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Setup &
Networking

Optimizing Your Cord Cutting Setup

Tablo offers both network-connected and TV-connected Over-the-Air DVRs that can record and display gorgeous HDTV content from your antenna. Each have slightly different capabilities, setup requirements, and steps.

The quality and stability of your home's local area network connection is critical for smooth video streaming, both from streaming services like Netflix as well as your Tablo DVR.

In this section, we'll help you set up your Tablo and local network for the best possible cord cutting experience.

 

Tablo OTA DVR Setup

Here's how to start enjoying free Over-the-Air TV with your Tablo DVR:

  • Connect your HDTV Antenna

  • Connect a USB Hard Drive - Required for streaming live TV and recording on all DVRs except those with internal storage (check the requirements for your model)

  • Connect Tablo to your Home Network - Connect Ethernet cable provided if connecting via Ethernet; if not, proceed to next step

  • FOR TV-CONNECTED TABLO DVRS ONLY - Connect DVR to your television via the HDMI cable provided and insert the batteries into the included remote

  • Connect the power adapter

Your Tablo will come packaged with a Quick Start Guide which can help you complete setup. If you need help or additional instructions, keep reading.

 

Tablo Setup Video

Setting up your Tablo is quick and easy.

In this helpful video geared towards network-connected Tablo DVRs, we walk you through:

  • Unboxing your Tablo

  • Connecting your OTA antenna and hard drive

  • Initial set up of your Tablo DVR using Ethernet or WiFi

  • Running an initial channel scan

For detailed written setup instructions, for either type of Tablo DVR keep reading.

Connecting via Ethernet or WiFi

Connecting your Tablo via Ethernet or WiFi is simple.

For specific instructions, click your chosen connection method for your type of Tablo:  

Connect one end of the Ethernet cable provided to your Tablo and the other end to your home's WiFi router.

The Tablo app on your Roku, Apple TV, PC/MAC, smartphone or tablet will walk you through the rest of the setup.

Connect one end of the Ethernet cable provided to your Tablo and the other end to your home's WiFi router.

Tablo's on-screen setup wizard will walk you through the rest of the setup right on your TV using the included remote.

Do NOT connect the Ethernet cable to your Tablo. If an Ethernet cable is connected, the WiFi module will not turn on. 

Step-by-step illustrated instructions for setup of network-connected DVRs via WiFi on RokuApple TVPC/MACiPhone/iPad or Android smartphones and tablets can be found on the Tablo Knowledge Base.

Do NOT connect the Ethernet cable to your Tablo. If an Ethernet cable is connected, the WiFi module will not turn on. 

Step-by-step illustrated instructions for setup of TV-connected DVRs via WiFi can be found on the Tablo Knowledge Base

Improving Your Home's WiFi Network

home router

A strong home WiFi network is a must for cord cutters if you want to stream high quality video smoothly. These tips will ensure your network is optimized for cord cutting.   

  • Use a router manufactured in the past 5 years that supports either 802.11ac (WiFi 5) or 802.11ax (WiFi 6) which are faster than older technology.

  • When possible, place your router on the top floor of your home and in a central location.

  • Dual-band routers support two different frequencies: the popular 2.4 GHz and the less popular 5 GHz. Choosing the right frequency for your devices is key to smooth streaming.

  • Microwaves, baby monitors and cordless phones can also cause signal interference. Avoid placing your router or other WiFi-enabled devices near these types of technology.

In order to record your favorite Over-the-Air shows, your Tablo DVR needs a place to save those files.

Depending on the model of Tablo DVR you have, storage requirements, options, and specs may be different.

Only one type of supported storage can be in use at any given time.  

Please review the recommended recording storage options for your Tablo model prior to setup.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering.

 

Owners of Tablo DUAL LITE OTA DVRs have one option for recording storage:

  • USB-connected portable hard drives
    (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size)

We recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives.

Most other brands/models are compatible, but avoid drives whose reviews suggest frequent disconnect problems.  

