The whole purpose to “cord cutting” is to not have to pay to watch TV — what comes over the air (OTA) through an antenna that gives you plenty of channels in high-definition and stereo/surround sound for free. But one of the things that your hands find empty when there’s no cable box/satellite receiver doing the work is the lack of recording capabilities — you can’t record new or favorite shows to watch when it’s convenient. So to fill that void comes the Tablo DUAL 64GB OTA DVR.
Think of the Tablo as a DVR (digital video recorder) because it has the capability to record up to 40 hours of TV shows using its 64GBs of flash drive memory (you can vary the resolution of the recording as that influences the amount of memory needed and time available). That’s the fast kind with no moving parts (solid-state), but for those looking to record tons you can plug in a USB 3.0 drive (optional obviously). But in order to have something to record, the Tablo has to be set up, with one thing that has to be gotten and one thing that you have already. So let’s deal with both of these now.
To “bring in” TV channels from over the airwaves, you need a HD antenna. These are available from a lot of sources and in varying configurations that can be used inside or outside, but the basics apply. A cable from the antenna goes into a coaxial socket on the Tablo, instead of the TV. That’s a must, just as the Tablo itself has to be placed so that it can be plugged into a wall outlet for power. The other thing needed is a Wi-Fi home network — that’s because the Tablo transmits what it gets from the antenna through dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi to (up to 6) those devices joined to the network: examples being smartphones, tablets, laptops through the use of a free app (iOS/Android) or computer web app. Just to note, those wanting the most stable signal initially can connect it to the router directly via an Ethernet cable.
So once all this is set up, you can treat the Tablo as if it was a TV (pausing live broadcasts at will) or as a DVR (playing, skipping commercials, bringing up previously recorded shows, scheduling new recordings, etc.). And because there’s 2 tuners, you can watch one channel while recording another or record two different ones at the same time.
Now as regards what and how you can watch TV — the Tablo app works wherever it is found: this means smartphones and tablets (iOS/Android) and computers and Smart TVs and streaming and gaming devices such as NVIDIA SHIELD and XBOX, but also Android TV, Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV — you get the idea. And for those wanting to watch on the big TV screen when there’s no app for that —just put it on a device connected to the TV (streaming type) or “throw” it from your phone/tablet to the TV.
Plus it goes without saying that you are viewing a channel guide so as to know what is on and when — the channel guide looks ahead 24 hours in “live mode” which is a free service. Should you want the ability to look ahead 14 days as well as scheduling series of shows, then a monthly subscription charge is required (giving you more detailed information such as cover art and episode synopsis regarding the programming). This subscription also allows the owner to remotely view content stored on the Tablo. But for those wanting to watch “on the go” but balk at getting a subscription, there are alternative means for downloaded content locally onto devices.
The Tablo DUAL 64GB OTA DVR retails for $219.99 and is small and curved. It sort of looking like one of those early day routers, complete with air vent grills. But in position it’s unobtrusive and frankly there’s no reason to stare at it — just use it to watch TV.