Overall the Tablo is easy to use and mimics a cable/satellite interface for ease of use. The ability to use any size hard drive as your DVR is one of its best features. Built-in commercial skip is also an awesome feature. The purchase price of the Tablo and a hard drive is good, but you’ll almost certainly need to pay for guide data after that to actually make it useful ($150 for lifetime subscription for 1 unit only, not your account). Hopefully that $150 will help fund future updates to address some of the issues below.
Web access to the Tablo is limited to pre-configured devices. You can’t access remotely from the web on any web-browser – you have to first sync a laptop while on the same network as the Tablo before you can access remotely from that laptop. It would be nice to login from any web browser to schedule future recordings.
The Android app. works but is very slow to use. Every time you start the app it has to sync up with the Tablo. It takes about a minute to sync the recordings listing and guide information before you can actually start using the app as you’d expect. Another limitation is that you can’t download files from the Tablo for offline playback with the native Tablo application. A 3rd party application, ota2go, does allow for this so clearly it could be added. Another major limitation is that files recorded in surround sound likely won’t play sound on the phone or tablet. This is a limitation of the Tablo app; if you use ota2go to download the file and play the file back with VLC, surround sound files play with sound just fine. So you must choose stereo so it also works with phones and tablets and thus limits surround sound when playing shows at home. A major limitation of the application is that it only displays 1 day of guide data, despite the mobile application being a likely place you’d want to schedule future recordings from. Finally, the application does not support picture-in-picture video playback that was introduced in Android Oreo.
The Roku app has improved, mostly with 14 days of guide data now being supported (in beta at this time). A missing feature of the guide is to select a day in the future rather than having to scroll through days to get to that future date. The Roku app is also slow to startup, but runs quickly once up and synced with the Tablo. Compared to cable/satellite changing channels is slow, but similar to other streaming channels (SlingTV for example).