Why is the Tablo Roku app so much worse than other apps at buffering?

Does anyone know why the Tablo Roku app is so much worse than other apps when it comes to buffering?

On our wireless Roku Stick we can watch YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Crackle, etc with no buffering problems. Those apps will briefly load the video and play uninterrupted.

On that same Roku Stick the Tablo app effectively cannot play back a recording. It buffers every ten seconds for five or ten seconds. We’ve pretty much given up on it.

What’s confusing to me is why can the YouTube and Netflix apps play video with no buffering over the exact same hardware and network even though the content for those apps is going over the internet. In contrast, the content that the Tablo is attempting to play back is right in my house on the intranet.

What recording quality have you set for the Tablo? Is your Tablo DVR connected to your router wirelessly or is it wired?

I just changed it to 720/3 mb/s. I’ve always had it set to 720 for the two or three years I’ve owned the device ( before there was more than one 720 recording option).

It’s a wireless Roku Stick, the same wireless Roku Stick on which Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube all stream flawlessly, which is the thrust of my question: Why is the Tablo app so much worse than its peers in regards to streaming playback even when it has the advantage of its content being local to the network it’s trying to stream over?

There is a lot more data to process when streaming a Tablo program than anything on Netflix or Youtube. To test it out, go to a PC and bring up Task Manager. Go to the Performance tab and look at the Wifi or Ethernet graph (depending on what you are using). Bring up Netflix in a small window and play something, looking at the graph. Then bring up the Tablo app and do the same thing.

For Netflix, I am seeing around 5 Mbps on the peaks. For the Tablo (at highest recording quality), I see 20 - 25 Mbps regularly (on AC wifi).

Because there so much more data to process, you need a fairly powerful streaming device to handle the Tablo app. I am not sure which version of the Roku stick you are using, but the early ones are just not as strong as the Roku boxes.

I have two Roku 3 (original) boxes and a Premiere+. The two Roku 3 boxes handle the streaming fine with no buffering, but my more powerful Premiere+ is a bit quicker with the menus and loading the shows.

Because the issue isn’t the network speed per se, it’s the actual bandwidth used. The big guys (Netflix, Amazon, etc) all have big server farms to do processor intensive compression at multiple data rates on all the content. So the actual data rate is lower (and easier to process) than the data rate for the minimal compression the Tablo can do. This is even more obvious on lower powered devices like the Roku stick or the Fire stick. They just don’t have the CPU required to deal with the higher data rate output of the Tablo.

Is your Tablo hard wired to your router? Or connected wirelessly to it?

This is a key part of the question. If the Tablo is connected wirelessly, you are essential engaging in “Double WiFi”, which entry level consumer routers are not good at handling.

My Tablo is connected to the router via an Ethernet cable.

Did switching to 720p 3 Mbps help new recordings going forward, or live TV?

Switching to 720/3 Mbps seems to have resolved my issue. New recordings do not buffer at all.

Back in the day when there was only one flavor of 720p recording offered by Tablo, was it 3 mbps or 5 mbps? I’m guessing 3, b/c the Tablo seems to be working like it used to…

The old recording quality was 720p 5 Mbps I believe.