Tablo releases new 4th Gen OTA DVR with no subscription fee to fill the gap created by the discontinued Fire TV Recast

Tablo has released an all-new 4th generation over-the-air networked DVR. The new Tablo 4th Gen, as it is simply being called, is a new direction for the company, which was acquired last year by broadcast company Scripps. The biggest difference found in this new Tablo, compared to previous models, is the complete lack of a paid subscription and the ability to both stream and record over 40 free ad-supported TV (FAST) channels.

The Tablo 4th Gen costs $99.95 from either Tablo or Best Buy and includes two ATSC 1.0 tuners which let you watch live or record two channels simultaneously. If you include watching recordings, the DVR can support up to six devices at once. Being a networked tuner, it can be placed anywhere that’s convenient for your OTA HD antenna connection as long as it has a network connection through either its built-in 10/100 Ethernet port or 802.11ac dual-band WiFi 5.

Built into the Tablo 4th Gen is 128GB of flash storage, which Tablo says is good for about 50 hours of recorded programming. While the device supports MPEG2 for live television, recordings are transcoded to MPEG4 to take up less space. If 50 hours of DVR storage isn’t enough, you can connect up to an 8TB external hard drive to the device’s USB 2.0 port for as much as 1,000 hours of recordings.

All of Tablo’s previous OTA DVRs required a paid subscription for guide data and other premium features. The new Tablo 4th Gen does away with that entirely and comes with 14 days of guide data, for both over-the-air and its free streaming channels at no additional charge. As for those FAST channels, there are currently just over 40 streaming channels available that blend together with the OTA channels and can all be recorded by the DVR. You read that right, even the free streaming channels can be recorded.

Along with this new generation of hardware, Tablo is launching an all-new Tablo app that has been developed from the ground up with a new interface and feature set. The new Tablo app is already available on Fire TV devices with support for Fire OS 6 and Fire OS 7 models. Notably, that means that all Fire TV models released before 2017, including the very popular 2nd-gen Fire TV Stick, are not supported by the new Tablo app. The new app is also available for Roku, Android TV, and Google TV devices, as well as both iOS and Android phones and tablets. Support for Apple TV, and smart TV platforms from Samsung, LG, and Vizio “are expected to be added later this year.”

For those who own an existing Tablo device, a firmware update will arrive later this year for netwroked models and next year for HDMI-equiped models to add compatibility with the new Tablo app. However, not all features available to those currently paying for a Tablo subscription are available in the new app, so you may prefer to continue using the legacy app. Automatic commercial skipping and out-of-home streaming are the most significant features you won’t find available in the new Tablo app or with the Tablo 4th Gen hardware.

As previously mentioned the Tablo 4th Gen is available to buy right now for $99.95 from Tablo directly or for $99.99 from Best Buy. Tablo is also selling a bundle that includes the Tablo 4th gen and a 35-mile antenna for $129.95 that is currently on sale for $109.95.

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56 comments
  1. OTA says:

    Gonna ride my Recast into the sunset for as long as possible but VERY happy to see a non-subscription based release like this. Especially from a company that does subscriptions. I very much don’t think OTA should ever be subscription based or reliant.

    • OTA says:

      Granted Recast is subscription-adjacent with Prime but that’s other services and a whole environment. Which admittedly is a big part of the why I’m clinging to Recast since I’m neck deep in the Fire environment. But yeah, a standalone OTA option shouldn’t have subscription strings attached if ya ask me.

    • Jscott1000 says:

      Yes, I love the recast when it works. Yes I need to reboot almost daily but the Integration with my firetv is seemless

    • Mrod500 says:

      I find it ironic that finally TiVo comes out with something like this after I finally gave up and switched to Tablo. I wonder still if this new TiVo will allow for out of network streaming on other TV’s? My TiVo’s were always more reliable but Tablo way more versatile.

      • Kary says:

        I’ve always said Tivo is very Apple-like–they really restrict what you can do. Very annoying and the reason I left. I went to Channels DVR, which has been reliable.

  2. mike says:

    i tried tablo once before and loved the interface but the picture quality SUCKED.. and i returned it. I asked them if they were going to fix the problem (they are aware something to do with transcoding interlacing or something)…they said at the time (about a year ago), that there weren’t any immeditiate plans to fix it, but that they were aware of the problem….so did they fix anything with video quality?

