Updated June 1, 2022
Broadcasters across the US are slowly rolling out a new Over-the-Air broadcast standard called ATSC 3.0 or NextGen TV.
By this summer, 50% of households in the United States will be able to access at least a few OTA TV channels broadcast in ATSC 3.0… IF they have a device with an ATSC 3.0-compatible tuner.
And that’s why people keeping tabs on the voluntary transition to this bleeding-edge television technology have been asking when a compatible Tablo DVR will be announced.
And today we’re pleased to let those gung-ho folks know about our newest TV-connected Tablo Over-the-Air DVR… the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI.
Table Of Contents (Cause This Is a Long One...)
First, Let’s Talk About ATSC 3.0
The majority of Over-the-Air television today is still broadcast in ATSC 1.0, which has been the standard in North America since the digital transition that started in 2009.
But starting in 2017, television stations in the United States were given approval to broadcast in the new ATSC 3.0 standard… with one caveat. They must keep broadcasting the same programs in ATSC 1.0 for at least five years after they make the switch.
(If you’re wondering what happened to ATSC 2.0 or want to learn more about the NextGen TV standard, check out our blog series: What Cord Cutters Need to Know About ATSC 3.0.)
While you don’t need a new TV antenna to access ATSC 3.0 (aka NextGen TV) signals if they’re available in your area, you do need a newer television or other device with compatible tuner technology.
That’s because ATSC 3.0 allows broadcasters to offer leading-edge video and audio quality — including 4K HDR video and Dolby Atmos sound — even though those technologies aren’t being used in NextGen TV broadcasts today.
And that’s where the new Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI comes in.
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Same Great Tablo Interface, New Broadcast Standard
With ATSC 1.0 broadcasts still making up the bulk of Over-the-Air TV programming, and ATSC 3.0 still very much a work in progress, we wanted to make sure that the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI OTA DVR was flexible enough to see early-adopter cord cutters through the transition.
Unlike other ATSC 3.0 products currently on the market, all four of Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI’s tuners are hybrid, offering the ability to receive and decode audio and video from both ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 standards.
With this new Tablo, you won’t have to upgrade to a television with an ATSC 3.0 tuner to watch and record NextGen TV Over-the-Air TV broadcasts. The Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI connects directly to any modern TV via HDMI and provides the intuitive DVR interface Tablo OTA DVR owners know and love.
Using the ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI’s dedicated IR (infrared) remote, cord cutters can enjoy great Tablo OTA DVR features including a traditional live TV grid guide, one-touch series recording, and more.
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What’s Different About Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI
Aside from the four hybrid ATSC 1.0/3.0 tuners, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI does have other differences compared to previous Tablo OTA DVRs.
Brand new decoding software has been added to the very heart of most Tablo processes to support ATSC 3.0’s bleeding-edge audio and video codecs.
This guarantees that all video and audio content — including 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby AC-4 Surround Sound where available — will be passed through to the television connected to your Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI.
But this major change has some consequences.
First, due to technical limitations, including lack of Dolby AC-4 audio support on most streaming devices and Smart TVs, this is the first Tablo OTA DVR which can not stream content inside or outside the home. Viewing is limited to a single connected television.
At this time, support for Automatic Commercial Skip will be available on ATSC 1.0 recordings only. (Due to the planned sunsetting of Premium Service and Automatic Commercial Skip for new customers, this feature will no longer be available on the ATSC 3.0 Tablo when it ships.)
However, fast-forward preview frames will be available on completed recordings from both standards, so you can easily fast-forward through pesky ads, even on ATSC 3.0 recordings.
ATSC 3.0’s efficient video codecs do have a benefit to recoding storage space though. Recordings in the new broadcast standard require only about one quarter of the storage space on your hard drive (sold separately) as compared to MPEG-2 ATSC 1.0 recordings of similar resolution.
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Pricing & Availability
Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI OTA DVR is available for pre-order now exclusively at TabloTV.com at an MSRP of $299.99 US with an anticipated ship date of spring 2022.
(April 2022 Status Update: Due to evolving DRM broadcast requirements, the initial production run has been delayed.)
A pre-order deposit of $29.99 US is required to secure your ATSC 3.0 compatible DVR from the first production run, with the remainder due at shipping.
