Playback Issues - Audio/Video & Power

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Level 8

Playback with "Tablo" App

Hi all.

I was considering posting this over in the sub-forum of "Network - Wireless & Wired Connections", but will try here in the "Playback Issues" section.

I haven't contacted Roku Support yet and thought I'd try here first; not just on Roku's forums, but on many company's forums you can receive quite useful feedback and advice from fellow customers who have varying levels of experience & expertise.

Some of you may have heard of the company/ device known as "Tablo"; we have their Tablo Quad (and as its name implies, it has 4 tuners).  We've had the device for about a year now and are very pleased since cutting the cord with satellite TV.

And just to let you know, with what I'm about to inquire about, yes, I've already contacted Tablo Tech support.

In case you're not familiar, a Tablo device takes free over-the-air TV channels and can record them on a DVR (inside of the device I inserted my own 1-TB SSD).  Besides your own antenna, you also have to have an existing Internet connection for the Tablo to work (the connection can be wired or wireless).

And to control the Tablo and browse its menu, you use the Tablo app on devices such as......a Roku!!  Smiley Happy

I have a Roku Ultra.  And besides the Tablo app, we also subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, etc.

We have a high-speed Internet connection with over 80 Mbps download speed.

Since owning the Tablo (and I'm sure what other Tablo owners know, too), I'm aware of two common issues concerning playback:

 - When watching a program, if the picture breaks up, pixelates, gets choppy and the sound also clips & chirps, then this is a reception issue with the antenna: You may be too far away from that station, or, the antenna that you have may be pointed in the wrong direction or may not be a "strong" enough antenna.

 - When selecting a channel and it takes an inordinate amount of time to tune in (Tablo will display a "spinning circle" icon on-screen as it attempts to tune in the channel, or, the channel is playing but then you suddenly lose it and it goes to that "spinning circle" icon), then this is usually indicative of an Internet connection issue (the "spinning circle" icon is akin to buffering).

With the 80+ Mbps download speed we have, connection speed has never been a problem.  When we use the apps of, say, Netflix or Hulu, there is not buffering.

With the Tablo app's Settings, you can adjust things like Live TV Quality and Recording Quality.  I've tried things like HD 1080 – 8 Mbps, HD 720 – 5 Mbps, and HD 720 – 3 Mbps.  When you use the higher end settings (HD 1080 – 8 Mbps), it will use up more bandwidth.

Now, here's what I've told Tablo support, and here's what I'll tell you (and Table support thinks I'm correct and on the right path):

It's not that I am not able to receive certain channels and only get the "spinning circle" icon; I can receive all local channels in my area (I have a roof-mounted Channel Master 60 Mile+ antenna), but when I change channels, I get that "spinning circle" icon for about 12 to 15 seconds.

I know; first-world problems Smiley LOL

But here's the weird thing:  On my desktop computer (Windows 10 Pro operating system), I also have the Tablo app.  When I change channels, it takes about....3 to 4 seconds.

I also have an Android-based cell phone, and yes, there is a Tablo app for this, too.  When I change channels, it takes about.....3 to 4 seconds.

So, my desktop PC and my Android-based cell phone can zip through channel changes fast with no issue.  My Roku Ultra?  Not so much.

Anybody have any idea why?

And, for your edification, here are some things that the Tablo support rep said:

"Buffering is not necessarily due to internet speed. You can have a great upload and download speed, but if your router is sending traffic slowly on your local network, this will result in buffering."

"I suspect that the traffic between the Roku and the router may be the bottleneck here - especially when compared to the Windows 10 PC and then Android phone."

"Roku uses a shared pool of memory for all of its applications. If you have a lot of applications on it, it might be running into a memory issue, but more then likely, its local network connection speeds are inconsistent. The reason you notice this on the Tablo vs on Netflix or Prime is that these services are streaming from a remote server and do use your internet connection. The remote server does most of the heavy lifting and can utilize something called adaptive bitrate to update video playback on the fly as network conditions change. The Tablo is unable to do this and relies solely on your local routers' ability to stream video."

So, any ideas?

The Tablo rep mentioned my router.  If anybody has any ideas there, I can access my router by logging into it with the admin name & password.

I'd appreciate any info, tips, or suggestions.



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3 Replies
Level 7

Re: Playback with "Tablo" App

Same issue here.  Problem just started a few days ago on one roku.  Two other rokus work fine with Tablo app.  It is a premiere + and the others are lower versions although new.  Problem is inconsistent.  It will play some shows but not others.  Spinning circle seems to be most prevalent on older recorded shows.  I think I just got an upgrade on the roku software  about the same time these issues started.

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Level 8

Re: Playback with "Tablo" App

Hi webfire; wow, I didn't think I was ever going to receive a reply Smiley LOL

At this point, I have contacted and heard back from both Tablo and Roku Tech Support.  The responses from both "sides" were pretty good & informative, seemed to come down to a variation on "He said/ She said", if you know what I mean  Smiley Very Happy

Both my Roku Ultra device and my Tablo Quad DVR are roughly a year old, and, they were brand-new and the "latest" at the time of my purchase of those items; so....they're not too old.

As I mentioned in my original post, if I use the Windows 10-based Tablo app, or, the Android-based Tablo app for my cell phone, the channels tune in in about 4 seconds.  But when I use the Roku-based Tablo's between 12 and 15 seconds.  I know, I'm being impatient & picky, but it's still strange that it takes this long.

The Tablo Support rep mentioned my router & local network; I guess anything's possible, but, I just find that doubtful.  I don't have buffering or long load times on anything else.  I even have the Plex app on my Roku, and I can stream digital content from my desktop PC to the Roku to be displayed on my television....with no long delays or buffering.

webfire:  What do you mean by "It will play some shows but not others"?  When you say "shows", are you referring to one of your local TV stations/ channels for wherever you live?  That might be a reception issue (antenna), not Internet/ Network.

And you also said "Spinning circle seems to be most prevalent on older recorded shows".  If you get the spinning circle (buffering) from shows you've already recorded, that can be contingent upon the quality of the hard drive (or solid state drive) and the speed of your network connection.

And, you mentioned upgrade on the "Roku software"; Roku - and Tablo - auto-update all the time, and I even check manually on occasion just to make sure I have the latest.

I'm beginning to lean toward the issue being with the Tablo app for Roku (not the Windows 10 or Android app).  When I first got the Tablo (and Roku Ultra player) about a year ago, I don't remember these long wait times when I changed the channel; it was probably somewhere between 5 or 8 seconds.


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Level 7

Re: Playback with "Tablo" App

When I said it would play some shows - I was referring to shows I have already recorded.  I click on a show recorded today, and it comes right up.  I can get live tv with no buffering problems.  I have good internet speed up and down and the router is close to the roku units.

I think it is the Roku unit. I have two others set up on the same network and they work fine with the Tablo app.   I have been using the tablo app for a year now and this is the only issue I have had.  I just put a good roku on the tv we use the most and will not worry about it - unless they go bad - lol!

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