There are two kinds of people in this world... ‘Neat’ DVR users who record, watch, then delete shows immediately so there’s always room for new recordings. These are the same people who know what it's like to have zero emails in their inbox...
Then there are TV ‘hoarders’ who keep e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g on their DVR, and love to archive entire seasons of TV.
The good news is that with Tablo, whether you’re super tidy, or messier than a teenager, we support the amount of DVR recording storage you need.
Tablo Storage Options
The Tablo DUAL OTA DVR is the only Tablo that includes onboard storage. Its 64GB capacity - about 40 hours of HD recording – should be more than enough to satisfy DVR neat freaks.
However, TV hoarders can still get all the space they want by connecting a compatible USB hard drive (up to 8 TB capacity) to Tablo DUAL.
Tablo DUAL LITE and 4-Tuner OTA DVRs do not offer any onboard recording storage and require a compatible USB hard drive (again up to 8TB) to be connected for both for watching live TV and recording.
(Tablo DUAL LITE also supports Tablo's Cloud DVR storage service which is currently in beta.)
How Much Space Does Tablo Need for a Recording?
The amount of storage needed for a recording depends on the Max Recording Quality setting you’ve selected for your Tablo.
Depending on the setting you choose, you’ll use between 2 and 4 Gigabytes per hour (GB/hr) of hard drive space. (Check out the table below for details.)
Cord Cutters using smaller drives or Tablo DUAL’s onboard storage should set their Max Recording Quality to the HD 720 - 3 Mbps setting for the best ratio of picture quality to required storage space.
Cord Cutters using larger drives don’t have to be as concerned, given that a 1 TB drive can store between 250 and 500 hours of HD programming -- enough for every single episode of the Simpsons -- while an 8 TB drive can store as much as 4000 hours which equals 166 straight days of TV!
Talk about a hoarder’s paradise!
Tablo Compatible USB Hard Drives
Tablo OTA DVRs support USB hard drives with either USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 connections. That said, USB 3.0 drives and solid state drives don’t offer any speed or performance benefits so it’s not necessary to shell out extra cash for those features.
We recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives for use with your Tablo OTA DVR, but most other brands/models are compatible.
If you’re considering an alternate model of hard drive, be sure to check out the reviews and avoid drives with reported problems like frequent disconnects which can cause failed recordings.
Non-Compatible Forms of Storage to Avoid
Tablo OTA DVRs do NOT support USB Flash Drives (aka sticks) or Network Attached Storage (NAS). That’s because their read/write speeds are too variable for recording live video.
Also, Tablo does NOT support third-party internal hard drives placed in external enclosures as they can cause frequent USB disconnects and communication issues.
Additional Reading on Tablo Recording and Storage:
News: The Tablo OTA DVR Product Family is Growing – Meet Tablo DUAL!
Blog: One Size Doesn’t Fit All: Choosing the Right Tablo Recording Quality
Support FAQ: How much space does Tablo require to record a program?
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