Review: Tablo Brings OTA DVR To Xbox One Cord Cutters
Cord-cutting-minded gamers rejoice. The Tablo Over The Air (OTA) HDTV DVR is now available for use through an app on the Xbox One.
Video gamers looking to do away with their cable, satellite or telco TV service have for the past couple of years had the option of grabbing a Tablo TV box designed to tune and record free HD broadcast stations and store programming to an attached hard drive or USB storage device, provided they had a compatible streaming device or smart TV.
But to attach the device to the TV required a smart app on the smart TV platform or a third-party media adapter, like a Roku box, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast or Apple TV device. No gaming consoles.
On Tuesday, Nuvyyo, maker of the Tablo OTA HDTV DVR, revealed that cord cutting wannabes using the Xbox One video game console can now use the Tablo app and interface to play their OTA DVR recordings as well.
Starting today, Tablo customers will be able to download the free Tablo app from the Xbox App Store, Nuvyyo announced. The Tablo device will let viewers find, record and stream both live and recorded broadcast television programs on their TVs through a connection to the Xbox One.
Read more on the Xbox One Tablo TV connection after the jump:
The union with Tablo and the Xbox, offers an alternative for Xbox One users waiting for an option to tune and record OTA broadcasts via the gaming console. Those gamers were left disappointed after Microsoft dropped plans for its alternative system.
“Many cord cutters were left without an OTA DVR option for their gaming system of choice when Microsoft put their project plans on hold,” explained Grant Hall, CEO at Nuvyyo, the makers of Tablo. “We are excited to provide the gaming community with a Tablo App for Xbox One, bringing us even closer to our goal of becoming the universal app for live TV and recorded broadcast programs on all your favorite devices.”
The Tablo OTA DVR attaches to a Wi-Fi router instead of a TV, enabling Xbox One users to view live news, sports and network broadcast programs in Full HD using the Tablo App on the same device and controller they use for gameplay, local media playback and streaming services, Nuvyyo said.
Version 1.0 of the Tablo App for Xbox will present most of Tablo’s screens and features including playback of Live TV and recordings, Netflix-style TV guides for broadcast content search, and the ability to pause and rewind Live TV, use preview-enabled fast-forwarding, commercial skipping, and other DVR features.
Additional filters and features will be added via app updates in the coming months, the company said.
The new app will also be compatible with PCs running the Windows 10 Anniversary Edition operating system.
The Tablo DVR provides a whole house recording system for free OTA digital broadcasts, but like any TV tuner, the ability to receive signals is dependent on the strength of that signal in your local area. If you live in a major urban area or nearby suburban neighborhood, you might be able to receive OTA broadcasts using a simple indoor antenna (known in the old days as rabbit ears).
If you are in a more rural, outlying area about 65 miles or so from a transmitter, you might not be able to receive a signal (or use the Tablo). However, even in these areas, options might be available using a very tall antenna mast, a large, sensitive VHF/UHF antenna, an antenna power booster and/or a mast rotor to position the antenna to get the best reception.
To find out which channels are available where you live, check out OTA broadcast sites like www.tvfool.com or the www.tablotv.com web site.The Tablo device will record up to four shows simultaneously and will allow up to six users to access programs on different devices at a time. Tablo TV is offered in two versions, including two tuners ($180.99) or four tuners ($249) and connects to the television via a Wi-Fi router, enabling multiple connected TVs and mobile devices to share the Tablo at one time, each device requiring installation of the Tablo app to control and access content.
The Tablo box does not include a traditional HDMI wired input connection, opting for the Wi-Fi connection to the router. The only included inputs are: an Ethernet jack for wired broadband connections, power connection, antenna connection and two USB 3.0 inputs to connect to an outboard hard drive for recording. Nuvyyo recommends a Western Digital USB 3.0 hard drive for best results.
To use the scheduled program guide listing service, viewers can register for a subscription running $4.99 per month, $49.99 per year or $149.99 for a one-time lifetime fee. This will keep new programming data being updated in the on-screen programming guide. The service will provide live TV data to the on-screen guide 14 days in advance. The guide also provides a smart recording feature that will record all programs in a series with the ability to winnow that down to a particular season or only new episodes.
Users are not required to subscribe to the service to use the Tablo, but the guide offers a level of convenience and user-friendliness that most people will find indispensable.
The Tablo will allow users to make OTA TV program recordings to skip commercials; schedule recordings from anywhere; manage existing recordings, record up to four shows at one time (depending on the Table version purchased); watch on up to six devices at a time, watch on PC/Mac computers via browser, watch on iPhone/Android smartphone via Tablo app; stream live and recorded shows anywhere, and stream to TV via Amazon Fire TV/Android TV/AppleTV/Roku/Chromecast, iPad or Android tablet app interfaces.
The Tablo TV has long been one of the best options available for those looking to cut the cord, or reduce their satellite TV bills by eliminating local station surcharges, but now with the access via the Xbox One the door is open to a legion of gamers and Xbox-loving Millennials looking for an alternative option to pay TV in the college dorm or their first apartment without having to buy an adapter or compatible smart TV.
Others will find the ability of the Tablo to record and view live OTA TV from a tablet or smartphone on the go anywhere, a great convenience, especially for watching out-of-market sporting events when traveling.
Tablo TV is a brilliant solution to paying ever escalating pay-TV fees. The multi-channel TV service industry might ultimately barely notice a thing in the long run, but clearly their business paradigm is being disrupted and consumers are finally getting a choice through devices like Tablo.
We therefore award Tablo (and Tablo TV via Xbox One) 4.5 out of 5 hearts.
By Greg Tarr
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