Tablo Slashes OTA DVR Pricing & Betas Cloud Storage

Dave Zatz —  March 30, 2018 — 7 Comments

Nuvvyo, the company behind Tablo and a ZNF advertiser, has just updated their headless OTA DVR line up with the Tablo Dual Lite. However, there’s not much “lite” about the new dual-tuner unit other than a significantly lower price point than the Tablo Dual.  Whereas the Dual retails for $220, the Lite weighs in at a competitive $140 — more in line with transcoding HDHomeRun pricing. In fact, in some ways the Lite (MSRP $140) exceeds the capabilities of the original Dual (MSRP $220) — sporting a slightly better tuner, with integrated demodulator, and slightly better AC WiFi chip that may result in some minor real-world performance improvements when confronting marginal broadcast or wireless coverage scenarios. What you’d be giving up is the integrated high-quality 64GB eMMC storage, good for about 40 hours of HD recording. However, with external drive pricing so low there’s really not much downside. And, in fact, the Tablo Dual Lite offers a free trial of the company’s new Cloud DVR.


Whereas TiVo’s cloud DVR initiative may have been abandoned, Tablo’s moving forward for a variety of reasons — beginning with a new and free 40GB beta open to Lite owners. While the company is as curious as we are as what sort of uptake they’ll see,  the cloud DVR immediately offers one compelling use case in that new owners can maximize Tablo, out-of-the-box, by recording television programming should they not have yet acquired a hard drive. Beyond that, how many will stick with the service (for a fee, tbd) versus migrating to an external drive remains an unknown (although cloud will absolutely be a selling point and requirement for their upcoming single tuner stick solution). For practical purposes, cloud storage encoding is capped at 5MB vs some higher quality options available to those of us with USB drives.

Tablo Dual Lite launches 4/1 as a Best Buy exclusive and, for peak performance, you’ll want the extended guide subscription that runs $50/yr.

7 responses to Tablo Slashes OTA DVR Pricing & Betas Cloud Storage

  1. Just to be clear, is there a monthly charge for using Tablo?

  2. You could use Tablo without a service plan, but I would not recommend it — most will want the advanced series-style recording, 14 days of guide data, and out-of-home streaming options. While there is a monthly offering ($5/mo), I’d advise going with the annual plan to save a few bucks ($50) assuming you’re satisfied after the free 30-day trial. Unlike TiVo, the plan is associated with you and not a specific piece of hardware.

    The Cloud DVR stuff will also require a subscription, but details haven’t been released yet as the service is in beta.

  3. The monthly service is really only needed if you record a lot.

  4. Add a hard drive and life time subsription and you are close to a TIVO with 4 tuners, voice comand and commercial skip feature.

    Cloud DVR will never be as good as a physical hard drive even if it we’re free.

  5. The Roamio OTA is a great and cost effective solution if you have antenna reception at the one TV you plan to use it – probably the best. But if you also want to stream to phones and tablets, you need a TiVo Stream accessory at $100+ and apparently discontinued. If you want to watch at additional televisions, you need a TiVo Mini for another $100+ each. Costs go up significantly with the more powerful and versatile Bolt line – although still currently requiring a Mini for additional televisions, whereas Tablo feeds Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV and others. Supposedly TiVo is looking to produce some Hydra-based client apps, so that could change the math when and if it happens.

  6. JOHN MACMULLEN April 1, 2018 at 8:22 am

    I use an HDHomerun in conjunction with Plex(with PlexPass) which allows remote access to your antenna, dvr’d shows through the Plex app. DVR’d shows are stored locally (not on the cloude) and have the benefit of using Plex’s commercial removal functionality.
    To me you can’t beat this combination of HDHomerun/Plex for OTA recording/remote viewing

  7. HarryKerryJr. April 3, 2018 at 2:20 am

    At least as far as OTA viewing and recording, I believe we have finally reached the point where products like Tablo and HDHomeRun, et al. are now superior both financially and in regards to steraming to connected devices or mobile devices and the advantages of cloud DVR compared to the TiVo OTA Vox that comes with NO streaming capabilites (TiVo Stream is no longer available) and if you want to watch TiVo OTA Vox content on a 2nd screen, then the added cost of a Mini, as Dave has stated.

    I just find it interesting that the technology and the market has changed so much that Tablo and HDHomeRun offer less cost and superior mobility than our old time TiVo boxes for OTA. I invested in TiVo long ago and like what I have, but if I were to make a choice in how I want to access my OTA TODAY, it would NOT be TiVo OTA Vox. It is just lacking in features and OPTIONS compared to Tablo and HDHomeRun and any other such devices out there. If TiVo had put a Stream inside the OTA Vox, then maybe truly competitive.

    Yes, TiVo seems to have teased us about what will seemingly replace the loss of the TiVo Stream, but the factor or Rovi–now TiVo–purchase adds such great uncertainty to what TiVo will eventually decide in regards of competint with Tablo, et al. I’m still spooked that at some time not too far away, TiVo will throw in the towel on all retial boxes. Rovi has done this at least TWO times in the past when it abandoned its built-in guide feature for DVR’s, DVD Recorders, and HDTV’s. If TiVo would be more clear about its intentions, TiVo could be taken as a serious consideration for OTA, and the LACK of a stream function in the new TiVo OTA Vox did NOT head well.

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