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(Almost*) Everything You Love About Tablo
Almost all the features and benefits that make Tablo OTA DVRs awesome haven't changed with the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI, including:
Firmware Updates and Support
All generations of Tablo OTA DVRs receive free regular firmware updates, as well as basic DVR functionality, including:
- 24 hours of TV Guide Data (traditional grid guide)
- Manual recording (one-time or recurring)
- Playback controls including pause, rewind, and fast-forward
- Support for Surround Sound passthrough
- Free in-house customer support
As the ATSC 3.0 standard continues to evolve, we are committed to ensuring the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI evolves along with it.
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Optional Tablo TV Guide Data Service
All Tablo OTA DVRs include a 30-day free trial of the Tablo TV Guide Data Service, which gives cord cutters total control over DVR scheduling and viewing. Along with episode and series synopses, cover art, and metadata for programs airing over the next two weeks, a Tablo TV Guide Data Service subscription provides powerful, and yet easy-to-use advanced DVR features like:
* The one thing the Tablo ATSC3.0 QUAD HDMI cannot do that the other TV-connected Tablo OTA DVR models can with an active TV Guide Data subscription, is stream live and recorded TV locally to secondary devices on the home network. This is because most streaming devices and Smart TVs are not compatible with the new video and audio formats of NextGen TV broadcasts.
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Have questions about the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI OTA DVR before or after you buy? We’ve answered A LOT of FAQs below, but if your question isn’t covered there, don’t hesitate to reach out via Facebook or Twitter or directly to our support team.
We’re always happy to help!
How do I know if ATSC 3.0 signals are broadcast in my area?
You can view a current and expected ATSC 3.0 deployment map here.
Is there any content broadcast in ATSC 3.0 that isn’t already broadcast in ATSC 1.0?
No. To our knowledge, ATSC 3.0 broadcasts contain the exact same programs available via ATSC 1.0 broadcasts at this time. Any broadcaster transitioning an existing station to ATSC 3.0 must continue to broadcast the same content via ATSC 1.0 for at least five years. However, because ATSC 3.0 does allow networks to broadcast more channels on a single frequency, it is possible that new subchannels could be broadcast via ATSC 3.0 only in the future.
Are all four of the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI’s tuners capable of receiving ATSC 3.0 signals?
Yes! All four of Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI’s hybrid tuners can receive and decode both the new ATSC 3.0 and current ATSC 1.0 broadcast standards. This means you can continue to enjoy live and recorded Over-the-Air TV via the same TV antenna and DVR hardware throughout the transition to NextGen TV.
Does the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI support 4K content?
Yes! While the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard allows for 4K video, current broadcasts are still delivered primarily in 720p or 1080p video quality. If future broadcasts do include 4K video, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI will be able to record and display 4K content.
Does the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI support HDR content?
Yes. If future ATSC 3.0 broadcasts include HDR content.
Will I need to upgrade my TV to one capable of ATSC 3.0 to use the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI?
No. The Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI is compatible with any television with an HDMI port. Since decoding of the incoming broadcast signals is done on the Tablo itself, it is a simple and cost-effective way for you to receive and enjoy ATSC 3.0 broadcasts without the need to purchase a newer, expensive TV.
Do I need a 4K TV set to view ATSC 3.0 broadcasts with the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI?
No. While the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard allows for 4K video, current broadcasts are delivered primarily in 720p or 1080p video quality. If future broadcasts do include 4K video, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI will display the best possible resolution that your television supports.
Do I need a soundbar or audio receiver capable of decoding Dolby AC-4 Surround Sound audio to hear ATSC 3.0 broadcasts with the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI?
No. While the ATSC 3.0 broadcast standard allows for Dolby AC-4 Surround Sound audio, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI will convert the stream to PCM audio to pass it through to your soundbar or receiver.
Why is the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI more expensive than other Tablo models?
The ATSC 1.0/ATSC 3.0 hybrid tuner hardware used in the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI is bleeding edge technology and therefore much more expensive than the traditional ATSC 1.0 tuners used in previous Tablo models. Significant investments in software and licensing to support new video and audio codecs as well as numerous other advanced features of the ATSC 3.0 standard were also required.
Why is the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI more expensive than other ATSC 3.0-capable devices on the market?
