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Tablo DUAL OTA DVRs vs. Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Tuners – Product & Feature Comparison


One of the best things about being an avid TV viewer today is the sheer variety of services, gadgets and technology available to help you escape the clutches of cable TV. However, navigating the variety of options can be daunting, especially for new cord cutters. If you’re trying to decide between a Tablo DUAL 128GB OTA DVR and a Silicon Dust HDHomeRun tuner the for the Over-the-Air (OTA) TV portion of your cord cutting setup, this product and feature comparison will help you choose the network-connected OTA TV device (Tablo DUAL OTA DVRs vs. Silicon Dust HDHomeRun) that’s right for you.

tablo ota dvr vs. silicon dust hdhomerun comparison


Table of Contents:

1. Overall Tablo DVR and HDHomeRun ComparisonTL;DR
2. Hardware, Tuners and Network ConnectionsHardware Comparison Chart
3. Streaming Live OTA TV and RecordingsStreaming Comparison Chart
4. Live TV and DVR FeaturesFeatures Comparison Chart
5. SubscriptionsSubscription Chart
6. Apps & Device SupportApps Chart
7. Customer SupportSupport Chart

Overall Tablo OTA DVRs vs. Silicon Dust HDHomeRun Comparison:

Tablo DUAL 128GB OTA DVRs and Silicon Dust HDHomeRun tuners both connect your TV antenna to your home network to deliver Over-The-Air content, but how the products work, their features and supported devices are very different.

Tablo DUAL 128GB OTA DVRs are an easy-to-use, hardware-based solution designed for streaming and recording OTA TV via multiple devices both inside and outside of your home. Live TV and DVR functions don’t require a subscription, but advanced features are available with one.

tablo any device

Silicon Dust’s HDHomeRun products are networked TV tuners. In order to function as part of a DVR solution, they need to be connected to an always-on computer, OR select Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices, OR an NVIDIA SHIELD gaming system. They also require companion software to be installed and configured on these devices. All recording functions require a paid subscription to their DVR service.

hdhomerun nas htpc

TL;DR (Tablo DUAL OTA DVRs vs. Silicon Dust HDHomeRun) – Tablo DUAL 128GB is a DVR, HDHomeRun is just a tuner. If you want an all-in-one box to watch and record antenna TV on any device, Tablo is right for you. If you’re tech savvy, are already running a home theatre PC (HTPC) and don’t mind using PC-based DVR software, you might want to consider HDHomeRun tuners.


Hardware, Tuners and Network Connections:

Network-connected Tablo OTA DVR hardware comes in four varieties:

tablo ota dvr product lineup

All models can connect to your router via Ethernet or WiFi which enables you to put your antenna and Tablo wherever you get optimal OTA reception. The Tablo DUAL 128GB and Tablo QUAD 1TB include onboard storage.

Tablo OTA DVR hardware costs between $149.99 US and $239.99 US, depending on the model.

Silicon Dust’s HDHomeRun tuners come in two comparable varieties intended for OTA TV:

  • HDHomeRun FLEX DUO

silicon dust product lineup

All models connect to your home network via Ethernet only.

HDHomeRun tuners cost between $109.99 US and $154.99 US, depending on the model.


tablo vs. hdhomerun tuners hardware


Streaming Live OTA TV and Recordings:

Tablo OTA DVRs were designed from the ground up to make it easy to stream both live and recorded TV on all of your favorite screens both inside and outside your home.

tablo on the go

In order to support smooth streaming on the widest variety of devices, Tablo takes the broadcast TV stream (MPEG-2) from your antenna and uses a process called transcoding to turn it into a video format called HLS.

Transcoding digital TV (MPEG-2) into HLS format has several benefits including:

  • Smoother Whole-Home & Remote Access Streaming
    Tablo offers several video quality setting options (between 2 – 10 Mbps) which makes it easy to stream video across most home networks without buffering. It also offers remote streaming quality settings to ensure smooth streaming to supported devices outside of your home network using Tablo Connect.
  • Broader Device Support
    Mobile devices and some streaming media set-top-boxes like Roku require HLS format video feeds and do not support the native broadcast TV stream (MPEG-2).
  • Smaller Recording File Sizes
    By transcoding the video, Tablo recordings can be as small as 1 GB/hour of TV which means you can record and save more of your favorite shows on your hard drive

Silicon Dust’s HDHomeRun does not transcode the raw digital TV stream, which means you must have a VERY strong home network capable of handling the 12-18 Mbps MPEG-2 video it delivers.

