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Best Streaming Devices to Use with Tablo OTA DVRs in 2023


This article discusses which of the Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV and Android TV streaming devices and sticks are compatible with which types of Tablo OTA DVRs? Which platforms are best for your streaming needs in 2023? Which are worth the upgrade if you already have a streaming box, stick, or Smart TV?

Keep reading to find out…

Roku Streaming Players: TABLO ROKU 2023

Over half of Tablo DVR customers use Roku as their primary streaming platform.

Why? They make simple and affordable streaming devices and support a wide variety of TV streaming apps.

  • Notable Updates
    • The low-end Roku Express finally got upgraded to dual-band Wi-Fi to improve connectivity, but with no 4K support and very few bells and whistles, it’s still worth spending more to upgrade.
    • The Roku Ultra also got bundled with a new rechargeable remote with hands-free voice control, but the box itself hasn’t changed.
    • More recently Roku announced its own line of Smart TVs and has started selling home security cameras and doorbells which you can view through Roku streaming devices and Smart TVs.
  • Things to Keep in Mind
    • Roku Ultras are the lowest-priced streaming devices with onboard ethernet connections.
  • Tablo Compatibility with Roku
    • All current-generation Roku streaming boxes, sticks and soundbar combos (running Roku OS 11.5+) are compatible with all network-connected Tablo OTA DVRs.
    • Roku Ultra and Roku Ultra LT are recommended for and compatible with Tablo DUAL HDMI and Tablo QUAD HDMI TV-connected Tablo DVRs.
    • If you have a ‘numbered Roku’ (i.e., Roku 1, 2, 3, or 4) or an even older model, you are due for an upgrade.
  • Roku Devices We Recommend
    • TOP PICK – Roku Ultra (2022)
      You can’t go wrong with the top-of-the-line. With good quality Wi-Fi and optional Ethernet connectivity as well as a cool rechargeable remote with programmable quick-launch buttons and a ‘find my remote’ feature make this your best bet.
    • BUDGET PICK — Roku Streaming Stick 4K/Streaming Stick 4K+ (2021)
      It doesn’t have the speed of the higher-priced options, but it has better Wi-Fi than lower-end models like the Express. And, if you spring for the 4K+ you’ll get the same fancy remote that comes with the Roku Ultra.

Amazon Fire TV Streaming Devices: TABLO AMAZON FIRE TV 2023

Amazon Fire TV is the next most popular streaming platform with Tablo DVR users and cord cutters in general. Like most Amazon hardware, the pricing is excellent and the devices are solid.

  • Notable Updates
    • Amazon recently updated the Fire TV Cube. The third generation of the device not only changes the look but has a faster processor and the best Wi-Fi chip of any streaming device on the market. It also has a new optional built-in Ethernet connection and an HDMI in port for controlling other devices through the Cube.
    • The new Alexa Voice Remote Pro can be bundled with the new 3rd Gen Cube for some extra cash or be used with previous Fire TV devices. It borrows popular features from other remotes on the market including backlight technology, ‘find my remote’ and programmable quick launch buttons.
  • Things to Keep in Mind
  • Tablo Compatibility with Amazon Fire TV
    • All current Amazon Fire TV streaming boxes and sticks are compatible with all network-connected Tablo OTA DVRs.
    • 2nd or 3rd generation Amazon Fire TV Cubes are recommended for and compatible with Tablo DUAL HDMI and Tablo QUAD HDMI TV-connected Tablo DVRs.
    • If your Fire TV device came out before 2017, you are due for an upgrade. The hardware and remote options have improved significantly in the last few years. You may even be eligible for their trade-in program.
  • Amazon Fire TV Devices We Recommend
    • TOP PICK (TIED) – Amazon Fire TV Cube (3rd generation)
      The performance boost and built-in Ethernet will ensure it will stay speedy for many years.
    • TOP PICK (TIED) – Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K MAX
      This stick isn’t quite as fast as the Fire TV Cube, but it’s got excellent performance for that form factor.
    • BUDGET PICK – Amazon Fire TV Stick (3rd generation)
      The 2020 model Fire TV stick doesn’t support 4K but has TV and volume controls. Those extra buttons are worth it, so choose this version over the LITE.

Apple TV Streaming Devices: TABLO APPLE TV 2023

While it’s not as popular as Roku or Amazon Fire TV, Apple does make solid hardware and is trying to boost its market share with new lower prices.

  • Notable Updates
  • Things to Keep in Mind
  • Tablo Compatibility with Apple TV
  • Apple TV Devices We Recommend
    • TOP PICK – Apple TV 4K 128GB (3rd generation)
      We recommend getting the 2022 version with additional storage just for the flexibility of the onboard Ethernet connection.
    • NEXT BEST – Apple TV 4K 64GB (3rd generation)
      If you really can’t spare an extra $50, the Apple TV 4K with 64GB of storage will still work well for the average TV fan if you’ve got a solid Wi-Fi network.
      While prices have come down, this still isn’t the platform for penny pinchers.

