Tablo used CES to announce the new Tablo ATSC 3.0 Quad HDMI OTA DVR. The ATSC 3.0 tuners are what sets this device apart from their extensive line of products. ATSC 3.0 is a relatively new standard for over-the-air (OTA) tuners. The standard’s support of 4K resolution with HDR is the most notable new feature. Half of US homes should have access to ATSC 3.0 broadcasts by this summer.
Tablo’s ATSC 3.0 DVR has four hybrid tuners that support ATSC 1.0 and 3.0. The only comparable device on the market is from HDHomeRun, and their device only has two ATSC 3.0 tuners.
The new device is part of Tablo’s line of DVRs meant to be plugged directly into a television. That’s why it has HDMI in the name. Many of their other devices sit on a network, and you need to stream the content through apps.
The ATSC 3.0 tuners are the primary difference with this product. It still supports most of the other features Tablo bakes into their DVRs. It has an on-screen channel guide and supports up to 8TB hard drives. There are two other differences, though. Tablo’s automatic commercial skipping feature only works with ATSC 1.0 sources. The same is true for whole-home streaming. You can only view content from this DVR on the TV to which it is attached. This limitation is because most streaming devices don’t support the new codecs being used by ATSC 3.0.
The codecs used by ATSC 3.0 broadcasts may prevent easy streaming, but they do have another huge benefit. They are more efficient than those used by ATSC 1.0. That means a recording could consume one-quarter of the space of an ATSC 1.0 recording on your hard drive. You’ll need that space when your local network starts broadcasting in 4K. Those shows will require about 9GB of storage per hour.
As a reminder, Tablo’s DVRs are of the bring-your-own hard drive variety. So the $299 price tag for the Tablo ATSC 3.0 Quad HDMI OTA DVR doesn’t include storage. If you live in an area that already has support for ATSC 3.0, the cost of a hard drive shouldn’t dissuade you from buying. The ATSC 3.0 DVR will be shipping this spring. You can pre-order it right now. For more details about the device and the benefits of ATSC 3.0 visit the Tablo blog post here.