Best for: Those who want to watch recordings inside and outside the home
The Tablo Dual Lite OTA DVR, from the Canadian company Nuvyyo, lets you record over-the-air programs and then stream them to up to six other devices on the same home network. Unlike its pricier predecessor, the $220 Tablo Dual, this version lacks a built-in hard drive, so you’ll need an external USB hard drive to record shows.
Like several other models in our test, the Dual Lite lacks an HDMI output; instead, it streams video over WiFi to the Tablo app loaded on other devices, including most of the popular streaming media players, as well as Amazon Fire TV, Android, LG, Roku TV and Samsung televisions. It also supports Android and iOS mobile devices.
Setup is fairly straightforward using the step-by-step guide on the app or Tablo’s website. Once it’s completed, just scan for channels and download the program guide.
As its moniker would suggest, the Dual Lite has two tuners, so you can watch or record up to two channels at once. There’s also a four-tuner option called the Tablo Quad ($200), which likewise requires a separate hard drive.
Tablo doesn’t require a subscription for this DVR, but it becomes a lot more useful if you have one. The free service restricts you to a one-day grid-style program guide, and recordings can be scheduled via that grid or manually by date/time/channel as a one-time or recurring event.
Upping to the paid service—$5 a month, $50 a year, or $150 for lifetime subscription—extends the guide to 14 days. You can schedule series recordings, all or all new, with a single click. It also enables some additional features—such as automatic commercial skip on completed recordings, better search and sort functionality, additional program information and thumbnail images—and the ability to stream shows outside the home.