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The latest Tablo news along with tips to maximize your free TV experience. 

Looking for a Subscription-Free OTA DVR? Try Tablo!


When looking for alternatives to expensive cable and satellite TV subscriptions, many cord cutters seek to maximize their savings by avoiding gadgets or streaming services with monthly fees. For this reason, some consumers may overlook Tablo not realizing that you can use Tablo as a subscription-free Over-the-Air DVR! While we do offer advanced features for a small fee, Tablo’s basic features, which are included out-of-the-box, can provide a superior experience to many other subscription-free OTA DVRs.

Tablo: A Better Basic DVR
tablo better basic ota dvr

Most people have experienced purchasing a product that was a ‘great deal’ only to be disappointed, instead of taking the time to seek an alternative that offers a better value.

Compared to most other subscription-free antenna DVRs on the market, Tablo products offer a better ‘basic’ DVR experience as they will:

Benefit#1: Allow two or four concurrent live TV streams or recordings VS. just one stream or recording

Benefit#2: Provide whole-home streaming of live and recorded content VS. on just a single TV

Benefit#3: Be compatible with most popular streaming players, mobile devices, Smart TVs or PCs VS. just a single screen or device brand

Benefit#4: Provide 24 hours of rich guide data VS. basic in-stream data (PSIP) which can be spotty or incorrect

Benefit#5: Provide a modern user-friendly interface VS. a clunky outdated interface

Benefit#6: Support up to 8 TB of efficient recording storage VS. 2 TB or less

Tablo OTA DVRs without active subscriptions are also still eligible for all firmware and app updates, as well as ongoing tech support.

As you can see, even without a paid subscription, Tablo DVRs offer plenty of advantages over other DVRs for cord cutters on the market today.

What Can I Expect Without a Tablo Basic Subscription?

Without a subscription, Tablo apps will look plainer without the TV show cover art subscribers enjoy, but you can still watch live TV and set one-time and recurring manual recordings.

tablo roku manual recording

Here’s a quick list of which Tablo features are available with and without a paid TV Guide Data Subscription today:

Tablo Basic vs Subscription feature list

For a full overview of these features, head over to our TV Guide Data Subscription page.

What are the benefits of Tablo Subscription?

Each Tablo OTA DVR comes with a free 30-day trial so you can test out the subscription-only features and decide whether the cost is worthwhile for you.

Don’t watch a lot of TV during the summer? Travel for part of the year? No worries.

  1. A $4.99 USD/$5.99 CAD monthly subscription can be enabled or canceled with no penalty via our online portal, meaning you can pay for Tablo’s advanced features only while you need them. Check out our Subscription Portal walkthrough for more details.
  2. Plus, your Tablo TV Guide Data Service subscription is tied to your account, not a specific device. That means you can upgrade or swap out the Tablo DVR associated with your subscription at any time.

Why Do Tablo DVRs Even Have Paid Subscriptions?

If you’re wondering why our company hasn’t chosen to include access to a full 14-days of TV Guide Data and all features with the purchase of a Tablo OTA DVR, there are a few reasons…

  • Our CEO does not sit at the #1 spot in the Forbes richest people list
  • Rich TV guide data is expensive
  • Engineering resources to maintain and improve Tablo’s firmware and apps and to create new features, is also expensive
  • So is high-quality in-house customer support
  • We don’t sell advertising or sell your data to third-parties to preserve your privacy

Simply put, we want to provide an excellent quality product that receives ongoing enhancements and support. We also want to keep Tablo OTA DVR hardware prices as low as possible for you without selling your personal information or showing you ads.

Instead of forcing customers into a required service plan or skimping on the things that make Tablo great, we give you the choice to help support our ongoing work to make your Tablo DVR more awesome or to enjoy a solid basic OTA DVR experience for free.

Have a question about using Tablo without a subscription or about our products in general, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us via Facebook, Twitter, or email.

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. 

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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