Unlike other ATSC 3.0 products currently on the market which feature only one or two hybrid ATSC 1.0/3.0 tuners, all four of the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI’s tuners are capable to receiving and decoding both broadcast standards. With twice the number of hybrid tuners, as well as Wi-Fi connectivity in a powerful quad-core set-top-box form factor, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI provides a solid but easy-to-use Over-the-Air TV platform for cord cutters now and well into the future.
Can the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI stream live or recorded TV to other devices on my local network?
No. At this time, the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI cannot stream live or recorded TV as most commercially available streaming devices and Smart TVs are not compatible with the new video and audio formats of ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.
Can the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI stream live or recorded TV outside of the home (Tablo Connect)?
No. Due to technical limitations, TV-connected Tablo DVRs including Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI cannot be accessed remotely. If streaming outside of the home is important to you, consider a network-connected Tablo DVR instead.
Are ATSC 3.0 recordings larger than ATSC 1.0 recordings?
No. ATSC 3.0 uses a substantially more advanced video codec (HVEC) which is approximately 4 times more efficient that the MPEG-2 codec used for ATSC 1.0 broadcasts. Therefore, ATSC 3.0 recordings are on average one quarter of the size of ATSC 1.0 recordings of the same resolution.
Does the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI support ATSC 3.0 content with Digital Rights Management (DRM) copyright protection?
At this point, the technical details of Digital Rights Management (DRM) use within the ATSC 3.0 standard is still in development. While the standard broadly allows for DRM copyright protection on broadcasts, current ATSC 3.0 broadcasts are delivered unencrypted. Exactly how DRM will be incorporated into the ATSC 3.0 rollout in both practical and technological terms is still to be determined. We are watching this closely and will update customers on any developments on this front.
Yes, it will. Now that the technical details of Digital Rights Management (DRM) use within the ATSC 3.0 standard has been finalized, and broadcast groups are signaling their intent to add DRM protection to broadcasts beginning as early as the summer of 2022, we are working to complete the development and certification of DRM software for the device. This added feature will now be included in the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI when it ships.
Does the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI support the advanced internet-enabled features of ATSC 3.0 such as emergency alerting and interactive content?
Yes! As long as your Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI has an active internet connection, proposed internet-enabled ATSC 3.0 features like local weather emergency alerts and interactive content elements like shoppable ads or voting will be supported where and when available.
Does the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI support closed captioning?
Yes! Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI supports closed captioning. For details about Tablo's closed captioning support visit the Tablo blog.
Can I use the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI without a subscription?
Yes. But to enjoy the full Tablo experience, a subscription to our optional TV Guide Data Service is recommended. Without a Tablo subscription, you can still watch live TV and set manual recordings by date/time/channel but series recordings, cover art, and other advanced features are only available with active subscriptions. Read more about using Tablo without a subscription on the Tablo TV Guide Data Service page.
Can I transfer my current TV Guide Data Service subscription to the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI?
Yes! You can transfer your Tablo TV Guide Data Service subscription to any other Tablo DVR at any time via the Tablo account portal at account.tablotv.com.
Does the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI support Automatic Commercial Skip?
The Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI currently only supports Automatic Commercial Skip for most programs broadcast in ATSC 1.0. We hope to be able to support this popular feature on ATSC 3.0 recordings in the future.
Due to the planned sunsetting of Premium Service and Automatic Commercial Skip for new customers, this feature will no longer be available on the ATSC 3.0 Tablo when it ships. Customers can still fast forward through ads on both ATSC 1.0 and ATSC 3.0 recordings.
Can I connect the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI to my older Tablo so it can receive ATSC 3.0 broadcasts?
No. The Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI cannot be used to ‘upgrade’ a previous generation of Tablo OTA DVR to support ATSC 3.0 broadcasts.
How do I tell within the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI interface which channels are ATSC 1.0 and which are ATSC 3.0?
Each channel detected during a channel scan will be identified as ATSC 1.0 or ATSC 3.0 within the channel lineup.
Can I transfer recordings from my current Tablo to the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI?
No. The recording formats are incompatible.
Why is there no Canadian pricing or availability?
The Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI is not being made available in Canada as the country has no current plans to adopt the ATSC 3.0 standard.
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