Full Disclosure – I bought a Tablo DVR – I did not get a promotional one so that I could do a review. I did not ask for a promotional one because if it turned out to be a piece of junk I would have told you so and so I figure by buying it I am staying open and honest with you. I was very reluctant about getting a DVR for my OTA recordings because I did not think I was missing that much. Also I reviewed all the other OVA DVR’s on the market and I could not see the benefit and they all seemed like a hassle to use. However I came across the Tablo while doing some research and thought I would give it a try. To be honest at first it did not make much sense because it does not plug directly into my TV via HDMI so I was confused as to how one would use it. Then after getting one and using it – it all made sense. The way it works is that you use your iPhone or iPad or Android device, (or Web Browser), and you connect via your home network. If you want you can watch TV on your iPad sitting in bed, or play it on your TV via your Apple TV (you just use AirPlay). The Tablo can connect via Chormecast, Roku and a ton of other ways – don’t sweat that part – they have it all covered.
But that is not what is cool about Tablo – the cool thing is that it has integrated show guides and gives you a full TV Times / TV Guide built in. There is no programming in channels on your end and messing around. At a glance you can see all the Prime Time shows that are coming up or all the Movies that will be broadcasted and you can simply set to record them. For TV shows you can record all shows or just the new ones – you just set it and leave it. To store all of your TV show you have to hook up an external USB drive – I bought one from BestBuy.ca for around $100 and I get 2 TB of storage and I am told that is an insane amount of storage for TV shows to store. If you have ever used the Rogers Digital Box/DVR – (Scientific Atlanta) – you would be accustomed to a horrible user interface and very limited amount of storage space. That is the complete opposite with the TabloTV – the user interface is very straightforward, setup is super easy, and it is visually pleasing to browse through all of the upcoming shows.
I bought my Tablo directly from Tablo (click HERE) (NOTE: I chose to get a refurbished one for slightly cheaper than brand new and are they same thing with the same warranty). Brand new they are $249.99 and re-furbished they are $199.99. The TV Guide functionality is free for the first 30 days and they have plans for month to month, yearly, or for a lifetime subscription.
OK so right about now you are probably saying – hmmmm I don’t know – $249.99 for Tablo and then $100.00 for the external USB drive and then $5 a month for TV Guide – it seems like a scam and not worth it. I hear ya and I would have felt the same way – the difference is I have gone for a year without one of these things and there have been a few times I wish I could have easily recorded shows like the Daily Show or Modern Family or the CBC new series Shitts Creek or the Hockey Game – but I could not. Now it is easy and now I own the hardware and I am good to go – feeling pretty good about it all.