Android TV Streaming Devices: TABLO ANDROID TV 2023

Android TV has been gaining popularity with streaming TV fans in recent years.

  • Notable Updates
  • Things to Keep in Mind
    • ‘Google TV’ is just Android TV with a different look and feel, so devices like the Chromecast with Google TV will be compatible with any TV-based apps on the Google Play store.
    • While NVIDIA hasn’t updated the hardware on its Shield product line in some time, these devices are still quite powerful and a worthwhile purchase.
    • Avoid other/generic streaming boxes that run the mobile version of Android instead of the TV-based version as they’ll be crippled by compatibility and usability issues.
  • Tablo Compatibility with Android TV
    • All versions of the NVIDIA SHIELD and the Chromecast with Google TV are compatible with all network-connected Tablo DVRs.
    • The NVIDIA SHIELD PRO or TV ‘stick’ and Chromecast with Google TV are recommended for and compatible with the Tablo DUAL HDMI and Tablo QUAD HDMI TV-connected Tablo DVRs.
  • Android TV Devices We Recommend
      The SHIELD PRO box is still a powerful and incredibly flexible streaming device which still makes it worth the premium price.
    • NEXT BEST (TIED) – NVIDIA SHIELD TV ‘stick’ (2019)
      Don’t need extra USB ports for things like storage? Grab the 2019 NVIDIA SHIELD ‘stick’ which is the only streamer of this form factor with built-in Ethernet connectivity. Its excellent specs should give it twice the lifetime of the average streaming stick.
    • NEXT BEST (TIED)/BUDGET PICK – Chromecast with Google TV 4K
      Unlike older Chromecast devices, Chromecast with Google TV is a true streaming device with its own remote, capable of running Android TV apps. A fraction of the price of an NVIDIA SHIELD, it’s a great alternative for those seeking a more affordable yet capable choice.

When Should I Upgrade?

If your current streaming TV player is more than 5 years old and especially if it wasn’t top-of-the-line then, it’s probably time for you to upgrade.

As apps get more complex and power-hungry, streaming TV fans can experience sluggish menu navigation, disabled app features, or even a complete lack of compatibility when using older devices with lower memory, slower processors and slower Wi-Fi connectivity.

Smart TV vs. Streaming Stick or Box:


While it can be handy to have a television with a streaming platform built-in, not all Smart TV platforms are created equal.

No matter who manufactures the television, Smart TVs built on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or Android TV platforms should behave almost identically to their stand-alone streaming device cousins. (At least until the ‘smarts’ start to age and slow down.)

Samsung, LG and Vizio Smart TVs all have their own non-standard app stores. This can result in spotty app support and sometimes a poorer in-app experience than you’d enjoy with a stand-alone or more mainstream dedicated streaming platform.

If your Smart TV has a non-standard app store or is more than 5 years old, you may wish to connect one of the streaming devices recommended above for a better cord cutting experience.

What About Chromecast or AirPlay?

While network-connected Tablo DVRs do support casting from Tablo’s Android mobile and web-based apps to the original Chromecast dongle (not to be confused with the new Chromecast with Google TV) and AirPlay from iOS mobile devices to AirPlay-supported devices, it’s not a setup that we recommend.

Why? While Chromecast and AirPlay are great for sharing photos or casting a quick YouTube video to your television, a dedicated streaming device will be far superior as a ‘primary’ solution.

Not only is using your smartphone as a remote cumbersome, but it can drain your battery and it isn’t practical for those with sticky-fingered toddlers.

Have a question about a streaming media device or its compatibility with your Tablo OTA DVR that isn’t covered here?

Reach out to us via Facebook or Twitter, or check out some of the related posts below:

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How to restart your phone/tablet

Sometimes, just restarting your smartphone or tablet can clear up issues with apps. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone

Android smartphones 

Most Android smartphones and tablets can be restarted by holding the POWER button and then selecting RESTART or POWER OFF and RESTART from the POWER OPTIONS menu.

NOTE: Newer Samsung devices require you to hold the POWER/SIDE button and VOLUME DOWN to make the POWER OPTIONS menu appear. On the Google Pixel 6, hold the POWER and VOLUME UP buttons.

How to force close your Tablo app?

Sometimes, just restarting the app can fix things. The links below will provide detailed instructions on how to force close your Tablo app. 

Apple iPhone/iPad

Android smartphones/tablets 

Need help with the final steps?

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.  Follow the steps in the video below for a full walkthrough of the remaining parts of the Tablo setup process.

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