As some of you will recall, I wrote glowingly of AirTV on back in late December, describing it as “tantalizingly close to the perfect cord cutter solution.” One other great alternative to consider is the Tablo Dual from Canada-based Nuvyyo. With an MSRP of $220, Tablo Dual is essentially a network-connected DVR (which includes 64GB on embedded storage) that allows you to stream your live and recorded Over-The-Air (OTA) video content from your digital antenna to any mobile and TV device inside or outside your home.
The Tablo Dual form factor is small and compact (similar in size to Apple AAPL -0.95% TV), taking up little space. While it does have an Ethernet port to connect to your home network, it can also connect to your home network in a wireless manner. Tablo Dual comes equipped with 2 integrated digital tuners, which allow you watch live TV on an OTA channel and record on a different channel at the same time. Tablo also offers a 4-Tuner OTA DVR (priced at $299), targeted at cord cutters with larger households.
While it operates very similar to AirTV, Tablo Dual has a few advantages that differentiate it. First and foremost, AirTV currently does not have local storage support for DVR recordings, while the Tablo Dual has a healthy 64GB of embedded storage, which can be augmented with additional USB storage devices. Secondly, Tablo Dual boasts superior 802.11ac wireless connectivity, versus AirTV’s 802.11n. This comes in handy if you’re planning on having multiple TVs or devices access Tablo Dual and want snappier performance in your home. Tablo also offers a Dual LITE model that has no onboard storage and is priced at $140. However, I think the standard model is worth the extra dollars—64GB of onboard storage is more appealing than relying on adding an external USB storage drive. Finally, and this is largely a subjective observation, Tablo’s 10-foot colorful interface feels more “Apple-esque” and the channel guide was easy to read and navigate.
Without getting too technical, the core reason why both AirTV and Tablo Dual are so delightful to use is they both employ Pixelworks transcoder technology. This technology compresses and decompresses OTA video output, thereby facilitating a high-quality video experience regardless of the bandwidth conditions. I cannot emphasize how critical this ingredient is if you’re considering a cord cutting solution and you want to optimize your video quality.
Tablo doesn’t require a paid subscription for DVR service, but it’s hard to believe that most consumers will not want to have one. There is a $5 per month/$60 per year service fee that comprehends continuous 14 days of TV guide data service. If you don’t elect to sign up for the program guide service, the free service only supports manual recordings that are time-based and offers one day of guide data.
The Tablo Dual excels in device support capability: Apple TV, Apple iOS products, Roku, Amazon Fire, Chromecast, Android TV devices, Microsoft MSFT -0.28% Xbox One console, and even LG and Samsung smart TVs. The Tablo Dual is a great solution if you’re looking for an extremely easy way to watch and record your OTA channels and access your local home TV from many different devices. What I like best about Tablo Dual is it that smoothly integrates into your video experience. You can’t go wrong with it.