As someone who recently cut the cable cord (see ya Frontier, you won’t be missed) I was pretty excited about the opportunity to review the Tablo OTA DVR. I received the $200 two tuner model for testing. There is also a four tuner version available – it runs about $100 more. So far the experience has been good but I’ll save detailed comment on usability and performance for the review.
The DVR was packaged in a small box with no unnecessary dead space. There’s an RJ45 cable, power adaptor, and quick start guide included and that’s it. There are two USB ports, one network port, an AC power port, and a coaxial connector for an OTA antenna (not included). There’s no video out of the DVR. Everything is handled via streaming to apps – smartphone or media player (Roku, FireTV, Chromecast, etc).
The DVR itself is compact and matte black. It fit easily on my component shelf under my television. The included network cable is short, about 24 inches, so your device will need to be right next to your router if you want to use their cable. It also works on WiFi, though I have not tested the WiFi setup. I’m using a cheapo antenna that I got from Amazon for under $10.
I’ll run through the setup process a bit in the review but it was a breeze – exactly what you’d want from a modern connected device. The Tablo app is well designed and responsive. The initial setup process exceeded my expectations. One thing to note is that you will need to provide your own storage device. There is no on-board storage in the Tablo. I had a spare 500 GB drive lying around so I used that.
I scheduled and tested a couple of recordings. The quality of the streams was quite good on my home network, even at the default 720p recording quality. You also have the option to make your recordings accessible from outside your network. Configuration was simple and it did work but I only tested long enough to ensure I could access my recordings. I’m really looking forward to putting this through it’s paces over the next week or so.
Keep an eye out for the full review in the next week or two.