Tablo Droid turns your Android TV into a DVR

Tablo has announced an antenna streaming dongle and software that turns your Nvidia Shield into a DVR.

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The Tablo Droid.

Photo by Nuvvyo

After a few years without new hardware, the maker of the Tablo streaming DVR, Nuvyyo, is back with some new products for 2017 -- a "smart" antenna dongle with cloud storage, and a USB DVR for Android TV devices.

Tablo Droid

While Tablo has traditionally made networked DVRs, the new Tablo Droid software will let you connect a USB antenna dongle to your Android TV device and use the machine as a "traditional" recorder. Coming first to the Nvidia Shield, the recordings it makes are either saved to the device's own hard drive or to a USB drive.

The software is designed to be used with either the new Tablo Tuner dual-tuner USB dongle or the Hauppauge WinTV-dualHD USB tuner stick.

The Tablo Droid app will be free to download from the Google Play store and include a free 30-day trial of Tablo's guide data subscription. After the trial, you can continue to watch live TV and set manual recordings without a subscription or get 14 days of guide data and one-click recording functions for $3.99 per month.

Nuvyyo plans to release Tablo Droid app on Google Play and make the Tablo Tuner stick available for purchase via the Tablo web store in the second quarter of 2017.

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The Tablo Live

Photo by Nuvvyo

Tablo Live

After a false start with the abandoned Tablo Metro in 2015, the company is now shrinking its signature box down to dongle size: the Tablo Live "Antenna Anywhere" Stick. This is a standalone device that plugs into the power and your antenna and streams glorious HD (720p or 1080i) TV straight to your TV-connected video box (Roku, Apple TV, Fire TV, Android TV, Chromecast) or mobile device.

The biggest difference between the Live and the existing full-fat Tablo is that the Live only has one tuner, whereas the more expensive version has two, so users can watch one show while recording another.

The stick is designed to be used in conjunction with the upcoming Tablo Cloud DVR storage feature, which adds online recording storage and DVR functionality. The Tablo Cloud will be subscription-based and offer a set number of hours of cloud DVR storage for a monthly fee. Pricing, plans and availability will be announced at launch.

Of course, no company has yet launched a cloud DVR service for home-based recordings of over-the-air broadcasts (though TiVo is also said to be working on one with its Mavrik system). Besides the technical challenges, the possible legal implications are anyone's guess. Remember that Aereo -- a subscription service that allowed users to make and stream cloud-based recordings from offsite antennas -- was forced to shut down after broadcasters (including CBS, the owner of CNET) defeated the startup in a 2014 Supreme Court case.

The Tablo Live is expected in Q2 2017 for $99. It -- and the Tablo Droid -- will be arriving in an ever more competitive cord-cutter space, with rival products such as AirTV and Mohu AirWave.

Updated January 5 with additional details and context.


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