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-   -   Tablo vs TiVo (http://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/1594938-tablo-vs-tivo.html)

Charles R 07-07-2014 07:27 PM

Tablo vs TiVo
 
I have been using WMC for two years and don't have a dog in this fight as I'm perfectly happy but I tend to keep an eye out on what I would replace WMC with when the time comes. Up to now it has always been TiVo (used it for roughly a decade) but of late I'm getting the vibe Tablo might be a serious alternative. Initial pricing based on my understanding for two viewing areas...

Tablo

$300 - Tablo 4-Tuner OTA DVR
$90 - Roku 3 (main viewing area)
$50 - Roku 1 (second viewing area)
$150 - Lifetime guide subscription (your lifetime not the Tablo's)
$70 - Generic 1TB external USB drive
------
$660 Total investment

TiVo

$170 - TiVo Roamio 4-Tuner OTA DVR
$88 - TiVo Mini (second viewing area)
$400 - Roamio product lifetime service (includes $100 discount code)
$150 - Mini product lifetime service
------
$808 Total investment

$130 - TiVo Stream (portable viewing - not required for my installation)
------
$938 Feature matched total investment?

Pricing is what I consider easily available which is the most "accurate" to use. The above configuration more or less reflects what I would purchase with my current understanding. Such as the Roku 3 to have Ethernet at my main viewing area. Others would certainly alter the lineup. Pricing favors the Tablo perhaps enough to sway some.

One obvious advantage from above is that Tablo provides you lifetime service not lifetime for your device. That goes a long way should you last long enough to go through several generations. App wise I'd have to give it to Tablo as Roku offers a lot more streaming options than TiVo. This is a big plus as well. Two for Tablo I'm thinking outside of their main mantra.

Right now I couldn't be talked into TiVo and there is an outside chance I could be talked into Tablo. Because I think it's better on some level? Not really rather it would simply be something different and the tweak, fun factor would be there. My only knock on Tablo justified or not is image quality. They don't capture the actual image. Rather they convert it to a more friendly streaming format. Now if I could really tell the difference I don't know but until proven other wise I'm guessing it takes a hit. To what degree I can't even guess...

Now since this isn't a thread about one or the other there is no need to play fair per se. Hopefully the benefits of each can be defined without having to knock the other (too badly) as that leads nowhere. Going forward the thread might help others in deciding which direction to go and I look forward to learning more especially about the Tablo.

snowcat 07-08-2014 04:49 AM

If you did go out to buy Rokus with a Tablo, I would only get the Roku 3 version, at least for now. Most Roku problems with the Tablo are from people using older versions. And if you are including the price of Rokus, those devices can do a lot besides for just running the Tablo, like Netflix, AmazonTv, WatchESPN, Hulu, etc.

The Tablo also lets you connect remotely like a SlingBox, but it has to be on device that has been connected to it on the home network first (so you couldn't watch your home tv on a hotel PC). I don't know if the Tivo has anything like that. I am heading out to Europe this week, and I am going to bring my tablets with me, and I should be able to watch my own TV there (assuming the hotel wi-fi is decent enough).

The Tablo's other big feature is that you can play it on a multitude of devices. It works best on an iPad, Roku 3, and web browser (Chrome or Safari), but it is functional on Android tablets, Chromecast, and AppleTv.

I have had my Tablo for a little over three months now, and while I have run into my share of issues, I have been very pleased with this product. The Tivo likely has a more solid interface with more DVR features, but the Tablo is adding new features and bug fixes on a pretty regular basis.

Kelson 07-08-2014 06:33 AM

It is always nice to see options that people can choose from to fit their needs, desires and comfort levels.
But why just Tablo vs. TiVo and not Tablo vs. WMC? As you said you abandoned TiVo two years ago and are solidly in the WMC camp but on the prowl for something new with no desire to return to TiVo. Seems to me that Tablo vs. WMC would be far more in line with your current experience and expertise and future directions.

Charles R 07-08-2014 07:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snowcat (Post 25571778)
The Tivo likely has a more solid interface with more DVR features, but the Tablo is adding new features and bug fixes on a pretty regular basis.