  3. mike says:

    if they fix the video quality problem it is worth consideration…but if not, don’t bother. hdhomerun has lousy interface but the picture is good…too bad these two cant come up with one product with good picture and good interface.

    • Kary says:

      If you haven’t already done so, try Channels DVR with HDHR. I really like the interface, finding it better than Tivo or whatever the old Microsoft system was called. It also allows remote out of house streaming, and even has Tailscale built in for that purpose (alternative to port forwarding and works with IPv 6 systems).

      • Mar says:

        I want OTA tv. With no antenna. Why can’t it be done. Anything to get rid of DTV. I would pay for local channels!!!

        • John P G says:

          Google…
          where can I pay to stream OTA channels?
          And/or
          How to Watch Local Channels Without Cable in 2023

          But OTA are over the air…which means antenna….but there are places you can subscribe to a service for a fee to get some OTA channels…but OTA channels vary from local to local….I dont know what the streaming services offer other than they DO offer OTA channels with certain packages for a fee…

          • LJH says:

            Hulu Live TV or YouTube TV is the only way to get live TV, but they’ve both raised their prices up a lot. As far as Tablo goes, I have one & my picture quality is very good for over the air.

          • Shawn says:

            Greedy is why. Your local channels charge millions in retransmission fees to cable companies and IPTV companies such as Hulu and YT. There was a company that attempted to allow access to just locals called locast but they got shut down for being non profit and not paying the millions in fees

        • Jscott1000 says:

          I live about 5 miles from an antenna farm in Houston. I can pick up 130 channels with no antenna

        • Billie says:

          Why do you not want an antenna? You can put the antenna in the attic and you don’t have to see it

  4. Charlie says:

    Sounds interesting. HDH works but after several years there isn’t anything new. I can imagine a not free tier in the future. That has to be what they are planning. No yearly fees and add your own multiple TB drive for DVR. DVR the free channels. It’s a tempting to offer.

  5. Rik Emmett says:

    The streaming channels are underwhelming and the lack of commercial skipping is diappointing. Too bad they couldn’t get pluto tv. Trick play will probably be disappointing too.

  6. John G says:

    This is interesting news…And 2 tuner (only OTA 1.0) but also ONLY $100 in theory maintained with ATSC 1.0 til 2027 (via the ONE reviewer. Cant see any connectors…does anyone know…recording graphic also shows FireTV and others…?? No remote… Guess is only wireless connections and Phone as remote.. Somewhere I Did see external recording up to 8 gigs can be added. Anyone confirm? Tempted but will see if anyone know answers to previous or anything not mentioned.. Records to 1080? Interesting if only for the price and external recording capacity)…

    AS ALWAYS ELIAS, thanks for finding…May be time for a new toy….

  7. Charlie says:

    If you have to watch commercials, then forget it. For me, the whole point of a DVR IS to skip commercials.

    • Charlie says:

      I think I realize now the poster was talking about having to watch ads in the free channels. You can still skip ads in your DVR recordings. I guess you would expect to have to see those ads.

  8. John P G says:

    Sorry, I see the hardware connectors,,,hardwired ethernet and USB and antenna….Better than I had expected…

  9. John P G says:

    FWIW, I agree about FREE….I happen to own a building built in the mid DONE 3] $$ to Pinnacle bank %150 which has had the SAME antenna and coax for at least 35 years and live in Nebraska….I can get 65 OTA channels which includes the sub channels from this Antenna…Although I also have a streaming subscription or two and Amazon Prime…I do enjoy network TV for watching College Football….so OTA saves me the $69.99 LIVE Hulu subscription…BTW, the Crap of needing a DIGITAL antenna is exactly CRAP…I look at the antenna (up about 35 feet from ground level does well (and long as I dont get a lightning strike..) the Good news is I likely wont get struck because the STATE capitol with it METAL HEADED Sower is only a couple blocks away (400 ft PLUS the height of the sower)…..Or at least that;s what I have my self convinced of….GO OTA….Not looking to OTA 3.0….too many OTA 1.0 Tuners that will need CONVERTER boxes….which started out (as you may remember) with a $30 coupon from the GOVT with OTA 1.0…Again BTW the 50s building was originally wired with 300 OHM (two leads) and within a couple years early coax was available so the then owner had it rewired..It still has that same original COAX. I have tried to duplicate the number of channels with a new antenna and high end coax and pointed the same….but have not been able to pull in all the same channels.. Sorry if I am long winded and you are uninterested…

  10. Dan G says:

    This sounds tempting for those less technically inclined. I’m surprised no one has mentioned Channels DVR server as a superior alternative to the HDhomerun apps, particularly with the price and capabilities of mini PCs ATM.

