What Everyone Should Know About Tablo


#1

Let me start by saying that my first purchase when cutting the cord was an HDHR with Plex, and the fact that you can’t play a program until it’s finished recording is a deal-breaker. We watch news every morning - even weekends - and this just wasn’t acceptable. Returned it.

Tablo was the right fit, but I was so tired of the hoops I had to jump through to use it on Chromecast. To stop watching anything (live TV or recorded), I would have to stop play. Disconnect from Chromecast, close the app entirely, then go back in and choose the other thing I wanted to watch. That was consistent on multiple Chromecast devices in my house and multiple Android devices. It was a terrible experience. Luckily, on a whim, I got a Roku.

They should tell you NEVER TRY USING TABLO WITHOUT ROKU. The Roku utterly changed our experience with Tablo. With Chromecast, programs recorded with weak signal wouldn’t even start playing and the whole system would freeze up. With Roku, it skips through the jittery parts with ease. If a show is TOO bad, sure, it’s unwatchable because it’s skipping through pieces, but the system doesn’t shut down because of it. And we only have one station that’s flaky. It also loads MUCH faster than the Chromecast. I can start any live TV channel or recording in 2 - 5 seconds. That used to take a solid 15+ seconds (which is a lot of time if you’re staring at a loading screen). I also was able to increase the quality. I have a hard wire to the box, and I still couldn’t stream more than 5Mbps on the Chromecast. Finally, on the Chromecast, if you haven’t opened the Tablo app on your device for more than a day or two, it can take as much as 30 FREAKING MINUTES to sync the app (I assume that’s the guide and my recordings syncing, I don’t know). On Roku, I don’t even notice it. I guess it syncs sometimes, but it’s almost instantaneous when it happens because I’ve never waited for it. There simply isn’t this massive loading operation at all.

They should also tell you that it’s STILL BUGGY. Ours just doesn’t record shows sometimes. For no reason. We’ve only recorded one show in the last 5 days, and it should have recorded 20 or 30. But the guide is only loading about 10 of the 14 channels we care to watch, and all 4 channels that are broken are the ones we actually care about. And you can’t fix it. I’m a tinkerer and a programmer, and I would love to fix the issues, but you can’t fix them.

This should be the best and only device you use for OTA DVR cord cutting, but you MUST use it with Roku (maybe Apple TV is good too, I have no idea, I hate all things Apple) and there are a lot of basic blocking and tackling items that are very buggy for a company that’s still launching new devices. It’s really nuts to me. The two devices they had (the 2-tuner and 4-tuner boxes) aren’t even working 100% yet and they’re rolling out new freaking devices. They can’t even set a program to only keep x recordings of a show yet. BASIC stuff. And yet… new hardware nobody needed!


#2

I also have had lots of problems using Tablo with Chromecast. For example –

Tablo can’t resume casting to Chromecast after any disruption, whether that disruption be unexpected, inadvertent, or intentional.

For example, if you stop casting while playing a recording, you are unable to simply resume the cast. If you try to restart the cast, Tablo will hang with a blank screen or spin the waiting indicator forever. This particular failure is 100% consistent and reproducible.

In order to resume casting after such an incident, it is necessary to exit the Tablo app, cast the entire Android screen to clean up after the app, start the app, resume play, then restart casting. Having done all this, you can get the cast going again, but Tablo has typically lost its position in the recording, so you have to advance manually to wherever it left off.

You get the same kind of failure if you have a bad spot in a recording, if you have a minor Network glitch or minor power outage, or if Tablo simply hangs, which tends to do. Basically anything that disrupts the cast produces the failure. It is then necessary to employ the workaround outlined above to restart the cast.

However I have no problems using YouTube and Netflix with Chromecast. It has always seemed to me that the Tablo implementation for Chromecast is flawed. But I have stuck with Chromecast, because I have dozens of other uses for it. I filed yet another bug report, this time on the issue prescribed above.


#3

Apple TV works nearly as well as Roku … its just not on a feature par with it yet.


#4

I wonder why the Tablo implementation for Chromecast is so bad. I have had my Tablo for a little over two years, and it seems like they are always struggling with it.


#5

Using the Amazon Fire TV box is a good experience as well. I do not own a Roku, Apple TV, or chromecast; so, I cannot speak of those experiences.


#6

You’re right, I should have mentioned that. Tablo is the ONLY app I have major Chromecast issues with. But honestly, given the slow speed at which updates come out for Tablo, I’d rather they just dump Chromecast support altogether. You lost. Throw in the towel. Just tell people they need to buy a Roku. Done. Supporting Chromecast and the 10 or 20 users that actually have an LG TV with webOS 2.0 on it delays other work.


#7

It’s remarkable how different my experience is from yours. I’ve been using Tablo for the last 2 years, and it’s never been as reliable as it is now (since 2.2.14).

The only recordings I miss is when I schedule 3 shows at the same time.

I have both a Roku Premiere + and an Apple TV 4th gen, I agree with a @ericgus, the ATV app is missing a few key features… such as sorting options for recordings (do it sometimes @TabloTV srsly)

Lastly, you can’t really blame a smaller company of trying to get new products out and trying to make a name for themselves. Even Apple, Samsung and Google products crash and have bugs sometimes, I tend to give the smaller guys more chance when it comes to dealing with those, and Nuvvyo hasn’t disappoint me in that department either!


#8

I have been using Tablo for 2 years with Roku’s. There was an update at one time just after I got it where the new Roku app lost my recordings. That was fixed and since then, it has been rock solid. I never watch live tv. Use my Tablo everyday. Plus my household has 4 roku’s. Love how it all works. Recommend to all with this set up.


#9

I think it would be a mistake for Tablo to give up on Chromecast. Last I checked, there were about 30 Million Chromecast units sold as of 2016; and they seem to be selling about 10 million units a year, so there are probably 40 Million Chromecast devices in the world as of mid 2017.