This is pretty much my take. You can't really go wrong with TiVo and with their recent hardware refresh and introduction of the Mini they have addressed most of their glaring weaknesses. Before then Tablo would be the clear winner with multiple viewing locations. However now Tablo has to do "something" or be "something" that TiVo isn't. One is less expensive another offering a more feature packed client (Roku).

I'm just not sure either (or both) are worth it versus the daily usage of the DVR itself. For me TV should be appliance like painless. It has to be reliable and easy to use and if you figure the hours per day and length of time you will use the products the daily interface becomes the most important factor. Sure I like to tweak and it's one of the reasons I went with WMC at the same time I want to do it on my terms.

One thing I do like about Tablo is that to a large degree it's like WMC as your dedicated investment is fairly small (not as small as WMC however). What I mean is its net expensive is $450. The cost of Tablo and lifetime service. The hard drive and Roku units can be re-serviced. With TiVo there basically isn't a net... it's your total expensive. Although TiVo does have a very good resell value and in the past I have even made money selling their units after using them for x period of time (typically by upgrading their hard drive and selling them with Lifetime).

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelson (Post 25573265)
But why just Tablo vs. TiVo and not Tablo vs. WMC?

Fair enough question and I guess I have two answers. I already know most everything about WMC and others can pretty much catch up by reading my WMC thread. Even though it was titled Windows Media Center vs TiVo there is virtually no TiVo in it. That's because again I knew most everything about TiVo. I wanted to learn about WMC and share my experience.

The second being WMC has a limited market and I see the majority of cord cutters or those looking to leave TiVo seeing Tablo as a more viable solution. Now whether that's valid or not is another question worth debating but valid still the same.

TabloTV 07-08-2014 07:24 AM

Just popping in to say thanks for considering us @charlesr !

If you have any questions, I'm happy to answer them, although Snowcat's got a good handle on what's going on as well. He's like unofficial tech support on our forum. ;)

qz3fwd 07-09-2014 09:44 AM

The 1 nice thing about the Tivo is that since it had video outputs, you can sit down on the couch after work, turn on the TV and use the remote control to timeshift/channel surf. You cannot do this with the Tablo since it doesnt have and never will have HDMI out.

All options are pretty good thee days and it boils down to your specific preferences. Personally I have Tivo & Tablo, and will be adding WMC when I upgrade from XP to 7!

Charles R 07-09-2014 10:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qz3fwd (Post 25605465)
You cannot do this with the Tablo since it doesnt have and never will have HDMI out.

How does not having HDMI prevent one from using a remote?

Kelson 07-09-2014 10:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles R (Post 25605953)
How does not having HDMI prevent one from using a remote?

@qz3fwd
That was going to be my question, also. If the device interface allows you to surf the channels -- and I do not know if Tablo does or doesn't -- it doesn't matter what the signal path into your display is as long as there is a signal path.

Right?

I have a Silicon Dust HDHR dual tuner on my network with no direct input into any device. I can sit at my PC, open a small window and surf the TV channels while I work because the HDHR software lets me do it.

snowcat 07-09-2014 10:41 AM

As a Tablo user, I just sit down in front of me tv, turn on the TV, and then use my Roku remote (or stick with my Harmony remote) to select the Tablo channel and go from there.

I do agree that channel surfing live tv isn't a strong point. You go to live tv, look through the list of channels and the current show on each channel, select one, wait 15-20 sec for it to buffer, watch it for a few minutes, hit the back button to select another channel, wait 15-20 sec for it to buffer, and watch it for a while.

Now once a show is being tuned and has been buffered, you can go back to it in just a couple of seconds (no waiting for buffering since it already is being tuned). You can also rewind back to when you first started watching, so it isn't bad for watching multiple NFL games at once, for example. (Don't know if the Tivo does that). The four tuner is better than the two tuner for channel surfing, since once you get up to 4 channels tuned and buffered, it is quick to switch among them.

Charles R 07-09-2014 10:47 AM

I think most understand a few simply feel "cheated" if they can't connect the box to a TV and be done with it. Much like TiVo offering a subscription model... it doesn't matter they also offer Lifetime its stained as a subscription based company. It's nice being in a non official thread as one can let go... :)

Kelson 07-09-2014 10:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by snowcat (Post 25607153)
(Don't know if the Tivo does that).

