Tablo Previews Automatic Commercial Skip

Like TiVo (currently) and Channels DVR (upcoming), Tablo is bringing automatic commercial skipping to over-the-air television recordings. The good news: You can see it in action below. The bad news: The company has delayed its release until late April.

Don’t worry, we’re still committed to making that happen but there are some additional algorithm tweaking and beta testing to be done which will push full availability into late April. Once your Tablo DVR receives the next round of firmware and app updates, Tablo apps on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, and Apple TV will hop right past pesky commercials on completed recordings.

11 thoughts on “Tablo Previews Automatic Commercial Skip”

  1. FYI TiVo’s commskip is partially indexed by humans and limited to prime time stuff, whereas Channels and Tablo attempt to do this programatically – they’ll encompass more content, but the results won’t be as precise. Seems like a reasonable trade off.

  2. Tablo is also forcing new purchasers to pay for guide data. Previously their devices offered limited functionality without the subscription, which costs $4.99/month. Now they won’t work at all.

    Note that existing users are grandfathered into the old limited functionality, only new users are affected by this.

    Odds are this isn’t a big deal for many people as the “limited functionality” only offered 1 day of guide data and didn’t include a Season Pass type feature, rendering it about as useful as a 1985 VCR, but it’s worth mentioning.

  3. Well… I’d never recommend Tablo without a subscription and would suggest the $50 annual rate (vs monthly). Which, incidentally, clocks in lower than TiVo and Channels – whose prices I also didn’t cite. Amazon Recast is the only reasonable fee-free solution at this point… which is reflected in its limited capabilities. We’ll see where we are in a few months or a year.

  4. Tablo also offers a lifetime subscription for $150, and it’s YOUR lifetime not the lifetime of the device (unlike TiVo), making it a very attractive deal indeed.

    I played around with Tablo, Plex DVR, HDHomerun DVR, and TiVo OTA. I still think TiVo is the best but its pricing is not competitive, and Tablo comes in second for sure.

  5. Paul, they will still offer the no subscription option. That is not going away.

    From the link you supplied…

    “Since we launched the original 2-Tuner Tablo DVR in 2014, we’ve been committed to keeping our TV Guide Data Subscription optional, affordable, and tied to YOU.

    That will not change.”

    Key word in there is optional… It IS required to have a subscription if you want com skip but again, if you only want the old, non subscription “VCR” like programming and single day guide, that will remain free.

    What they are changing is only for those on lifetime subscriptions which previously offered an option for MULTIPLE Tablo devices on a SINGLE lifetime subscription. Now you will need a subscription for each device if you have more than one.

    The lifetime still goes with YOU, meaning if you want to swap from one Tablo to a new Tablo (removing the old one) you can still do that as well, you just cant add a second one and keep BOTH active without paying for both.

  6. I noticed a comment on Cord Cutters News regarding possible uploads in conjunction with Tablo’s commercial skip capabilities… and, so, I checked in with Tablo.

    The company confirms this is a cloud-based “hybrid of digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms and machine learning [… that] will use between 100-200 MB/hour of recording in external internet bandwidth.”

    I’ll go ahead and assume they are somewhat constrained by local computing power and are uploading each recording’s metadata for analysis, perhaps even a complete low-res recording, and then shipping back some sort of small file with the commercial break markers. And, given this implementation, it makes sense it’d be incorporated into a service tier… as it’s not a zero-cost offering for the company. Folks on capped and/or slower connections may need to weigh the benefits against any potential home network concerns.

  7. The page clearly says brand new subscribers will require a guide data subscription for each Tablo device. Previously you didn’t need a subscription at all.

    If you’re correct and it’s just saying brand new subscribers will need MULTIPLE subscriptions if they have more than one device, the webpage is poorly written and they should clearly state that subscriptions remain optional.

  8. Yes, I agree, its poorly written and they glance over that part.

    They re-confirmed on one of their other posts (can’t remember if it was Facebook or their community forum). that the NO SUBSCRIPTION option will still exist.

    I agree with Dave though, I wouldn’t recommend a Tablo without the guide anyway, just trying to help clear things up.

  9. OK, thanks for the clarification.

    We all roundly agree Tablo without a subscription isn’t particularly useful in the first place!

    I’m not clear who their new cloud DVR is actually _for_. Of course it’s a great profit center for Tablo, as 64GB on Amazon S3 costs them roughly $1.34 per month.

    But for users… it’s $5/month for 64GB of space. But I mean, welcome to 2019– you can buy a 64GB flash drive on Amazon for ten dollars. You can buy a 1TB USB3 hard drive for fifty dollars? Who’s looking to pay $5/month for 64GB?

  10. I reached out to Tablo (again!) – they confirm they will continue to provide a free tier for live television and manual recordings.

  11. I wonder if Tablo is analyzing each recording individually? You would think for popular national prime-time shows the only differences would be local/regional ad insertion. Comskip has a greater challenge since it only had one recording to analyze.

    If you have a handful of recordings from various parts of the country, wouldn’t it be easier to at least identify the local insertions by comparing them?

    It would also make the Cloud DVR recordings much more space-efficient if they store only one copy of the nationally broadcast content (especially if they’re also smart about the same show/timeslot adjusted for different timezones), and keep the local insertions separately on a per-station. basis.

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