I enjoy the Tablo quite a bit, despite some quibbles with the apps (I’ll mention those later), but…
This is a very annoying free trial model for the following reason: I forgot to subscribe before my trial ended on a Friday, and despite having a few live shows scheduled to record on the Sunday immediately afterward, I sat down on Monday to watch them but nothing had been recorded all weekend.
I was completely confused and assumed the Tablo had broken. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was, and of course, by then it was too late to do anything about the missed recordings. They were the three major network political shows, and something big had just happened with the president that I was looking forward all week to hearing more about (I think he had just fired James Comey).
I was extremely annoyed because: A) the shows I wanted are broadcast at the same time every Sunday… and B) the Tablo keeps 2 weeks of its future program guide so technically it “knew” when the shows were on for two weeks after my trial ended, yet it immediately stopped recording everything I had scheduled.
I understand that the guide is required for the Tablo to record scheduled shows, but I didn’t realize every single program would just suddenly stop recording at the end of the trial… especially when there should technically be a 2 week “grace period” that the Tablo could keep recording anything that was already downloaded in the 14 days of programming at the point the trial ended. And, the company could send emails a couple days in advance to warn what will happen if you don’t subscribe.
Now, the fact that I missed live broadcasts that would never be shown again was annoying enough… But after I paid to restart my subscription, my scheduled programs did not resume recording. Turns out, when my trial ended, the Tablo just “forgot” it might need to start recording my programs again. They were all still listed as “Scheduled” but weren’t actually recording, and it was surely for the same reason they abruptly stopped at the end of my trial.
So, I had to tediously go through my Schedule, delete every single existing item one at a time (and f@#k is that annoying), then find and add them again from the guide. I was not a happy camper.
All of this hassle could be avoided by emailing or popping up warnings that your shows are about to suddenly stop recording (and your schedule will be trashed too), or allowing you to subscribe before the trial ends without cheating you out of the rest of the free 30 days. I honestly can’t think of any other free trial that charges you immediately upon subscribing and cancels the remainder of your free trial period.
Now, as far as the apps… the Roku app is my favorite, since it can display recordings in the order that they were recorded (today on top, yesterday below that, etc) but my Roku’s take far too long to navigate the menus. Every button press takes 3 to 5 seconds to respond, and if you press the wrong button, you’ve got to wait another 3 to 5 seconds to go back to where you started. And there REALLY needs to be a quick way to delete programs - both from the main “Recordings” menu AND while you’re actually watching the thing you want to delete. Most of the time when I finish a show, I want to delete it immediately… not press Back to wait 5 seconds for the episode synopsis to load, then press Left to highlight Delete, then press OK, then press OK again on the confirmation, then wait 5 more seconds for the Recordings menu to load. Lord, that is extremely tedious for what should be a simple task!
The iOS and XBox menus are much faster (although just as tedious) - but inexplicably there’s no chronological Recordings list. The only option is to look at everything grouped by show, then drill down to particular seasons and episodes. Since I imagine the Tablo starts freeing space by deleting the oldest recordings, it’s bizarre not to have a chronological listing option.
Annnnd, I’m done.