Yes, TiVo has independent channel buffers for each tuner. The buffer length is 30 min and is always being accumulated for each tuner 24x7. How long is the Tablo channel buffer.

Kelson 07-09-2014 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles R (Post 25607361)
I think most understand a few simply feel "cheated" if they can't connect the box to a TV and be done with it. Much like TiVo offering a subscription model... it doesn't matter they also offer Lifetime its stained as a subscription based company.


It's just a matter of perception. The RoKu is the box with the remote control and the HDMI output into the TV (or AVR), right? If the RoKu were fed by an antenna lead and had DVR capability then all would be OK. Instead the RoKu is fed by an intermediary box that has an attached antenna lead and DVR capability. So a potential solution to the perception problem would be to glue the RoKu to the top of the Tablo and treat it as a single device. That should make everyone happy.

qz3fwd 07-09-2014 11:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles R (Post 25605953)
How does not having HDMI prevent one from using a remote?

The lack of video output prevents you from doing what I stated. Most people cannot or will not connect their tablet to their tv to watch TV content. My point is that it is much more convenient for the majority of consumer to put a tv into their lifestyle/routine.

wkearney99 07-09-2014 11:10 AM

Also do not underestimate the WAF. How well your spouse handles technological mumbo-jumbo is NOT a factor to overlook. My dear wife, on switching to a DirecTV DVR (after they ditched Tivo) was not pleased. Likewise when I attempted to use a Verizon FIOS DVR, "where's the Tivo?" came right up. Tivo's damn near perfect when it comes to being a DVR. Everything else (and I've GOT one of nearly everything else) just pales in the spouse/child friendliness department.

Charles R 07-09-2014 11:16 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wkearney99 (Post 25608097)
Everything else (and I've GOT one of nearly everything else) just pales in the spouse/child friendliness department.

I think this is one area WMC gets overlooked. It's much like TiVo as it takes about two minutes to get comfortable with and is rather boring (in a good way) from then on out...

wkearney99 07-09-2014 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles R (Post 25608265)
I think this is one area WMC gets overlooked. It's much like TiVo as it takes about two minutes to get comfortable with and is rather boring (in a good way) from then on out...

I disagree. WMC tends to get lost in a fair number of places. It keeps coming up as 'inconsistent' when you're wandering through the UI. I likewise tried using SiliconDust tuners with WMC (several versions up until Windows8). Now, don't get me wrong, I'd like to make use of it, but it doesn't pass the WAF test.

Charles R 07-09-2014 11:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by qz3fwd (Post 25607873)
The lack of video output prevents you from doing what I stated. Most people cannot or will not connect their tablet to their tv to watch TV content.

Quote:

Originally Posted by qz3fwd (Post 25605465)
The 1 nice thing about the Tivo is that since it had video outputs, you can sit down on the couch after work, turn on the TV and use the remote control to timeshift/channel surf.

Try again? How does not having HDMI prevent you from doing what you stated...

Now it appears you are turning it into an installation issue. Not a interface issue at all. My understanding is you don't even have to own a tablet to use Tablo, no?

Charles R 07-09-2014 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wkearney99 (Post 25608401)
WMC tends to get lost in a fair number of places.

Such as? Now take into account I'm talking about the daily interface... not the initial setup and configuration. Rather its day to day usage.

snowcat 07-09-2014 11:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wkearney99 (Post 25608097)
Also do not underestimate the WAF. How well your spouse handles technological mumbo-jumbo is NOT a factor to overlook.


My wife has handled the transition to the Tablo pretty well. She already was using her iPad to watch Netflix a lot more than regular TV. Now I set up her shows on the Tablo, and she just uses the iPad to watch it there.

My daughter watches her shows on our desktop PC, which is where she usually watches her stuff online.

My son and I really the only ones that watch TV on actual TVs anymore. ;)

Kelson 07-09-2014 11:53 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles R (Post 25608545)
My understanding is you don't even have to own a tablet to use Tablo, no?

Can someone please answer this question? I was under the assumption the RoKu remote was all you needed. Is that the case or do you in fact need a tablet or smart-phone to operate the Tablo and watch TV on your big flatscreen in the family room.

