Tablo vs. HDHomerun

In short, I can’t decide between the two. I’m looking for something easy to use, without a monthly fee, with an on-screen guide, to be used with Apple products. Having a native or decent 3rd party AppleTV app is important (I’m not interested in Airplay). I believe I’d have to use the Channels app with the HDHomerun, which is $25. I’m okay with that as long as it’s worth it.

I don’t DVR much at all so I’m less concerned with that, but if I changed my mind in the future, I think Tablo would be the easiest because it uses USB storage. But I’ve read the Tablo can be kind of slow at switching between channels and the quality isn’t as good, which could be a deal breaker.

– Edit – Thanks for all the feedback. Decided on a refurbed 2x tuner HDHomeRun from Amazon. It was $70 but I’m 99.9% sure it was brand new (came in a sealed box and looks flawless). Got it today thanks to same-day shipping and also bought the Channels app for AppleTV and so far so good. I didn’t like the InstaTV app at all. Picture quality and the overall service are just what I wanted and loading channels is similar to loading channels with streaming TV like YoutTubeTV.

9 Replies to “Tablo vs. HDHomerun”

  1. I also have both the HDhomerun and the Tablo, both 4-tuner models. A few things about the HDhomerun that I don’t like. First off, the speed on the network is determined by the resolution of the station, so if you’re watching an HD station, your home network has to be capable of a goodly streaming speed. The HDhomerun streams raw MPEG2 video, so has more stringent streaming bandwidth requirements. Also, we’re using Roku’s, no Roku app. I tried out the HDhomerun with NVIDIA Shield’s and the Live Channels app, and was really put off by the quality of the assoicated software. That’s not an issue for you since you’re using an Apple streaming box, don’t know how the HDhomerun with the Channels app is on Apple TV. The other thing that I don’t like is that in order to share recordings between TV’s, you have to have a NAS box (shared storage). Don’t want another expensive piece of hardware to support here.

    The Tablo allows adding a disk to it for storing DVR recordings, so don’t need a NAS box. The Tablo itself is shared, so is the disk attached to it. It also has variable streaming speed…you can set that according to the quality that you want and the streaming speed that your network can support. The video stream on your home network is transcoded by the Tablo, so it’s more bandwidth efficient. After comparing the video quality with the HDhomerun, I can’t really see a difference, both are really excellent. Never been bothered by the time it takes to change channels, but that might be a factor for you. The HDhomerun does take slightly less time to switch channels. Also, the Tablo app is much better, as well as running on the Roku. Very easy to use. The audio on the Tablo is lower level, so I have to turn up the volume on my TV for that, but again, haven’t found that to be a problem.

    I really do like the Tablo over the HDhomerun, right choice for me.

  2. Have HDHR and Channels, HDHR is great with my MoHu Leaf, get all available channels in my area (though that is only 6, lol). Channels is connected to my NAS (PVR) and have been flawless once set up (had a few background setting on the NAS that were at issue). There is lag in channel surfing but I think that’s par for the course. All in all would recommend.

  3. I have Tablo and love it. It’s not as slow as some people think in changing channels. It is also more compatible with various devices like Roku, which HD Home run doesn’t support the last time I checked – it’s been a while.

  4. Are you looking for a standalone device or something to use with a Media Center PC? I use an HDHomerun with Plex on a MCP and it’s exactly what I wanted. I have a large USB Hard Drive connected and it records to it just fine. If you’re looking for standalone though, sorry, my suggestion wouldn’t help.

  5. I use the Channels app with my apple tv. I have three HDHomerun devices that record to my WD MyCloud P2100. i have not encountered any problems whatsoever. for me the apple tv has worked great with the channels app. I have not noticed any lag when skipping channels. I find the channels load quickly. i love the apple tv remote has it forwards and rewinds with just a click. I like the overall interface. there is a monthly fee for DVR use but i don’t mind paying it. also has apps for iOS and android if you would want to watch on your phone. I know most people don’t care about this but i use it alot for the way i watch tv as sometimes i watch my recordings from work as the Channels app allows for remote viewing and setting recordings.

  6. Given those criteria, I’d probably go with the HDHomeRun. It provides the better live TV experience.

    If you decide to add DVR capabilities later, there are a multitude of ways to go about it, from HDHomeRun’s in-house product (which runs on a lot of devices, including the Nvidia Shield and inexpensive home NAS devices like WD MyCloud) to media servers like Plex and Emby (both of which can also run on the Shield) to dedicated DVR programs like NextPVR.

  7. I run both. Tablo on its own (obviously) and HDHomerun through my Plex server. The Tablo is better at pulling a signal than the HDHomerun so it is barely used now. I refuse to pay for any of their services since what’s broadcast nowadays isn’t worth it.

  8. I tried Tablo and returned it because if the things you mentioned. Have hdhomerun and happy. I will admit the Tablo interface is much better.

  9. Been using Tablo (older 4 tuner model) with AppleTV4 since the Tablo app launched (right after ATV4 came out). So, ~3 years…

    The Tablo does not need Guide service if you do limited recording. You get 2 days of guide content (with or without the subscription) and can schedule anything in this window. The Guide service is really convenient for series recording, as well as a more feature rich guide like TV, Movies, Sports categories. I had issues with the device when I had a portable USB drive connected, so I dropped a 250GB desktop USB drive in and no problems since. Apparently, the unit does not function well without a drive attached, and portables tend to go to sleep. Their 2 tuner “lite” model has SSD built in (64GB), so no issues if you go this route. The new QUAD model adds 1Gbps ethernet and 5GHz AC WiFi, allows you to drop a SATA hard drive into the unit, so no need for USB. They are also about to launch a commercial skip feature within the next few months (requires Guide subscription).

    I have never had issues with streaming, we run 2 connections to Tablo simultaneously most of the time, sometimes 3. We can stream live and DVR content to out iOS devices, Macs, Roku, and ATVs. The video quality is excellent, I set mine to stream and record at 1080p, all of my gear is wired to my network so it can handle the full bandwidth.

    Channel switching is a bit slower than cable TV, but I only notice it after seeing posts that mention it. Tablo has a way to quickly switch between shows, (say watching 2 games), the tuner changes streams pretty rapidly in this case.

    Unlike cable, when you go into the guide, streams pause. But, I browse the guide on my phone when I want to continue watching something.

    Tablo guide service is monthly, annual, or lifetime. I am on annual, I have paid twice for annual, and regretting not having bought the lifetime sub (converting costs the full $150). When updates some out, the guide subscriber get it first, eventually all devices will get the upgrades (I recall). They do give you 30 days of full guide service when you first register a device, so you can try before buying. I went about 6-9 months before I bought guide service, can’t imagine not having it now that commercial skip is coming out.

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