Visual preview when fast forwarding recording

Is there a way to get a visual preview when fast forwarding recording? I am using a Tablo Dual Lite with a Roku app. I get a progress bar but that doesn’t show what I’m skipping or when to stop.

Once a recording is over, the Tablo will go through the whole recording (once a tuner is available) and create snapshots for previews.

If you don’t see them, you are likely just watching live tv or a recording that hasn’t finished yet. There is no way to create preview panes in those cases.

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Thanks for the reply. That’s most likely the case since I just set this up a few days ago and tend to watch the recording before they’re complete. I’ll make it a point to let one finish recording and check it out.

@cwarner For future reference, here’s our blog post on the subject:


Thank you for the article. I am having trouble recently with a particular show I record weekly never generating thumbnail previews. Even after the recording has sat there for a week before I watch it, there are no thumbnails. The quality of the recording is fine–no pixelation or skipping–so there does not appear to be any likelihood of errors. It’s happened on 2 recordings of that show so far, and I was planning to do a little experimental recording to see if it’s an issue with this channel or if any other shows are doing this. Any thoughts on what might cause this?

Not sure why that would be happening, but you might want to reboot your Tablo to see if it helps.

Yes. I was actually setting up some test recordings on that channel to see if it was an issue with the channel, but suddenly the Tablo disconnected and I couldn’t get it to reconnect to either my ipad or my FireTV so I had to reboot it. The test recordings that ran after the reboot generated thumbnail previews just fine so maybe the reboot did fix it. I won’t know for sure until that show comes on again next week.

It’s me again. I now have 2 more recordings with no thumbnail previews. Different shows this time. Perhaps it was a fluke before when it happened with 2 recordings of the same show. But my concern is that this seems to be happening more and more frequently to my recordings. These two shows were recorded on different nights and different channels. I didn’t try watching the recordings until there had been plenty of time (with free tuners) for them to generate. Both shows recorded well otherwise: no pixelation, no skipping, no sign of signal issues. There should be no errors in these recordings. I tried the suggestion in the article linked above to hit the blue reset button to reboot the Tablo which should then cause it to generate missing thumbnails. It didn’t work, so I tried unplugging the Tablo and rebooting that way. No luck. Is anyone else having this issue?

I am having the same issue. About 1 in 4 of my recordings on a 4 tuner Tablo do not have thumbnails. I have waited the allotted time (over 4 minutes for a 1 hour show), made sure no other recordings are going on, made sure there are no other streams going on, no errors on the recordings and reset the Tablo but it keeps happening. Very frustrating. All I can hope for is the commercial skip feature.

Yes I have multiple tablos and thumbnail generation is an issue. And it’s not weak signal. I’ve seen thumbnails generated for recordings made last week during a thunderstorm. These recording had pixelation in the recording and the total recording with thumbnails was there and played without issues.

But according to tablo:

“There are however several variables that can affect that timeline including your internet upload/download speed, the length of the recording, and whether you have an available tuner for FFWD preview generation (which is the first step and must be completed before the recording goes to commercial skip processing).”

I’m curious, once commercial skip is implemented, will thumbnails really be needed? I don’t have a Tablo yet (waiting for the Quad), but isn’t the only purpose for fast forwarding positioning? I guess one might still want to rewind or FF on occasion?

That also begs the question if thumbnail generation fails, will the commercial skip process?

From a conceptual point of view most video compression codecs are based on a start frame which is a full video frame followed by a sequence of differences to the previous partial frame.

So you can generate thumbnails based on the start frame since it’s a full frame. And thus process commercials by processing the full start frames since a commercial will start with a full frame , plus any number of full frames for the commercial, and the end of a commercial will start with a full frame.

So does tablos statement mean that they are processing thumbnails for commercial skip?

While I understand how it’s been implemented in the Tablo, it’s not nearly as good as the implementation that the DirecTV DVRs use. Any of you coming from that platform will know what I mean. Visual previews (or thumbnails) are available while watching all streams, recorded or not. Can anyone explain why this can’t be done in Tablo?

Aside from reading this topic or this FAQ

DirecTV, and many others, record raw video. Tablo transcode the broadcast into HLS format for network streaming. It’s different technology… not matter how much “someone else does it” - it’s just not the same.

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Yes, I know – and I paid big bucks for it. Now I have found other more productive (enjoyable) ways to spend that $150 a month.

Welcome to our world of thumbnails not showing all the time. It’s a known issue. Hopefully it will get fixed soon, fingers crossed. I’ve had occasions where I just quit the video and go back to the home page, play the video again and viola they’re there. So it seems to me that the thumbnails have been generated but for some reason they are not showing up.

I understand it’s been an issue since the beginning of tablo’s time — let’s keep expectations realistic, though the possibility always exsist.

I get so frustrated with it sometimes I just delete the recording instead of having to FF blindly.

Alright then. Possibly a different player may be easier to navigate with FF, but I get it, you shouldn’t have to. Watching commercials or what every you’re trying to get past matters.

I use a PC based media player, I know the browser web based one, even with thumbnails is, well about the same as most… not as good as pressing stop and it actually stopping.

Since the Commercial skip feature is so dependent upon these… maybe they actually will try harder to “do something”.