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First Look: Nuvyyo Tablo review: A geek-friendly DVR for over-the-air TV

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First Look: Nuvyyo Tablo review: A geek-friendly DVR for over-the-air TV

3:40 /

Nuvyyo's Tablo is one of the most promising over-the-air recording solutions in years, but there are just enough quirks to keep it in early adopter territory.

[MUSIC]. One of the best way for cord cutters to keep up with sports and award shows, is using free over the air TV. But, the options for recording that content have always been limited, especially if you don't want the hassle of building a media center PC. Hey, I'm Matthew Moskovciak from Cnet, and the new Vio Tablo is one of the most exciting over the air recording solutions to come out in years. It uses the same concept that Simple TV debuted at CES 2012. Streaming live and recorded over the air TV to devices you already have. Like iOS and Android devices, Roku boxes, the Apple TV, and Chromecast. There's not much to the hardware. It's a simple black box, and on the back there are a few ports, including ethernet, two USB ports, and an antenna input. There's also built in wifi, and Tablo has dual tuner capability, so you can record two programs at once. Also know that there's no HDMI output and that's because, Tablo doesn't output any video, itself. It only streams live and recorded content to other devices on your home network. One of the nice advantages of that, is that, you can put Tablo anywhere that's convenient. It doesn't have to be right next to your TV. In addition to the Tablo box, you also need a USB hard drive and an antenna for Tablo to work. And neither of those are included. The Tablo itself costs $220, plus there's a $5 monthly fee. But, make sure you add in the cost of the accessories to get the true total price on the unit. Now, the user interface for Tablo depends on what device you're using, but they all have similar categories like, Live TV, prime time TV shows, movies, sports, and recordings. The iPad app is the best experience overall, with plenty of screen real estate to navigate listings. Programs load very quickly even over Wi-Fi and skipping through commercials feels almost instant. In the living room, the Roku is the best option, since you get a true on-screen display. But, the overall experience still needs some work. There's only a super basic channel guide, and there's no easy way to skip through commercials. There's a ten-second skip, which means you have to press forward too many times or you can try and fast forward. But since, only the progress bar moves forward, not the screen on the background, you kinda just have to guess when the commercials end. If you do most of your TV watching in the living room rather than on a tablet, the shortcoming do get tired. While I found Tablo to be remarkably reliable in recording my favourite shows. It wasn't quite up to the task with sports. Where Tablo only records the alloted time for games. Now, since most games tend to run a little long, that meant Tablo recordings would cut out before the end of the game. Nuvio said, it's working on a fix, but until then, you're not gonna want to count on Tablo to record sporting events. The most impressive aspect of Tablo, is it's image quality, especially if you choose the highest recording option. Usually streaming solutions like this really struggle with sports, but Tablo actually looks pretty good. And on non-sports content, it can be hard to tell you're not watching regular TV in the first place. So, altogether, there's a lot about Tablo that really impressed me. From its overall reliability to the image quality, and the excellent experience on the iPad. But, the issues with recording sports, and the clunky Roku app, put Tablo squarely in the early adopter territory for now. Even though the technology looks quite promising. If you're willing to live with some growing pains, Tablo is well worth the $220, but mainstream buyers are currently better off with more traditional products like the channel master DVR plus, and the TiVo Romeo. [MUSIC].

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