For over 50 years I worked in hardware and software companies large and small, including startups; designing, coding, and testing operating systems, storage systems, database systems, user interfaces, industrial control software, language translation software, real-time financial software, and data acquisition software. I also dabbled in requirements analysis, product planning, and management at times. One of the things I learned is that corporations sometimes get the product planning very wrong, or they make big mistakes and how they prioritize activities, and they often do not have appropriate resources in positions at various levels.

For as long as I have known Tablo, they have been extremely Roku-centric. I have always believed this to be a mistake. Furthermore, I do not believe that it is impossible to get Chromecast streaming to work smoothly with Tablo. It just seems they never had the capability or resolve to adapt and test the Tablo product for Chromecast. Chromecast certainly works very nicely with Pandora, Google Music, Netflix, and YouTube.

On the other hand Tablo for Chromecast became reasonably stable by the end of 2016 if I recall. Then in the first half of 2017 it started to go downhill again. I believe the problem I described earlier is new in 2017. However I am not sure. I have had almost no time at all to address Tablo issues in 2017. In any case, it seems possible a modest effort might clean up some of the remaining Chromecast issues.


#10

Not saying you’re totally wrong on this, but to me Chromecast looks like a cheap solution to show your pictures and home videos you take on your portable devices, to your TV. It’s hardware is very limited and it doesn’t compete with the “real” streaming boxes that have a native OS and all the ports / fans / etc…

Since I’ve been using Tablo for some time now, I was using it for the first few months with an Apple TV 3rd gen, so I was stuck with using Airplay and I found it very similar to the experience of using Tablo with Chromecast, it was annoying. If you’re going to ditch the cable and rely on Tablo to replace the set top box, then you want to have a unit that doesn’t rely on your smartphone or tablet to do it’s job.


#11

I think Chromcast in an interesting approach to solve a “problem” using the (almost) fact that everyone has a portable device (e.g. smart phone).

With that said, Google isn’t great as a physical product company. How many people would recommend the original Chromecast today? Google tends to make “cool” things with very limited life spans. Just my own observation. They haven’t demonstrated that they can “stick with it” for the long term (talking again, about their physical device creations).


#12

I find chrome casting only works well when I use an Android TV box. The problem with that is in most cases there is already an Android TV app for whatever I want to cast.


#13

Using a Chromebook displaying the Tablo HTTP version works great. And casting to a Chromecast from the Chromebook works very well. I have had the Tablo only a week or so but, so far, I find the Chromebook + Chromecast to be the best user interface (for playback). I have a clickable progress bar which displays the minutes the mouse is hovering over, clicking another spot on the bar gives the new spot in 1 - 1.5 seconds, the left and right arrow keys work, etc. I never get pauses in the Tablo video but I admit I have not used it extensively so far.

The ROKU UI on the other hand is extremely limited in moving forward or backward – almost too poor to use in my opinion. That has been covered elsewhere here.
UPDATE: I see that for previously recorded shows the Roku app works pretty well when moving forward or backward, providing small pics of where you are in the video – nice. My opinion remains the same for watching an in-progress recording from the beginning.

All of my fixed devices are hard wired, including the Roku, the Chromecast and the Tablo. Chromebook, tablets and phones are the only devices connected WiFi.

Ultimate goal: Move from DirecTV to OTA + online service (e.g. Sling TV or YouTube TV). That will save tons of money but will take some convincing of my, er, immediate supervisor due to the excellent DTV DVR capability.


#14

What type of Roku would you recommend? I am running into the same problems trying to Chromecast my Tablo to my TV. It stutters, has to be reconnected often, the sound goes crackly… it’s frustrating. This happens from my Mac and from my Android Phone. The Phone is actually worse, it’s a Google Pixel and when I try to cast my Tablo shows to the TV on the phone it often loses connection and gets so frustrating.

I have never had a Roku so I don’t know what kinds of models them come in. Thanks!


#15

Is this still true in April 2019? I am just about to buy a Quad (if they will ever stay in stock more than 24 hours!!!), and am firmly entrenched in the Apple TV (and all things Apple, really) ecosystem. Have an Apple TV 4 (now called the Apple TV HD), actually 2 of them…


#16

I have a Roku Ultra in the living room (on a Samsung 50 inch 4K TV) and a Streaming Stick Plus in the bedroom. We started out using the Streaming Stick Plus in the living room and once we decided we were keeping the Tablo, we bought the Ultra for the living room. And now we’ll be buying Streaming Stick Plus for the guest bedroom and the kitchen TVs.

Streaming Stick Plus has much better WiFi than the “non-Plus” streaming sticks and the Ultra can do either WiFi or Ethernet and I wanted it hard wired so that’s why the Ultra in the living room. Also… in the living room we are likely to install more apps on the Roku and the Ultra has an SD card slot so you can actually add memory for more apps.

I highly recommend for the Streaming Stick Plus, that you get yourself a usb extension and keep the stick powered up. My TV has USB ports but they shut off when the TV shuts off so we would have to wait for the Roku stick to boot up. Always on solved that.


#17

The Roku Ultra also can turn your TV on/off and control the sound. I do not know if any of the other Rokus do that.


#18

That’s a function of the remote and our Streaming Stick Plus remote does it too. I think they refer to it as the enhanced voice remote.


#19

Great thanks for the help! I think we’ll get a Streaming Stick Plus, I don’t think we need an ethernet connection.


#20

That’s a good choice, don’t get one of the new Premiere or Premiere+ models. The WiFi is only Wireless N 2.4 GHz (no dual band, no AC.

The Streaming Stick+ comes with “802.11ac dual-band MIMO w/ advanced wireless receive”.