What I've learned with 1080@60fps and Max Recording Quality

Basically, what I have learned is that if I select the “HD 1080 - 10Mbps, 720@60fps” option in Max Recording Quality I really can’t do anything else with another device while the Tablo is either recording a show or a channel is being viewed live.

If I want to sync my iPhone, tablet, or even use another device to view a different channel I put the Tablo at great risk of becoming unstable. The risk of destabilizing appears proportional with the number of channels selected. A total channel count of above 50 is almost a certain guarantee that, while viewing a live channel, any attempt to sync a mobile device (iPhone, Android tablet, etc) will drive the Tablo into the ground and it will become unresponsive. If I try and sync two other devices while viewing a live channel on, say a Roku3, it’s nearly a guarantee the Tablo will tank and need to be reset. With a smaller channel count of 20-30 the Tablo is a little better about not tanking with the above scenario.

When I say “sync” I mean open the android or iPhone application and allow the app and Tablo to sync up the data between themselves. Not trying to view anything recorded or live in the app, just letting the app sync and catch up while only displaying either a list of currently recorded shows in the app or even just the settings page.

The overall trend is that the lower the Maximum Recording Quality setting is the more capable and less likely to destabilize the Tablo becomes.

I’ve found a middle ground (your milage may vary) between quality and functionality at 3Mbps. It would be a dramatic stretch to call this a happy medium as I am forced to sacrifice over 60% of my preferred quality to retain the functionality I expect from the Tablo.

This must be a Roku problem or network configuration issue. I use the 1080p 60fps 10mbps quality setting with Tablo. My devices are Shield Android TVs, and I have tested watching live and recorded football over the last season while my wife is syncing Tablo and streaming another Tablo recording or a Netflix/Hulu full HD video in another room and I have no issues with stability. I haven’t ever encountered slowdown or freezing, or had to reset any devices during this testing. All my devices are wireless on 5GHz using a wifi extender.

This post was meant to be informational, not a troubleshooting request. I can guarantee that it is not a networking issue. I do know that the 9044 build of Roku 7 has some freezing/lockup issues based on roku forum postings. This, however, does not impact playing a live channel on the Roku. I also mentioned that the number of channels in the guide has a dramatic direct impact in conjunction with the max recording quality setting. I don’t know how many channels you have available and that could be the huge difference explaining why you do not have issues.

I don’t know where you saw that I said I was trying to troubleshoot, I was giving an informational response based on my experiences.

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Perhaps I took that bit differently than it was intended. Such is the world of textual conversation.

Fair enough. To answer your previous question, I have only about 8 channels. Anything non-HD or with poorer reception, I remove from my guide. Your theory might be right!

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I should have probably added that I currently select 29 channels in my guide. At 8 Mbps quality I can usually get away with a recording while viewing a live channel. I risk instability if I sync another device while all that is occurring. Remote or mobile viewing of a live channel while the above is occurring has great difficulty starting with various errors but once in a while manages to fire up after many retries. Under the same scenario, a reduction of Max Recording Quality allows that mobile live channel to reliably start right up which I find fascinating. It is almost like the channel start is delayed by the work load of the above recording and simultaneous live view and times out on mobile devices.

If we assume the Tablo has a maximum work load capacity and assign a value of 10 to anything done at full quality (60 fps etc.) then we could envision a max work load capacity of ~20 before problems start appearing. A sync operation can also be considered a 10 with my ~30 channel guide size. Less for smaller guide at, say, about 3 for < 10 channels and more for a larger guide of say 40 - 50 channels would be a work load of maybe 15-18.

By setting the max quality down to, say 3 Mbps, we could assume a work load of 3 per live channel or recording which explains why a recording, live channel, and sync all fall within the work load ceiling.

I kind of like this theory as it explains much of the behavior people see at a general level, is quantifiable, and reproducible.

I guess I don’t have enough channels to experience any slowdown. I have 22 channels. Recording quality at max. To check it out, I set 4 HD channels recording, AirPlay of a recorded show from iPhone to AppleTV4, fired up the Tablo app on iPad Mini (which synced) and started a show playing on it as well. Everything worked flawless.

That is odd. I have had 2 streams going while a 1080@60 recording was taking place without issue. One stream to a Roku 3, the other to an Amazon Fire TV. All devices including the Tablo are hardwired on a 1gb lan connection.

As for channels, I receive and have 31 in the guide.

I attempted to re-create the above scenario (from BaronKen) as best I could.

I found that if I set quality to max (1080@60fps) and then set 4 shows to record all simultaneously that it took longer and longer to start the recording of each subsequent show. Once all 4 were recording I pulled out my android tablet which hasn’t been sync’d in a week. Simply put, the hour long shows I had setup to record were finished before the Tablet would sync maybe half way. I could tell some data was coming in as the recordings view populated partially but damn… For grins and giggles I decided while all of that was happening (4 full HD recordings, and an app sync) I’d try and play a recorded show on my iPhone. It had a couple time outs but it did eventually begin playing after about 3 tries. From the delay in response to functions and reties necessary to play a recording (3Mbps level quality) I could tell the Tablo was basically maxed out.

I did try a live view which failed saying no tuners were available after testing the recording. I think that is what it comes down to… live view is the most demanding on the Tablo.

I will re-attempt this experiment a couple times using 4 720p channels, a mix of half and half, and a sampling of everything.

It may be that I had reset the Tablo earlier yesterday and barely used it that day which allowed me to be avoid tanking the thing last night with the experiment. There’s also a lot of variance between our two situations/setups/devices to say quality isn’t an issue yet.

I know you ‘didn’t request troubleshooting’, but have you verified that if you lower your channel lineup down to around 20, you no longer have any of the issues? I could add 9 more channels for testing, but that would only put me at 31.

I missed this part. I will delete my Tablo app from my iPad mini and reinstall and start it once I have the test going again (4 HD channels recording, etc). That should cause a full sync.

Yes, I’ve experimented extensively with selected channel counts. It has a direct impact on all aspects of Tablo behavior. Each additional channel acts as a multiplier to performance degradation. ie: 10 channels would take a guide update 15 minutes time but 20 channels takes 40 minutes while 30 channels takes ~hour to update guide. You don’t want to see how long 72 channels takes to update.

With max quality (1080@60fps) I spun up 4 recordings of 720p channels. I dumped my browser’s connection to the Tablo and re-connected. It began syncing but just sat there and sat there and sat there. I tried to connect with my iPhone app which I had just done an hour ago and also had connection failures. Yup, I tanked the Tablo again. A tap of the reset button later and after about 2 mins I’m ready to go again with the next test.

Note: I do use a browser to setup all of the test recordings but not view anything as I do not want to monopolize a tuner and it is probably the most reliable and informative interface I have at my disposal.

You do know that watching recordings does not use a tuner, right?

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Depends where you watch. It’s my understanding that remote connections do use a tuner if the remote streaming quality is not set to max.

Funny thing… I’ve never seen the “tuner unavailable” error for a stream of a previously recorded show on my iPhone when 4 current recordings are going unless I try and view a 5th live channel. Recording at 3Mbps or 10Mbps while remote stream is at 500k. I’ll verify that. It could be a wifi vs lte difference with a tuner being needed in the off-net case. I’ll check both.

Yes, only remote or watching a live channel.

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To be technically remote viewing at Full Quality does not use a tuner either.

Regardless, my above posts were on-net usage of tablet and phone apps. I wasn’t concerned with off-net but the transfer of any data through a device still requires hardware capable of supporting it. The entire point to my post was that setting things at max quality with a larger than average guide will cause instability. The larger the guide the lower your quality setting must be to compensate and maintain device stability.