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!