Is Tablo right for you? You've heard the buzz and read the expert reviews, but sometimes it helps to hear the whole story from real Tablo customers to know if this is the right solution for you. Our latest blog series, "How I Cut the Cord with Tablo" features Q&A style interviews with our Tablo OTA DVR customers, focusing on how they've cut the cord on cable to save money while enjoying a whole-home DVR experience using Tablo. Whether you're still on the fence about cutting the cord or you're just looking for tips and tricks on how to improve your cord-cutting setup, we hope you'll find these cord-cutting success stories helpful.
How I Cut the Cord with Tablo – By Di, The Cruising Cord Cutter
Why did you cut the cord? How much money are you saving each month?
There was a posting on a friend’s facebook page, that she had done away with her cable TV and replaced it with Roku, due to poor customer support from her cable provider. I too had frustration and angst when dealing with this same provider.
My interest was piqued by this Roku device that she was using to replace cable TV, so my sweetie Paul and I started our cord cutting home project.
While researching Roku we came across how people were integrating their streaming experience with over-the-air (OTA) TV, and using a DVR to record and watch shows. This was a major game changer for us, as we preferred watching TV shows on our own schedule and fast forwarding through commercials. Thus began our deep dive into cord cutting.
After reading reviews and watching YouTube product information on OTA DVRs, it became clear to us, the combination of Tablo and Roku was the right choice for us.
Next, we started researching and testing antennas and placement locations in our home. When we saw how clear the quality of OTA television was, we realized that this was not the “days of old” rabbit ear antenna TV viewing. We were amazed at how much better the high definition (HD) OTA picture was versus cable broadcasts.
Once we knew we could get strong OTA transmissions, we placed our orders for the Tablo (4-tuner) and several Roku3s.
It took a little over a month to finally cut the cord. By then, we had tested* and selected our antenna (GE Attic Mount), installed it in the attic, and had our Tablo connected and distributed to the Roku3s attached to our TVs.
*We tested Mohu Leaf, AmazonBasics Ultra-Thin, Terrestrial Digital DB8 and GE Attic Mount antennas and found GE’s little stunted Yagi type antenna with an inline pre-amp from Radio Shack, worked best for our location. Even better, it was inexpensive, stable, and compact. It fit well in our limited attic space.
On July 26, 2014 we officially became cord cutters when we dropped off the cable TV hardware and cancelled our subscription. Our savings are about $110/month. Within 6 months those savings paid for our initial outlay on our entertainment hardware purchases.
What do you get with an HDTV antenna that you couldn’t get another way?
Free. Did I say Free? I meant FREE HD (1080p) quality TV! We are fortunate to live in an urban area with a clear line-of-sight to the broadcasting towers, providing us with over 80 full strength OTA channels. We configured Tablo to show us about 35 of these channels. We are able to view all the major networks: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW, PBS and more…and it is HD quality FREE TV. There is more to view and record than we’ll ever be able to watch.
Why did you choose the Tablo OTA DVR as part of your home entertainment arsenal?
It was an easy decision for us. Being able to have one antenna and one Tablo device, that feed multiple TVs, phones, notebooks and computers meant Tablo was the only choice. The other brands would have required one device for each TV and additional subscription fees per device. This reminded us too much of our swelling cable TV bill.
What’s been the best thing about using/having Tablo so far?
The best thing about having Tablo is the monthly cost savings.
Another plus for having Tablo is lower frustration and tension levels from not having to deal with the cable TV provider’s poor customer service.
In addition, Tablo provides HD quality viewing, the capability to pause, fast forward and rewind programming, plus an active and pleasant Tablo Support team and Forum.
And I can’t forget to mention Tablo Connect! For a lark, we tested Tablo Connect (the out-of-home streaming feature) on our cruise this year. The ship had upgraded their network and advertised speeds of 4.0 Mbps, for streaming movies. Tablo Connect worked like a champ and the viewing quality was impressive. We had used it before on our travels, where WiFi was available, but never on a cruise ship because there wasn’t enough bandwidth. The Tablo Connect feature is an added bonus for travelers with access to internet.
What other services and tools do you use to watch TV/Video content and why?
We use Roku3 on our TVs. We like the easy-to-use remote with headphone capabilities.
We also use standard services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, and Watch ESPN (ESPN3). Netflix offers a wide range of programming, including British television. It’s great for getting up to speed on shows that we started watching in later seasons. Amazon Prime offers current season shows that are on cable channels. We have purchased a season pass for one of our favorite shows on TNT. We use ESPN3 to watch tennis and recaps of other sports. It was great to watch the Australian Open.
We also purchased the NBA Game Time League Pass (after the trial period) and we thoroughly enjoyed watching basketball not aired on local channels. The app was a little quirky with delayed responses, but once we had a little more patience and learned how to use the app, we found we could watch a lot of NBA games. The app has an option to watch archived games which includes full game video, condensed games or game recaps. Sports fix - check!
Cutting the cord doesn’t mean giving up NFL either, especially if you have OTA. We watched/recorded a lot of our favorite team’s televised games on Tablo.
What advice do you have for others thinking of cutting the cord?
Ensure that your network is up-to-date, which includes modems, routers, amplifiers (distribution points) and cables. Then verify that you can receive OTA TV signals at your address and add a good quality antenna. There are websites out there that are dedicated to helping you determine if your region has broadcast transmissions, and if so, help you find the right antenna configuration for your home. It makes the transition to cutting the cord so much easier when you can have OTA TV and Tablo to supplement streaming content.
You also need to be ready to watch TV in a different manner than what we have been taught by the cable/satellite companies. When we made decision to cut the cord, we knew our TV viewing patterns would be different. But, having been through the era of transitioning from Over-the-Air to cable TV, we knew cutting the cord was doable for us. Even with cable, we rarely watched television in real time. We were already time shifting our viewing, so watching a show the next day or so was no biggie for us. It takes a lot less time to watch a program with no commercials. Tablo (with its multiple tuners) made this cord cutting process less dramatic. We can watch our favorite shows and sports when we are ready to watch and where we want to watch them.
Another helpful tip is to find out if your cable internet package provides access passwords for streams of cable TV channels. For example, we are able to watch ESPN3 through our Roku at no additional cost over our internet bill.
Be willing to try and test new streaming packages that come on the market. Most offer a free trial period and are monthly, so you can opt out if you’re not getting what you want. Our motto is to buy by the drink. We only pay for what we consume. This has made a big difference in our savings.
If you're already enjoying your Tablo OTA DVR, remember to post a review of your DVR on the online store where you purchased your unit and let your fellow cord-cutters know how Tablo works for you.If you'd like to participate in the 'How I cut the cord with Tablo' blog series, drop us a line at email@example.com. We'd love to hear your story.
Sign up for Tablo's Cord Cutting This Week newsletter to get the latest cord cutting industry news including updates on Over-the-Air TV shows, streaming services, set-top-boxes, gadgets, and more delivered straight to your inbox!