Tablo Releases Updated Roku Preview, New Fire TV and Android TV Apps

Tablo Android TV grid guide

It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Tablo TV system. Since the launch almost one year ago, Tablo has continually pushed the little placeshifting over-the-air DVR forward via software updates to bring functionality up to speed with most major competitors.One of the later enhancements has been thumbnail previews while FF/RW a recorded show. That alone seems to have pushed the Wife Acceptance Factor to 11 as it was one of her biggest complaints while trying to use Tablo!

Back in January at 2015 CES, Tablo announced a major overhaul to their Roku app, and also announced the addition of Fire TV and Nexus Player apps. Today, Tablo looks to make good on that promise by releasing these apps. For the past few days, I’ve been using the both the new Roku “preview” and the new Fire TV app. Visually, these apps are a major upgrade more akin to today’s standard DVR interface. My current setup for Tablo is that the device is wired directly into my router.   From there, I am using a pair of Netgear 1200 Powerline adapters so my connections is wired straight to the Roku 3. For the Fire TV stick, it’s currently running on my 5ghz band of my wireless router to minimize congestion.

Roku Preview

For the updated Roku preview app, Tablo had to completely rewrite the entire code base. This involved getting special privileges from Roku to break away from their standard app template. And although the old Tablo Roku app was fully functional, the number one feature was to have a more conventional UI that included a guide screen. With this “preview”, Tablo has transformed the interface to provide this functionality.

Now as nice as the new interface is, there are some caveats to the Roku Preview. To get the new UI out on time, Tablo has cut back some of the existing functionality. At launch, the new Roku Preview app enables you to:

  • Browse and set recordings coming in the next 24 hours via the Live TV grid guide
  • Watch live TV (including pause & rewind)
  • Browse and watch recordings (including pause, rewind and fast forward)
  • Delete recordings

In the coming months Tablo will add the following:

  • Browse and set recordings for upcoming TV, Movies and Sports occurring in the next 14 days
  • View scheduled recordings
  • Search

The Tablo preview app running on the Roku 3 was very responsive. Yes, at times it took a few seconds to load information on the guide, but overall, the preview was very nice departure from the old Roku template app. I look forward to Tablo adding the additional features to bring the new preview up to par with the older app. Until Tablo does this, the old app will remain in the Roku store.  The main functionality is there to browse and watch live TV or recorded shows for the Roku preview.  As for the missing features noted above, I have no doubt Tablo will get these out as soon as possible.  The company has continually shown in the past the ability to iterate changes over time to add new features and fix outstanding issues.

Fire TV

The bigger surprise was the new Fire TV (and Android TV) apps. As stated above, I believe Tablo has nailed the UI aspect for both the Roku Preview and this has translated over to these new apps as well. The Fire TV app not only opens up Tablo to a another substantial customer base, but also brings with it all the features from the main web app experience including the ability to schedule recordings out 14 days, searching for existing shows, and changing settings to your Tablo TV.   This is different than the Roku preview app which does not yet have these features.

Now saying that, the Tablo app on the Fire TV stick can be a bit sluggish at times. It’s not as fast to load information as the Roku 3, but I believe that just comes down to the horsepower behind these streaming devices. Maybe someone with a Fire TV (not Stick) can comment on any speed increases. Despite the performance hit of the Fire TV stick, I would still recommend owners at least giving it a try.

It’s great to see Tablo continuing to improve their products as well as take advantage of the newer streaming devices on the market. If you are an owner of a Tablo TV, get out there an update your apps to get on this new experience!

13 thoughts on “Tablo Releases Updated Roku Preview, New Fire TV and Android TV Apps”

  1. If I could *remotely* link your Tablo from my Fire TV, I’d let you know how it goes… ;) (I sold my Fire TV Stick, too sluggish and quirky all around. But I do appreciate my “real” Fire TV.)

  2. Sticks are to be avoided. My sources tell me that, in combination with stones, they can break my bones.

  3. “I’m tempted to do Tablo, Hulu, Netflix and Prime and skip cable altogether.”

    If you’ve got excellent OTA reception, don’t need sports or HBO, and don’t mind the Hulu commercials, you could save some dollars, depending on how much you end up purchasing a la carte…

  4. The other benefit of Tablo, over say Channel Master DVR+ or TiVo Roamio (base and OTA) is the built-in remote streaming. If I were a cord cutter, Tablo would be my solution. Having said that, I assume TiVo is working on a replacement OTA product and they obviously picked up that Aereo name for something…

  5. Tablo is a great product and it has made my cord cutting experience a good one. I currently run OTA Tablo qith about 27 channels, Netflix, Amazone Prime, and Hulu and there is not much that I am missing.

    Having said that…I also do the NBA basketball package for about $100 and borrow MLB from a buddy.

    The only area I don’t have covered is NFL. I am hopefull that this is the year they open it up to OTA cuatomers but if not…there are european sites that show all of the games.

    In addition…i’m currently doing a free month of sling tv and that may have to be kept at the expense of say Hulu…we will see.

  6. The Tablo is the solution I’d been searching for some time. My $220 cable bill drops to $88 dollars for cable internet access. I don’t have to run OTA antenna cable to every set in my house. In fact, I found a flat CAT 6 coax and can now cable it through a closed exterior window. No new holes in the wall. Between the Tablo to Roku units, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Plex for my DLNA content, I’m not losing anything I actually watched! I found an inexpensive universal remote through Amazon that allows me to assign Roku channels to specific remote buttons as long as I don’t move the channel tiles around. Very happy with the update, though adding a video preview window to the grid would be great.

  7. “My $220 cable bill drops to $88 dollars for cable internet access”

    Jeebus. If you were really paying $132 for a cable sub as part of double-play, good lord. That’s far beyond normal, even with premium channels thrown in.

    “Between … Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix and Plex for my DLNA content, I’m not losing anything I actually watched!”

    Seriously. Who is your wireline provider? Who charges $132 for what must have been a bottom-end cable sub package as part of a double-play? For that matter, who charges $90 for internet alone?

    (I mean, I know I’m lucky to be served by multiple wireline providers, thus letting me negotiate, but I’m paying about $100 for a triple-play with an all-the-trimmings cable sub. And even folks faced with a monopoly wireline provider generally aren’t paying anything close to what you were…)

  8. Does the new Roku Tablo app support scrubbing or an improved way to skip past commercials? I ended up returning the Tablo and opting for a DVR+ because it was too much work to get past commercials. I could see giving it another shot if they made this better.

  9. There are currently two Tablo Roku channels both of which have thumbnails fir commercial skipping. The preview Roku channel includes a tv guide. I suggest the 4 tuner version or you might want the new model that includes an antenna.

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