  11. Carl says:

    ATSC 1,0???? And only two tuners???? No out of home streaming???? Pass… What a waste of a product thats already outdated and it just now released.

  12. Kary says:

    I thought channel data cost something to provide. Not a lot, but something. If that’s true it seems like a bad business model to sell a cheap electronic device with a future commitment.

    • I would guess that Tablo gets a cut of the ad revenue from the FAST channels, so that could be how they expect to cover the cost of the program data. Also, the new owner of Tablo, Scripps, owns many broadcast channels so they also have an incentive to increase OTA watching in general, so that alone might be enough to justify the data cost. More eyes on OTA channels means more eyes on Scripps channels, which means more advertising money earned from those Scripps channels.

  13. Justin East says:

    Maybe this is a dumb question, but I have a jail broke fire stick, I pay about 100$ a year to access everything you can imagine, crescent Depot I believe, I’m looking for a way to integrate a DVR into that… They’re guide us amazing, the access is amazing just no ability to record

    • Kary says:

      For a specific question like that I’d try Reddit.

    • I am fed up too says:

      If you have a dvdr or a VCR,and your not picky about resolution, programming can be available for later, personal[only]
      viewing, Reddit (as mentioned)or Google tech sites will help you.

  14. John says:

    Still under NDA so I can’t give specifics.

  15. Dsbal says:

    “New” hardware, but USB 2.0 and only fast Ethernet? No thanks. Add USB 3 and Gigabit Ethernet, then I’d bite.

    • Dan G says:

      Doesn’t the Fire Cube v3 have USB 2.0 and 100Mb ethernet?

      • Kary says:

        These type of devices don’t really need more advanced ports, IMHO. 4k is only about 20 Mbps, and of course there is no 4k broadcast content (yet).

        BTW, I just upgraded from a FC v2 to v3 because I wanted one in a different location (a travel trailer). I wasn’t expecting much from a version upgrade, but the 4k upscaling that thing does is incredible, better than what my current generation Samsung TV does. It’s a new feature called “super resolution.” And while it’s only been a couple of days, it seems to start processing HDTV video/audio from my HDHR server much faster, particularly on recordings from channels that have a weak signal. I’ve had a lot of trouble with that, particularly with my first mesh router system (Plume). This is the first time it’s seemed like the hard drive is hardwired to my TV. Not sure if that’s due to the upgraded processor or Wifi.

  16. David M Spears says:

    I bought a recast several years ago mainly because I didn’t want to mess with subscriptions, Now that Tablo has a no subscription model I may get it just so I’m not tied to Amazon to watch recordings

  17. TheTestGuy says:

    I am currently testing one of the new Tablo 4 units for review, finding out the Android software is completely nonfunctional and makes the device completely useless. Tablo needs to fix this or they are dead in the water before they even start selling them is mass amounts.

    • mike says:

      what about the video quality. the problem with the old tablos was the video quality. HDHOMERUN the video looks perfect on large screens but video on old tablos on large tv’s looked like crap which is why i sent it back. Did they ever fix that problem with this release? Had something to do with their software the way it transcoded interlacing or something like that?? until they fix that, none of their products will ever be worth considering. compare video quality on hdhomerun compared to tablo???? PLEASE REPORT ON THIS??

      • TheTestGuy says:

        I am unable to even say it is good yet, I am unable to setup with any android tablet or phone due to the app being non-functional. Sorry, I can’t use it at all so far, they need to fix this or it is going to fail.

