"Unable to tune to channel" when hard drive is connected

I bought a new Tablo 4 tuner hoping to cut the cord. Already have sling TV (which is working great so far) and was looking to get everything going with local channels before canceling cable. However, I can’t get the Tablo to to work consistently.

When I connect my brand new hard drive (Seagate Backup Slim 2TB), I am able to view live TV on one channel, however, I receive the “Unable to tune to channel” message for all of the other stations. Recording is the same, it will succeed on the one station, but fail on the others.

What’s strange is that if I push the reset button on the Tablo, I can tune to a different channel, but all other channels give the error, including the one that worked prior to the reset.

David from support has suggested that the USB cable might be bad, so I’ve got an order in for the one he suggested from monoprice. This seems like a strange solution when the drives/cables work fine when connected to both my Mac and PC, but I’m willing to give it a shot.

In the meantime, I had another USB cable available, as well as another hard drive (Seagate Barracuda 500GB) which I tried with the same result.

I will be using the new Fire TV as the primary client, but using my Chrome on my Mac to get everything set up.
My antenna is connected directly to the Tablo and signals are coming in strong. Tablo, FireTV and Mac are hard wired to network to eliminate any wifi issues.

Any other ideas on how to troubleshoot this?


I’m having almost the exact same problem on my new 4-tuner, but in my case I can tune more than one channel. If I reboot the Tablo, I can tune the first channel just fine, but when I start viewing other channels, they have so many blocks their not viewable, or they may say weak signal/unable to tune. If I remove the drive (on the approved list), I get rock solid perfect video – on all channels (can only use one tuner with no hard drive it seems). I’ve reformatted and tried other USB cables/drives, and got the same results.

The same symptoms appear in my recordings, too. My Tablo will often stop responding to all clients if it’s recording a show that’s showing blocks until I reboot it (viewed the partial recording to see it).

I’m going back and forth with Tablo Support, trying to figure out what the problem is. My wife was actually very excited to cut the cord until these issues started occurring (immediately)… gotta get the happy wife back, quickly!

I added 24.3 to my lineup and was unable to tune to it until after the guide finished updating. I pressed the channel number. This was on my S-5. It is the beta version, I have the 4 tuner Tablo.

Have you tried using my.tablotv.com or beta.tablotv.com to see what happens there? Are the hard disk you trying on the list of known good drives? I know that most can be used, but there has to be a few that won’t.
I got the 5 TB that they used inhouse for testing larger hard drives (it used to be limited to 2 TB or less).

@nmuckom @greenpin If you folks are still having difficulty, don’t hesitate to send us a ticket. We’ll take a look and get you up and running in no time!

I’ve been working with support on the issue, and they’ve diagnosed a defective tuner in my Tablo. Now just waiting for a replacement unit. I’m a little shaken in the quality control and pseudo-compatibility of the Tablo and hard drives. The difficulty I’ve had over the last month with the device could have been diagnosed more quickly if there were better error messages/codes rather than guessing whether it was a hard drive issue, cable issue, antenna issue, etc, but support has been helpful.