Tablo OTA DVR Now Available For Pre-Order

Dave Zatz —  January 7, 2014

tablo

The cord cutting options are heating up, with Tablo poised to ship in February. I spent some quality time at the Digital Experience with CEO Grant Hall going over their offering… that consists of both two- and four-tuner configurations to pull in luscious broadcast video via antenna, without going through a cable company. Like Simple TV, the headless Tablo box sits on your home network to stream live and DVR-ed content to various local and remote endpoints. However, unlike Simple, Tablo integrates dual band 802.11n wireless capabilities for more flexible placement – your network cable location may not always be the best position for an antenna.

Tablo will ship with 1GB of local storage, which is used for caching guide and meta data, including box art and the like. By keeping this content local, Tablo’s iOS, Android, and Mac HTML5 apps are far more sprightly than you’d imagine. Also, in terms of DVR storage, Tablo is another BYO solution. There are pros and cons to this approach. While it’s far more flexible in terms of choosing your own capacity (at a variety of price points), it also results in more clutter and perhaps requires a more educated consumer to get going. However, the tech savvy folks I imagine will gravitate to Tablo won’t be faced with the same conceptual challenges Channel Master might with the DVR+ audience.

tablo-ipad

Tablo’s two-tuner model is now available for pre-order at $220, with a four-tuner model expected at $270. Like Simple TV and TiVo, but unlike DVR+, Tablo requires a service fee for guide data (14 days of Tribune). While you could operate Tablo as a very basic time-based recording device, most will prefer the richer and more full featured capabilities one gets for $50/yr. We’re quite looking forward to checking this one out in the coming weeks.

8 responses to Tablo OTA DVR Now Available For Pre-Order

  1. I’m really interested in this whole thing of a DVR just being another device on my network. I hope this takes off. Tablo specifically has me really curious… it’s mostly just Simple.TV but meant mainly for tablets… which is OK, but doesn’t quite sound complete to me. I hope they at least make sure the apps work with Apple TV and and Chromecast if they aren’t going to do a Roku app.

  2. “Like Simple TV, DVR+, and TiVo, Tablo does require a service fee for guide data.”

    I’m pretty sure that DVR+ does not require a service fee for guide data. I thought that was one of its biggest selling points. If that is incorrect, please correct me.

  3. Oh, and while Simple.TV does, I just bought a first generation Simple.TV off of Woot for $95, including shipping, which included a lifetime premium subscription. So, as long as Simple.TV exists and doesn’t breach its contract, I’m covered without ever having to pay again. I must admit I have some concerns about whether Simple.TV will survive, but as my primary use of the device is to get live TV to devices within the four walls of my house and that’s worth $95 to me, everything else is gravy. I’ll enjoy it while I have it. For recording TV, I’ll probably keep using the PC set up I already have, which works great and seems to me to have some advantages over these out-of-the-box options.

  4. Greg, you’re right on the fee thing – my slipup while trying to get the competing products listed together.

  5. As we discussed yesterday, OTA reception in the US is not good enough to sustain a viable user base. Although some sort of Aereo-esque solution may take care of that.

  6. @Greg

    I also recently bought a first gen Simple.TV off of Woot for $95, and so far I’m pretty happy with it. I’m still using my HTPC to for all of my recordings, but once Simple.TV adds Chromecast support and fixes a few issues I’ll probably make the switch. I really like the idea of eliminating all the boxes under my TV, and even getting rid of my Harmony remote. Add in easy worldwide access to my recordings and it’s a compelling product to me.

    As for Tablo, I don’t see anything that would make me want to switch from Simple.TV. The tablet app looks nice, but so does the Simple.TV app. Tablo seems like a blatant copy, and Simple.TV has a huge head start on the software and scaling (the Kickstarter buyers were unfortunately basically beta testers).

  7. @ Dan S

    They are planing a Roku channel.
    http://www.tablotv.com/faq/

  8. @xyzl

    Yeah! I saw that after I posted! Sounds pretty solid to me. I think I’ll read reviews and then see which I want to pick up!