Tablo Quad DVR review: The best gets bigger

    Tablo’s over-the-air DVR software program has gotten loads higher over the past yr, and now it has to match with the Tablo Quad.

    The $200 DVR field from Ottawa-based Nuvyyo can flip a single antenna right into a whole-home DVR for cord-cutters. As the title suggests, the Tablo Quad can play or file as much as 4 broadcast TV channels at a time, and it then streams the video to just about any related TV system, cellphone, pill, or PC. While the Tablo Quad isn’t any extra highly effective than the $140 Tablo Dual Lite, it will possibly file twice as many simultaneous channels, and it has an inner onerous drive bay for storing recordings with out the litter of an exterior drive.

    Both merchandise are less complicated to arrange and use than most different whole-home DVRs, and the latest additions of advert skipping and a channel-surfing information put them on equal footing feature-wise. Tablo stays the perfect all-around DVR for cord-cutters with antennas, with a slight edge to the newer Tablo Quad. If not for some early ad-skipping points and longstanding video high quality limitations, it’d be just about good.

    Pick your items

    Jared Newman / IDG

    To use the Tablo Quad, it’s essential to provide your individual antenna and storage, plus a separate streaming system corresponding to a Roku or Fire TV Stick. An ethernet connection to your house community is non-compulsory.

    Setting up the Tablo Quad nonetheless includes some gentle do-it-yourself components. Instead of connecting on to a TV, the Tablo field can sit anyplace in the home, as long as it will possibly connect with Wi-Fi or plug instantly right into a router, ethernet change, or wi-fi bridge utilizing a cable. It’s finest to position it wherever you get the perfect reception from an antenna, which plugs right into a coaxial port on the again of the field. You should then provide your individual streaming system—be it a Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, or myriad other options—and obtain the Tablo app to look at TV.

    The Tablo Quad doesn’t embody any DVR storage both. Instead, it has a USB port for an exterior onerous drive, plus a hatch on its underside the place you’ll be able to slide in a 2.5-inch inner drive. The latter is a pleasant approach to maintain the setup compact; sadly, you’ll be able to’t use inner and exterior storage in tandem. Although Tablo is engaged on cloud DVR storage as an alternative choice to organising a tough drive, at $5 per 30 days it shortly turns into pricier than shopping for a tough drive for $50 or so.

    tabloquadhdd Jared Newman / IDG

    Using the Tablo Quad’s inner onerous drive slot is tidier than plugging in an exterior USB drive.

    Once the whole lot’s related, Tablo’s cell apps or web site will information you thru the preliminary setup, which includes connecting the Tablo to Wi-Fi and scanning for channels. The system features a 30-day TV information subscription, which permits for collection recordings, a 14-day channel information with cowl artwork, out-of-home viewing, and ad-skipping (extra on these options shortly). After that, the subscription prices $5 per 30 days, $50 per yr, or $150 for all times.

    DVR bins that plug instantly into your tv, corresponding to TiVo’s Bolt OTA, are inherently less complicated than all this, however Tablo’s benefit is that it really works with no matter streaming bins or sticks you would possibly already be utilizing. You don’t want to change inputs simply to look at native channels, or accept TiVo’s inferior choice of built-in apps. Tablo can be cheaper than TiVo over time, particularly with a number of televisions, as our over-the-air DVR price comparison reveals.

    Recording choices

    In addition to offering a 14-day channel information, a Tablo subscription enables you to browse packages by style or channel. You can then file particular person episodes, solely new episodes, or all episodes from a given collection. To save cupboard space, Tablo can robotically discard older episodes—helpful for recording well timed information or discuss reveals—and you may mark recordings as “protected” from computerized deletion when the onerous drive fills up. For series-based recordings, Tablo permits an additional buffer of as much as 10 minutes earlier than a present and 3 hours after, or you’ll be able to simply schedule a guide recording, VCR-style.

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