With Apple presenting Sling TV at WWDC this week, it’s safe to say their Apple TV television service remains on hold. Unfortunately, Sling TV still features a problematic interface and doesn’t provide access to “the locals” — like NBC and CBS. Further, while Sony’s PS Vue does include broadcast networks (in some regions) and a 28-day DVR, that service is currently limited to Playstation and Amazon Fire TV hardware. Well, today, Tablo has made good on their CES promise to deliver both live and recorded DVR television to Apple TV.
As a refresher, Tablo is something of a roll-your-own DVR. It’s a small headless box (starting at ~$200, plus service), featuring 2-4 tuners, that you attach a hard drive and an antenna to — with streamers like Roku, Fire TV, and Nvidia Shield delivering the video to your television. Of course, you can also view and manage Tablo from smartphones and tablets.
At launch, Tablo’s new Apple TV app features most core functionality, including the ability to stream both live television and recordings. In limited testing this week, I came away pleased with Tablo’s performance. And it’s fascinating to see how they’ve put Apple’s touchpad to work, vs the Channels app that streams live TV from Silicon Dust hardware — I find Tablo’s implementation slightly better as I’m less likely to inadvertently take an action even though those actions may require an additional step. For example, to scrub, you’d click down and then slide your finger left or right to move around the video buffer. Tablo also includes limited voice control from Apple’s Siri-fied remote, in allowing you to jump ahead – when avoiding commercials, for example. Tablo intends to continue cranking away on the app, bringing the more full featured guide view, recording management, and remote viewing — think: take your linked Apple TV to the vacation house.
Disclosure: Tablo is currently running a banner ad campaign on ZNF.