Continuing on the Cord Cutting Curious series, I turned to hardware available via retail.
Elements that are important to us: Able to access replays via ROKU in a simple way, quality built in tuner, tv guide functionality that shows more than the current date(the more the better), flexibly sized hard drive size for increasing in the future, ability to record episodes repeatedly.
My choices were narrowed down to one of the HDHomeRun devices or one of the Tablo devices. I heard good things about both of them. The key selection item for me was that I didn’t find an HDHomeRun app on Roku’s. A local retailer was having a sale and I picked up a Tablo Duo Lite for about $99. I grabbed a 1TB hard drive as well, thinking that would be plenty, well, at least to start off with.
My initial reaction: It’s better than I hoped.
The Tablo is a simple box that hooks up to power, coax and you plug a hard drive in. You have to format the hard drive of course. Tablo provides a fully functional service for an initial period ( I think a month). This provides access to channel guide information that extends as much as two weeks into the future which allows you to arrange for recording in the future. The Tablo also provides a fully functional simple dvr operation. You can watch live TV through Roku’s without a tv connected to a coax. The ROKU app and android apps are straightforward and simple interfaces that the family understand easily. It’s also an easy thing to watch Tablo via web interfaces on any device on the same network. The Duo supports two simultaneous actions while the Quad supports four. By actions I mean watching on separate devices, recording, or streaming live tv.
The Tablo provides the capability for automatic skipping of commercials in recordings. After a program is recorded, Tablo scrubs the dvr recording for commercial markers and deletes those pieces of recordings. However, this doesn’t always work 100%. One because it takes hours to complete. It’s also likely that if the Tablo is taxed (i.e. already streaming, etc. ) it could lose the cpu power to complete the task. That’s my guess.
For a small fee paid annually you continue the fully functional service for a year which we opted for. For another additional charge your recordings can be saved to a cloud based function, which I opted not to use.
My one challenge: Tablo supports streaming through a router to apps on your phone or tablets. However, our Tablo is cascaded on a mesh network behind the ISP router and I haven’t attempted to overcome this yet.
My one regret: Not jumping into getting a Tablo Quad right off the bat.
For anyone with a similar cord cutting need, I would definitely recommend Tablo products.