      • Kary says:

        You should check out the Fire Cube 3rd generation. Their “super resolution” is incredible with the HDHR and a 4k television. As I mentioned elsewhere here I wasn’t expecting much of a change from the 2nd generation–just buying an additional Fire Cube. Best upconverting I’ve ever seen.

        • mike says:

          fire cube is not a dvr

          • Kary says:

            I should have been more specific. HDHR, Channels DVR and Fire Cube 3rd Generation work really well together. Particularly if resolution is your concern, because the FC 3rd has excellent up-conversion of 1080 material. I’ve seen various forms of up-conversion since HDTV started broadcasting in the US (480 to 1080i), and the FC 3rd is the best I’ve seen. Not sure if it matters, but I’m connected to a current generation Samsung TV, and 1080i material look much better on it now than it did with the FC 2nd generation. I wasn’t expecting any difference in that regard. The tech press really underplayed that new feature.

      • TheTestGuy says:

        I was able to get the app working with a bunch of BS but now that it is working, I like the setup for sure. I will be honest, even with my powered outdoor antenna, I still only have 2 108p stations and 3 720p stations, the rest of the 77 are 480P. The quality is horrible so far, with just the antenna, I get multiple 1080P and some come through at 4k with a ATSC 3.0 tuner. The Tablo is only the old standard ATSC 1.0, kinda a waste.

      • Miku says:

        I just got a tsblo liht dual..my recordings are set to 1080@ 60 fps they look awesome ..no complaints here..

  18. John P G says:

    My 4th Gen OTA DVR arrives Friday. Thought it was worth the test…can always be returned…Would also be more pleased if USB was 3 (external storage)…but $99 is pretty reasonable providing it lasts til at least 2027. I am also a RECAST 4 tuner model owner…but have rarely used it after a move a couple years ago….guess we will restart and with a more current device…

  19. hdmkv says:

    Bought this from Best Buy 2 days ago, but will be returning it. The features and app are nice, but the dealbreaker is poor tuner sensitivity. This thing can’t pick up medium-to-weakish channels my HDHomeRun, TV’s around the house, and even my cheap HomeWork DVR all can.

    • John P G says:

      Ouch, that is my concern…..but I will at least give it the test…clarity on large TVs is not as much of concern for me…since I use 24 and 32 around the house, never really watch on the big TVs unless I watchng something specific. and that is rarely on OTA Tv…..but would have been nice…interface is now a concern based on what others have stated….Guess I want to see for myself.

  20. Richard says:

    No one needs a 2 tuner DVR, non stop tuner in use, non stop shows will not record as tuners in use and all kinds of other things like this. Should have made it a 4 tuners as there ARE 4 tuners in it, just did not enable them for some reason, probably to sell another one later on to the people that bought this then realize how useless 2 tuners end up being.

  21. Thomas Torres says:

    I am a current tablo costomer with a tablo lite. I bought into the hype of purchasing a tablo 4th generation. Major mistake. Setup is not easy, moving from one tablo to another, as they are on different apps and dont recognize your existing account. But the main problem….the 4th generation will not read your saved stuff from your hard drive that was attached to the old tablo. That makes no sense! And tablo does not make that well known on their website. I have a ton of stuff still on my hard drive, so that makes the upgrade pretty useless to me. But the tablo company is MAKING me pay return shipping for something that they didnt make clear on their website. So if you have an existing tablo, dont bother buying a new one if you have things on your hard drive. And the company will not work with there customers on this issue. Wont be buying any new tablos in the future from this company

    • Rik Emmett says:

      With Tivo, you can transfer recordings from one Tivo to another on the same account, but you can’t access recordings directly from one Tivo’s hard drive by connecting it to a second Tivo on your account. No DVR will permit this, otherwise the content could be shared or sold to other individuals. Considering the pricepoint of this device, $99, I doubt they will provide file transfer functionality to multiple tablos on the same account.

  22. John P G says:

    Returned Mine..Not happy with interface, speed of interface, and capabilities…THe ability to DVR does not override the hassle it takes to get things to work. Maybe next time. Purchased via Best Buy…and it been a while….Did not know there return policy is apparently capped at 14/15 days for this type of device….I was lucky enuff to be at day 12.. Guess I will remember next time..and I did not have to pay to ship it back as apparently some other users did purchasing from Tablo directly..OUCH!

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