There are no speed or performance benefits from USB 3.0 and solid state drives (SSD) vs. USB 2.0 and spinning drives.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering.

Owners of Tablo DUAL 128GB OTA DVRs have two options for recording storage:

  • 128GB of included onboard storage 
    (~80 hours of recordings)
  • USB-connected portable hard drives
    (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size)

For USB-connected drives, we recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives.

Most other brands/models are compatible, but avoid drives whose reviews suggest frequent disconnect problems.  

There are no speed or performance benefits from USB 3.0 and solid state drives (SSD) vs. USB 2.0 and spinning drives.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering.

Owners of Tablo DUAL HDMI OTA DVRs have one option for recording storage:

  • USB-connected portable hard drives
    (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size)

We recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives.

Most other brands/models are compatible, but avoid drives whose reviews suggest frequent disconnect problems.  

There are no speed or performance benefits from USB 3.0 and solid state drives (SSD) vs. USB 2.0 and spinning drives.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering when streaming to secondary televisions.

Owners of Tablo QUAD OTA DVRs have two options for recording storage:

  • USB-connected portable hard drives
    (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size)
  • Internal 2.5" SATA drives - spinning or SSD
    (Standard 7mm or 9.5mm heights, 1TB to 8TB in size*)

For USB-connected drives, we recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives.

For SATA-connected drives, we recommend Western Digital Blue or Seagate BarraCuda internal drives. 

Most other brands/models are compatible, but avoid drives whose reviews suggest frequent disconnect problems.  

There are no speed or performance benefits from USB 3.0 and solid state drives (SSD) vs. USB 2.0 and spinning drives.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering.

*Internal drives with the correct height dimensions are currently sold in up to 4TB size

Owners of Tablo QUAD 1TB OTA DVRs have three options for recording storage:

  • 1TB of included onboard storage (SATA)
    (~700 hours of recordings)
  • USB-connected portable hard drives
    (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size)
  • Internal 2.5" SATA drives - spinning or SSD
    (Standard 7mm or 9.5mm heights, 1TB to 8TB in size*)

For USB-connected drives, we recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives.

For SATA-connected drives, we recommend Western Digital Blue or Seagate BarraCuda internal drives. 

Most other brands/models are compatible, but avoid drives whose reviews suggest frequent disconnect problems.  

There are no speed or performance benefits from USB 3.0 and solid state drives (SSD) vs. USB 2.0 and spinning drives.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering.

*Internal drives with the correct height dimensions are currently sold in up to 4TB size

Owners of Tablo DUAL 64GB OTA DVRs have two options for recording storage:

  • 64 GB of included onboard storage 
    (~40 hours of recordings)
  • USB-connected portable hard drives
    (USB 2.0 or 3.0, 1 TB to 8 TB in size)

For USB-connected drives, we recommend Western Digital Elements drives and Seagate Expansion drives.

Most other brands/models are compatible, but avoid drives whose reviews suggest frequent disconnect problems.  

There are no speed or performance benefits from USB 3.0 and solid state drives (SSD) vs. USB 2.0 and spinning drives.

NOTE - Selecting an unsupported form of storage may result in failed recordings or buffering.

The following types of storage are NOT supported by Tablo OTA DVRs and may result in failed recordings or frequent buffering:

  • USB Flash Drives (AKA Memory Sticks, AKA USB Keys)
  • Network-Attached Storage (NAS)
  • Internal drives in external enclosures

USB Flash memory can be too slow and is not designed for the sheer number of read/write cycles that recording live TV requires. Many USB Flash Drives also contain a smaller amount of storage space than Tablo requires for normal operation. 

Network speeds for Network-Attached Storage (NAS) can also be too slow to record live TV from Tablo DVRs. 

Internal (laptop style) hard drives placed in external enclosures can cause frequent USB disconnects and communication issues between the drive and the DVR. 

 

Adjusting Tablo's Settings

Once your Tablo is connected to your home network, it's important to review and adjust your Tablo's settings in the settings screen. (Or see settings for TV-Connected Tablo DVRs.)

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