Tablo is a DVR for Cord-Cutters

Contributing Writer
Updated

There have never been more ways to watch TV. More and more people "cut the cord," or pass on cable TV and get their shows a la carte, via streaming services, or from over-the-air TV antenna. Tablo, from Canada-based company Nuvyyo, is a TV recording device for the latter type of cord-cutter. It connects on one end to your TV antenna and on the other to a memory storage device like an external hard drive.

Shipping this February, the Tablo sells for $219, which includes the Tablo DVR deice, a small antenna, an Ethernet cable and a power supply. Subscriptions to its TV guide app, which aggregates local TV programs and makes it easy to set recordings, cost $4.99 a month, $49.99 a year, or $149.99. In addition, users will need an external memory storage device, which usually cost less than $100 for a 1 terabyte device.

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Via the accompanying smartphone app or browser-based Web interface, users can browse TV shows available on local over-the-air station such as ABC, NBC, CW and more, and record up to two programs at the same time.

In this way Tablo works as a DVR for your antenna, but it also makes the recorded programs more accessible than most DVRs by saving them as files on your own eternal memory device. That also means that Tablo's storage capacity is only limited by your own storage device.

Although the movie files are stored on your own external memory device you can't access them directly in the first version of Tablo; to view them you'll have to stream them to another Internet-connected device. However, this differs from many other DVRs that limit video streaming to devices connected to a home network. Tablo is also compatible with AppleTV and Roku, and will soon add Chromecast functionality.

Nuvyyo also told us that in an upcoming software update, Tablo users will be able to directly access the movie files, meaning they can move them to other devices for offline viewing. We like this feature, as it gives users control of their own files and harkens back to the days of taping TV on videocassettes.

Using a television antenna to get over-the-air broadcasts is a simple and very cheap way to cut the cord and still get programs on local stations such as ABC, NBC, CW and more. But the disadvantage of this kind of TV is that, without something like the Tablo, you have to watch your programs at the time they air.

 Email jscharr@techmedianetwork.com or follow her @JillScharr and Google+.  Follow us @TomsGuide, on Facebook and on Google+.