The DVR has gone from luxury to necessity over the last few years. As more and better TV is put on the air, it becomes harder and harder to keep track of it. But it can be annoying to use a TiVo when they’re not exactly up-to-date, technologically. Tablo hopes to fix that, although it’s got a few concerns.
At The Tablo
Essentially, it’s a dual-tuner DVR with streaming technology. And it’s fairly impressive stuff on that score; you can stream to up to six different devices at once, all using the same Tablo. The dual tuner means you can record two shows at once, meaning you’ll never have to decide between shows again. And in all, it’s pretty impressive. But there are some technical drawbacks.
First of all, for this to work, you’re going to need an HDTV-capable antenna and a USB hard drive, which you bring to the party. Considering the Tablo costs $220, and that hard drives aren’t exactly pricey, it seems kind of odd that you’re expected to bring your own HD to the party. Secondly, if you want the actual ease of use of a DVR, you’re going to either have to pay $5 a month for a subscription, or $150 a month for a “lifetime” subscription. Finally, you’ll need a Roku, Chromecast, or Apple TV to stream to your television.
We get that guides don’t assemble themselves, and it’s not necessary to operate the Tablo. You can just enter the data manually. But by the same token, though, that drives the overall price of the Tablo from $210 or so to $500 or more, and that has to raise an eyebrow or two.
TV Watching Solved
That said, that is what you’d pay for if you got a DVR with similar features, and if you don’t have Aereo in your area, this might be your best option. Just keep in mind what you’ve got to bring to the party to make the fun happen.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.