Aero 1 07-09-2014 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelson (Post 25609409)
Can someone please answer this question? I was under the assumption the RoKu remote was all you needed. Is that the case or do you in fact need a tablet or smart-phone to operate the Tablo and watch TV on your big flatscreen in the family room.

i think that in order to get the full functionality like season passes and what not, you need a tablet or a computer. Apparently the roku is a dummy terminal in the sense you cant even browse a guide, schedule recordings or event edit them.

Charles R 07-09-2014 12:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelson (Post 25609409)
Can someone please answer this question?.

To use Tablo you need the following things:
  • an HDTV antenna
  • an iPad running Apple iOS7+ OR an Android tablet with a 7" + screen running Android 4.1 OR a computer
  • an internet connection
  • a USB hard drive (Max 2TB capacity) this is required both for watching live TV and recording programming.
  • If you'd like to watch programming on your big screen TV, you'll also need an AppleTV, Roku or a Chromecast dongle. You can also use the web-based app with an HDMI-enabled computer connected to your TV.

You need either a tablet or PC to initially setup Tablo. For daily viewing I don't believe you need either...

The Tablo DVR box collects free Over-The-Air (OTA) HDTV content through an external HDTV antenna connected to the box. The Tablo DVR is then connected to your home's internet router, either through WiFi or Ethernet cable. (NOTE - Setup via Wi-Fi is only available via the iOS and Android apps at this time.) The Tablo app, downloaded on your tablet or accessed through the web on your computer, will walk you through the remaining installation and setup process and will become the primary interface with your Tablo system. Once Tablo has helped you scan for and select the HDTV channels you want to view, and download program guide data, you're ready to browse, record and stream live HDTV programming on your tablet, phone, PC/Mac or TV.

snowcat 07-09-2014 12:18 PM

You do need a tablet or a web browser to set up the Tablo for the first time and to do any kind of firmware updates. The Roku interface doesn't have the "Settings" page that you see in the other interfaces.

The Roku and its remote will do everything else (in its own way). You can watch live tv, watch recorded TV, set up recordings (at least if you have a subscription...manual recordings will have to be done on a web or tablet interface for now), and do all the pause, rewind, FF functions of the DVR. I say "in its own way" since the live TV interface is just the current show as opposed to a channel grid, and there is no search field.

mhufnagel 07-09-2014 12:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Kelson (Post 25609409)
Can someone please answer this question? I was under the assumption the RoKu remote was all you needed. Is that the case or do you in fact need a tablet or smart-phone to operate the Tablo and watch TV on your big flatscreen in the family room.

It looks like snowcat has already answered this question.

Quote:

Originally Posted by snowcat (Post 25607153)
As a Tablo user, I just sit down in front of me tv, turn on the TV, and then use my Roku remote (or stick with my Harmony remote) to select the Tablo channel and go from there.


Charles R 07-09-2014 06:40 PM

Getting back to one of my original concerns has anyone done any actual image comparisons?

Say using two inputs on your TV and A/Bing the TV tuner versus Tablo/Roku 3 (set to 1080p)? Ensuring the inputs are calibrated the same. Perhaps against TiVo with paused images. I know someone stated they have both. If the image isn't taking a hit I might give it a try before too long...

TonyB1966 07-10-2014 12:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Charles R (Post 25620313)
Getting back to one of my original concerns has anyone done any actual image comparisons?

Say using two inputs on your TV and A/Bing the TV tuner versus Tablo/Roku 3 (set to 1080p)? Ensuring the inputs are calibrated the same. Perhaps against TiVo with paused images. I know someone stated they have both. If the image isn't taking a hit I might give it a try before too long...

Charles, thanks for getting back to this question / concern. I too have wondered that, so I'd be curious to hear any feedback and ways for such objective evaluation.

Many of us here have spent thousands of dollars for the highest resolution TV's, focused on PQ, so this is relevant, I feel...

Charles R 07-10-2014 01:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TonyB1966 (Post 25639601)
Many of us here have spent thousands of dollars for the highest resolution TV's, focused on PQ, so this is relevant, I feel...

