Master CM-7777

I then combined the signals from the two antennas about 10 feet from each antennas using this DC/IR passthrough combiner. This needs to be a DC passthrough for both routes so the power can reach the pre-amps (yes one pre-amp power supply can provide enough power for both amps) Channel Plus DC/IR Splitter/Combiner

Finally just get any coaxial cable that is Quad Shielded, do not forget to ground that wire before it enters your house if not you may get a surprised FRYING from a lightning bolt.

With that setup (which I went completely overboard) was to help me point one of those antennas to DC and the other toward Baltimore. I get over 80 channels and 99% come in crystal clear with no problems. The last 1% are because they are comming out of Pennsylvania so it just depends on the time of day because the distance is huge (200+ miles away).

Point is, don’t go cheap on the antenna. Go all in, I did and it cost me allot of upfront costs but I do not regret it.

EDITED: I forgot to add one really important thing

The coaxial line from the antenna to the Combiner from each antenna must be the exact same distance. If not you could get ghosting on the TV because one antenna is behind than the other.

EDITED: Added some pics as request (it was foggy and I took them this morning)


I switched to Tablo from a TiVo Roamio almost 2 years ago. From my overall experience, I don’t think the Tablo tuners are quite as good as the Roamio tuners. In the end I ended up upgrading my antenna to resolve some signal issues. Having said that, the flexibility of Tablo vs TiVo was well worth that investment long term.

@VegasSteve - I think you posted on Reddit as well, but if you post your TV Fool Report, we may be able to give you some advice on improving the signal on that channel. If it’s already flaky and it’s affecting your overall enjoyment, it may be worth making some tweaks/investments regardless of whether you decide to ditch TiVo.

And all the details on storage size and requirements can be found here:

But in general, you can store about 1000 hours of TV on a 2TB drive.

Lothos - terrific write up on a killer antenna setup! Anybody looking for rock solid reception should look at what you have done. I am lucky to be only eighteen miles from my antennas (all in the same direction), so I got by with an RCA ANT751 Yagi antenna, a pre-amp and a post-amp. Pretty simple compared to your setup.

Anybody looking to have a successful Tablo installation should be sure to start with an antenna setup that is rock solid. Wired networking would be a good second place to look, but, that is a discussion for another thread . . .

I forgot to add one really important thing

The coaxial line from the antenna to the Combiner from each antenna must be the exact same distance. If not you could get ghosting on the TV because one antenna is behind than the other.

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Thanks for all the input everyone. I have a lot to consider.

Nice write up but we would love pics of your setup rather than just links to the equipment. How are are you from DC and Baltimore?

Done, uploaded to first post.

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I chose tablo over tivo for two reasons: tablo is more flexible than tivo, and it was at the time I purchased, lower cost.

It looks like I’m using the same antenna as Lothos a DB8e. This antenna has two reflectors that can be pointed in different compass directions. I needed this because my Baltimore stations are 13 miles away in one heading and my PBS stations are 15 miles away in another. I purchased the DB8e after trying an omni-directional antenna that didn’t give me good reception on UHF stations. Two Baltimore stations are VHF which means that the DB8e requires the VHF accessory. (By the way, the mast in the Amazon “frequently purchased together” listing is the wrong size) My advice on antennas is to “go big and ugly early”.


I agree, go big and ugly early.

I went overboard but I sometimes pick up channels from Pennsylvania LOL!