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Summary:

What if you could ditch cable, but keep the ability to record shows on a DVR? Tablo wants to make that a reality with a new DVR for cord cutters.

tablo tv featured

Tablo wants to offer cord cutters a DVR that records free HD TV, and then streams it to iPads and other mobile devices. The device hasn’t launched yet, but co-founder Grant Hall stopped by our office to give us a first look.

Show notes for this episode:

Are you looking for a DVR to help you cut the cord? If so, what does such a device need to offer? Tell us all about it in the comments below, get in touch with us on Twitter (@cordcutters) or email us at cordcutters @ gigaom.com. Also, please check out our Google+ Cord Cutters community!

  1. What I want: a box that takes the coaxial signal from the antenna and turns it into an ethernet stream for any device in the house, with the Chromecast and Roku being the most important. Wifi and a hard drive are not necessary. A programming guide is not necessary. It’s also important to me that the stream is not noticeably compressed.

    I understand others have needs beyond that, but if you can sell that at a decent price I’d definitely buy. Right now the antenna connects directly to one TV and that’s it. The only thing we use the antenna for is football and other live events. Every other solution I’ve looked at is too expensive, convoluted, or compressed for my taste.

    Antenna to Chromecast box at $99. Go!

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    1. This already exists. The Silicondust HDHomerun:

      http://www.silicondust.com/products/models/hdhr4-2us/

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      1. One: that version is not actually released yet. Two: I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure it involves a computer as an intermediary. Three: no mention of Roku or Chromecast on sales page. And Chromecast definitely doesn’t do DLNA.

        I’m not saying it won’t work, I’ve been hoping that it will, but until I see a review that says, “It works just like this, and works well” there’s no reason to wave the victory flag. Based on reviewing HDHomerun’s previous offerings, they seem to think everyone wants to sit in front of their PC and watch TV, so we’ll just have to see. I mean, they don’t even offer a native Android app. They literally did not think having an Android app for watching live video or recordings was essential to their offering. Just saying.

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        1. There are multiple versions of the HDHomeruns already released. I have one that uses Cablecards for encrypted/paid channels.

          No intermediate computer is required. Just a viewer (iOS, Mac, PC, Android – anything)

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        2. The SimpleTV version (in version 2 of their hardware they’re using SiliconDust’s tuner for the hardware and they’re providing the DVR software) will definitely work on Roku.

          https://www.simple.tv/#bigscreen

          The reason no one is developing for Chromecast is that Google hasn’t released an API kit and they’re keeping it locked down for now. If they’d just open it up, there would be tons of great apps for it.

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  2. Is it legal? How do content owners get monetized?

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    1. Sure, it’s legal to record TV that’s available through an antenna. Networks monetize broadcast TV through ads.

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  3. A completely subscription-free way to record content from the antenna and play it on the TV. If there’s a monthly fee involved I have zero interest.

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    1. As much as I understand that notion, one should understand that it’s hard for these companies to make money just with hardware sales. And in order for DVRs to work properly, you need access toEPG data, which costs money as well…

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      1. birminghamforsale Tuesday, December 3, 2013

        As far as access to EPG data, does MS pay for access for its WMC and just eat the costs or is it accessing a free source? If the latter, why couldn’t other DVR manufacturers access the same free source? I don’t mind paying a little for the EPG, but, frankly, as long as I can get WMC to work on my PC to schedule and record OTA TV, MCEBuddy to automatically convert it to mp4 and rename it to SeriesName-S#E#-EpisodeName, and Plex, PlayOn’s My Media and/or iTunes to stream it to a set top box, I honestly don’t see why I would want to pay for additional hardware and an ongoing EPG subscription. These solutions all seem to expensive to me given the computer-based alternative. Frankly, you can use an older PC that you’d otherwise sell for chump change to act as the server. Explain to me why I would go the Simple.TV or Tablo route instead.

        Thanks. Love your show.

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  4. Do you know if there’s a plan to integrate Netflix, Hulu, Amazon into the box?

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  5. It’s really easy to build your own DVR for HDTV on Windows now to do what the Tablo does and a whole lot more with XBMC. My guide gives complete instructions using the SiliconDust HDHomeRun tuner:

    http://montgomery1.com/htpc/

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  6. I would like to see a proper review. So far I havent seen any video showing the EPG or interface on a tv. In other words the 10ft interface. Or the remote. Don’t get me wrong. The app looks great but who wants to keep looking down on a screen to change a channel?

    Also does does it work without a subscription? OTA signals contain EPG data it’s only 7hrs worth for most stations but still. If the answer is yes does it require an internet connection.

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    1. This is a network DVR, meaning that it doesn’t plug into your TV, but streams to devices on your network. And as such, there is no remote — the tablet is your remote, if you will. That being said, I’ll be doing a full review as soon as I get access to a unit, which will hopefully be soon.

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      1. That’s pretty dissapointing. Anyways looking forward to your full review.

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