Cutting the cord has never been easier with the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. However, for those who still want to watch live TV, on their terms and at a much more affordable price, the Tablo Dual Lite lets you do just that!
How Does It Work?
You plug in your HDTV antenna into the Tablo Dual Lite along with an external hard drive via the USB port. You then connect the Tablo to your router either via the Ethernet jack or Wi-Fi. And that’s it. You can now watch live, local over-the-air broadcast TV in high definition to any of your devices, without a monthly cable bill!
Design & Hardware
The back of the Tablo Dual Lite is where you’ll find your ports. One is to connect your antenna to the box, a reset button, USB port, Ethernet port and power port.
The nice thing about the Tablo Dual Lite is that you can connect the box to the internet via the Ethernet jack or via Wi-Fi. It’s best to choose Ethernet since you’ll be streaming video over your internet connection and generally, you’ll get better, dedicated data transfer over Ethernet.
The USB port can be used to connect a USB hard drive, you’ll need one that is USB 2.0 or USB 3.0 compatible and is 1TB in size but no larger than 8TB. The company says that USB flash drives can often be too slow for how many times the device will read/write when recording live TV.
As the name, Tablo Dual Lite implies, the device has 2 Over-the-Air ATSC Tuners that let you record and watch two shows at once.
If you’d rather not shell out for a hard drive, you can sign up for Tablo’s Cloud DVR service. As the name implies, the Cloud DVR lets your record Over-the-Air TV without a USB hard drive. Tablo’s Cloud DVR service is an add-on to the Tablo TV Guide subscription at around $5.99 CAD ($4.99 USD) per month and gives you 64GB of storage (which is about 40 hours of TV) – each Tablo Dual Lite gives you a 30-day trial of the service so you can test it out to see what works best for you.
In addition, Tablo also offers their Guide Data Subscription which gives you 14 days of TV Guide Data, so you can decide which shows you want to record in advance. In addition to TV Guide Data, you’ll also get options like Record by Series, Automatic Commercial Skip (which is currently in a free beta) and Tablo Connect which lets you stream live and recorded TV from your Tablo to your mobile devices on the go.
The Tablo Guide Data Subscription comes with a 30-day trial and costs $5.99 CAD ($4.99 USD) monthly, $59.99 CAD ($49.99 USD) annually or $179.99 CAD ($149.99 USD) for lifetime access. The subscription is tied to you and your account, not your specific Tablo device. That means, down the line, if you upgrade to a new Tablo device, you’ll be able to keep your subscription.
Without the Guide Data Subscription, you’ll just get 1-day of TV Guide Data but you’ll still be able to manually record upcoming shows, see the Live TV Grid and more.
The Tablo Dual Lite is available now from the company’s website for $179.99 CAD ($139.99 USD).
Since the Tablo Dual Lite lets you watch TV just about everywhere, the Tablo app is available on Apple TV, Roku, Fire TV, Android TV, Xbox One, Android, iOS and a web app. You can also cast from the mobile app to your Chromecast or Chromecast-enabled TV.
The Tablo experience was quite seamless. You’ll first be greeted with a screen showing all of the Tablo devices connected to your network. After you choose one, you’ll be taken to the Live TV Grid where you can see all the channels your antenna has within range and what shows are currently on.
Tapping the channel number will bring you straight onto that specific channel and show it’s live TV feed. The Live TV Guide was a bit slow to load up on initial setup because it was gathering all of the data to the device.
Pressing on the menu button (or all the way to the left side of the screen on the Roku/Apple TV/Android TV app) will show you all the different views you have access to (depending on whether or not you’re subscribed to the Guide Data subscription).
I tested the Tablo Dual Lite during the 30-day trial of the Guide subscription, so I was able to see the Live TV, Prime Time, TV Shows, Movies, Sports, Scheduled (shows you all your planned recordings), Recordings (all the content you’ve already recorded), Settings, Disconnect and Exit.
When recording a show, you can choose what resolution you want the Tablo to record in, all the way up to 1080 HD.
Since the Tablo app is the same regardless of where you access it from, it’s straightforward to use and is fairly easy to get around. However, while it’s easy to use, the quality of the actual stream can vary because the video is being compressed over your internet connection – if you have a slow internet connection, the live video might get delayed or buffer.
The Tablo Dual Lite is a great device that offers easy access to watch Live TV wherever and whenever you want.