There are two benefits to delivering a direct MPEG-2 stream: support for multiple audio streams including 5.1 surround sound and channel surfing. Tuning to a live channel when transcoding the video requires a short delay of 12-20 seconds and it’s difficult to deliver multiple audio streams.

Tablo hardware DVRs are now capable of supporting Surround Sound, but if you’re looking for an MPEG-2/HDMI-connected solution, check out TV-connected Tablo DVRs!

tablo vs. hdhomerun streaming


Live TV and DVR Features:

As we mentioned above, Tablo OTA DVRs are purpose-built for streaming and recording TV from your digital antenna. Tablo apps feature a live TV grid guide that displays programs airing now and over the next 24 hours.

tablo live tv grid

A Netflix-style guide for shows airing over the next 2 weeks, easy-to-use recording features including series record (ALL or ALL NEW) and auto-extend for live programs like sports, are available to subscribers.

Tablo’s manual recording feature (date/time/channel) and fast-forward preview thumbnails which make it easy to skip commercials, are included for free.

tablo ffwd previews

Silicon Dust HDHomeRun tuners require a subscription to their DVR service just to record. Series recording is available, but the software cannot differentiate between NEW episodes and reruns. Advanced features like fast-forward thumbnails are not available.

tablo vs. hdhomerun live and dvr features


Tablo Guide Data Subscription and HDHomeRun DVR Subscription:

All Tablo OTA DVRs come with a 30-day trial of the fully-featured Tablo guide data subscription, so users can evaluate the advanced features and extended guide data access (14 days vs. 24 hours) it offers.

After the trial, most opt for either a flexible monthly subscription ($4.99 US) or the savings of an annual subscription ($49.99 US) depending on their needs. Without a subscription, users can continue to watch live TV and record OTA TV content with Tablo antenna DVRs.

Silicon Dust HDHomeRun tuners require a full year’s subscription ($35 US) to access extended guide data and ANY recording options. There’s no option for those who prefer to go month-to-month. There is also no free trial period that gives you the opportunity to ‘try-before-you-buy’.


tablo vs. hdhomerun subscription options


Comparing Compatibility: App and Device Support:

The biggest advantage to a network-based OTA TV solution is the ability to support multiple devices instead of just a single TV like traditional OTA DVRs.

tablo roku

Tablo OTA DVRs support viewing of live TV and recordings as well as the ability to set and manage recordings via free and easy-to-use Tablo apps on smartphones and tablets, as well as most streaming media set-top-boxes, Smart TVs and gaming systems.

Silicon Dust HDHomeRun tuners offer primarily live TV playback through a mix of free branded apps and third-party apps which may require an additional purchase. Scheduling and playback of recordings requires a subscription and is available on a limited number of apps including iOS, Android and Windows.

tablo vs. hdhomerun device supportBACK TO TOP

Customer Support:

When it comes to technology products, customer support can be the intangible secret sauce that can make or break your experience. Sometimes you just NEED to talk to a real, live person!

Tablo offers support via email, phonecommunity forums and social media. Our gurus are based in our Canadian HQ office and are happy to help with questions about Tablo OTA DVR hardware, apps and the larger Tablo cord cutting ecosystem including your OTA antenna, HDMI-connected streaming devices, your home network and more.

Silicon Dust offers support primarily through email, social media and community forums. They do not offer phone or live chat support.

tablo vs. hdhomerun support BACK TO TOP

Final Thoughts:

The best OTA TV solution for you is highly dependent on your needs, what fits with your existing or planned cord cutting setup and your level of comfort with tech. In order to choose wisely, it’s important that you research all of the available options and understand the ‘fine print’ of each option.

If you have any additional questions as you compare Tablo Dual OTA DVRs vs. Silicon Dust HDHomeRun tuners and make choices for your TV entertainment ecosystem, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

We’re here to help!

Updated July 19, 2022

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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. 

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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.

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