Home Theater

Tablo TV Could Be Best OTA DVR for Cord Cutters and Integrators Alike

Integrator Joe Whitaker is ready to cut the cord with Nuvyyo's Tablo TV, a networked OTA multi-tuner and DVR that incorporates OTT services from Roku, Chromecast, AppleTV and Plex, and potentially integrates with home automation.


Tablo TV's Renata Scorsone demos the OTA DVR at CEDIA Expo 2014.

Photos & Slideshow

Joe Whitaker · October 29, 2014

Editor’s note: Consumers continue to cut the cord and HD antenna sales are off the charts. So how does an integrator help customers make the best of the broadcast stations available over the air? Tablo TV from Nuvyyo—an over-the-air multi-tuner with networked DVR capabilities— may be the best thing going right now, in terms of features and pricing.

The device ($219 for the dual-tuner model, $289 for quad) doesn’t use HDMI for content distribution. Instead, it goes all IP over the home network to send TV programs and recorded shows to multiple TVs and smart devices. Like they would do with a Slingbox, users can access live or recorded content from remote locations. The unit does not actually connect to the TV. Rather, Tablo TV has users connect the last foot (and enjoy OTT streaming content) via AppleTV (AirPlay), Roku, or Google Chromecast.

Recently, a couple of fans created a Tablo TV Channel for Plex, a popular application for managing and playing Internet-based content as well as the user’s own music, movies and TV collections. The channel allows customers to access a TV programming guide, and manage live and recorded shows, alongside numerous streaming services – previously a big missing element of Plex. Also, the plug-in allows users to watch live and recorded TV through Plex’s long list of supported clients, as well as virtually any DLNA device

There’s no internal storage on Tablo TV. It requires a USB-connected hard drive up to 2 TB.

Nuvyyo charges for its programming guide: $5 per month, $50 per year or $150 for a lifetime subscription.

Tablo exhibited at CEDIA Expo 2014, where integrator and CE Pro contributor Joe Whitaker got a closer look. He says Tablo is just the ticket for cord cutting.—Julie Jacobson

Why Tablo TV Just Tipped the Scale for me to Cut the Cord

Joe Whitaker

Tablo may just be the answer to cord cutters everywhere as its methods are different and innovative enough to make this a widely accepted solution for watching, recording and managing over-the-air (OTA) TV shows.

Tablo claims it is “the first broadcast TV system designed to combine the functionality of a DVR and the convenience and mobility of a tablet app.”

I say for custom electronics professionals it is much more than that. Tablo is the first DVR - period - built for third-party integration. How so? It is accessible through Chromecast, AppleTV (through AirPlay) and Roku. Just look for the HDMI port on the unit. You won’t find one.

A channel on Roku provides direct control of Tablo-based content. What this means for integrators is that any system with IP-controlled Roku boxes would have full control of all Tablo’s live and recorded content via two-way home automation controllers.

Tablo also has hinted that there may just be a big partnership with a rather large display manufacturer in the near future.

Tablo is a broadcast DVR, but as a DVR it is different from what you are used to. For starters, it has no onboard storage. Rather, it requires a USB hard drive (2TB max) for that.

VIEW SCREEN SHOTS & OTHER TABLO IMAGES

NAS drives currently are not supported. I would say it is due to the fact that Tablo uses your home network to distribute its content to your playback devices and doesn’t want to diminish the content quality with traffic it can control by keeping it in the land of USB.

Ultimately, as DirecTV, Dish and TiVo fans would tell you, it’s all about the GUI experience.

Well, Tablo blows them all away. For a full and gorgeous guide experience there is a small $5 monthly fee. But it’s worth it, and considering it is the only fee for your broadcast viewing, it is really worth it.

Without the 5 bucks a month you still get a usable guide more closely resembling a TV Guide.

Tablo kept in mind that most tech consumers these days compare technology experiences to that of a smart phone. Tablo’s slick GUI design keeps that theme in mind to create a method for choosing entertainment in a manner that consumers are used to. And come on, that’s just sexy.

Is Tablo Right for You and Your Client?
Tablo makes it easy for potential users to decide if it is right for them. Check out the channel tool and type in your zip code.

Here you will see what channels are available to you and what potential signal strength you are looking at. No guessing, no trial and error. Here are the channels you will get.

Signal quality does count though. While I was visiting Tablo we had a nice stop over at Antennas Direct. There I learned a little more about signal quality, getting the best signal for a device like Tablo and, well, how inexpensive it was compared to some of the snake oil I have seen.

So as I move to cut the cord over the next 30 days I will be teaming up with Antennas Direct and Tablo and you can expect a full hands-on review. From what I have seen so far Tablo is the missing link joining new tech to old tech in a way that makes cutting the cord sensible for those of us that are used to a little more when it comes to technology, without the expense of the big service providers.

Video: How Tablo TV works

Video: Tablo with Plex



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  About the Author

With over 20 years of experience in home systems installation and design as well as being an award winning product designer, Joe Whitaker currently is principal of the integration firm thethoughtfulhome.com. He is a current member of the CEDIA board of directors first elected in 2013 and is a frequent contributor to CE Pro magazine. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Joe at joe@thethoughtfulhome.com

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  Article Topics


Home Theater · Displays · News · Media · Slideshow · Videos · Cord Cutting · DVR · OTA · Tablo · All Topics
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