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.