Realistically I see their market being more casual viewing with tablets and such than old school dedicated TV viewers. I also understand why they went the way they did and it makes perfect sense. Although in my case my smallest display is 61" with the largest being 120" and I find with the local stations dedicating so much bandwidth to their sub-channels their image suffers enough that any further degradation would make a non ideal situation worse. My local NBC often uses slightly more than 5GB per hour and they are transmitting 1080i. Other 1080i stations use roughly 2GB per hour more and even 720p stations use more.

In the Tablo thread they were very nice and explained the process they use and the related storage method and its various options. On a pure guess it appears there isn't much of a hit and it's probably more of a just knowing it's not native thing than actual loss of detail. At least that's what we are trying to see. :)

Here is what they posted and note my recording sizes aren't apple to apples with Tablo's since it's a different codec.

Hopefully this is helpful Charles:

We transcode ATSC MPEG 2 to H.264. We currently transcode the AC3 to two channel AAC but hope to add an AC3 pass through in the near future.
Recorded programs on Tablo are stored in HLS playlist format that can be reassembled into a standard MPEG file. There is no DRM.

Recording Quality: The resolution of the video recorded on the Hard Drive can be selected using this control. The options are 1080p, 720p and Standard Definition (480p).

1080p 720p SD (480p)
Bandwidth 10 Mbps 5 Mbps 2 Mbps
Gigabytes/Hour 4 GB/hr 2 GB/hr 0.8 GB/hr

We have found that the best tradeoff in terms of the size of the recording, best use of Wi-Fi bandwidth and quality of the recording is 720p. Selecting 1080p will consume more bandwidth over the Wi-Fi network and will use more space on your disk and may not provide a significant improvement in quality. If you are streaming video to multiple devices at the same time and experience stuttering (the video pauses and then resumes every few minutes), try reducing the recording quality. However, note that this will only affect new recordings and Live TV. Your old recordings will remain at the bandwidth specified by the quality setting when they were recorded.


Does that cover everything you were wondering about?

TonyB1966 07-10-2014 01:53 PM

Thank you Charles. I was not aware of that information. Really cool that Tablo is represented on this forum! I like the product for sure, and the support.

For me, at this point, it's simply a matter of having to work both a remote control as well as a networked device (for Tablo) to accomplish all requests of the AV system...

Charles R 07-10-2014 02:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TonyB1966 (Post 25641033)
For me, at this point, it's simply a matter of having to work both a remote control as well as a networked device (for Tablo) to accomplish all requests of the AV system...

I wouldn't worry about the network device aspect of it. For me it sounds similar to WMC where you connect your tuners (well I use network tuners) to the network and install them via a PC app. Once you do that you live within the WMC interface which appears to be the case with Tablo. Worse case you use your browser for firmware or other updates.

For me I'm moving away from a PC centric installation to a more stand alone environment. I stopped using iSCSI on my NAS for recordings. In my dedicated room I switched from a PC to a streamer and lost the ability to access WMC. If I sell another PC I might place a Roku 3 in the den (my main viewing area). At that point it's not much to add Tablo in the den and since everything in the dedicated room can be control via a tablet (outside of the projector itself - unfortunately) having a dedicated tablet makes sense. I can easily use it in both rooms as they are never in use at the same time.

I guess it's down to three things since I'm happy with that I have now...

  • Image quality
  • Pass-through audio
  • Daily interface

If I had nothing or wasn't so happy I wouldn't let them concern me.

TonyB1966 07-10-2014 03:16 PM

Charles, I appreciate the follow-up...

Member snowcat was very helpful in the Tablo thread. With an attached Roku (namely a Roku 3), the need to use a networked device would be minimal, but required for everyday use, at least how for our viewing needs. As I recall, one such example would a desire to view a channel guide for all channels, showing what's on now, and thereafter, if that make any sense. If one wants to see such a view, then getting on a networked device would be needed, again, if I understood correctly...

Unfortunately, that is what we do first upon firing-up the TV - scan all available channels to see what's on currently, or soon to be airing, to make sure we are not missing anything we might want to watch (or record)... So, we'd need to turn the system on via our remote control (H1), then have a phone or tablet available to continue as explained. I keep hoping that is not accurate or that I misunderstood, but I don't believe so.


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