Tablo 4th Generation DVR Review: Is This Device a Cable Killer?

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In a world where cutting the cord is becoming more of a rescue rope from the rising tides of cable bills, the Tablo 4th Generation DVR sails into view. Is this device the lifeboat for those drowning in subscriptions, or just another drop in the ocean of streaming gadgets? This review aims to unravel the cord of mystery surrounding Tablo’s latest offering. Hold onto your remotes as we dissect its setup, design, app experience, channel reception, recording features, and much more to determine if it’s your ticket to cable-free bliss.

Tablo 4th Generation DVR Overview

The Tablo 4th Generation DVR is priced at $99.95 for the device alone or $129.95 for a bundle that includes a 35-mile TV antenna. Right out of the box, you get the device, antennae, and all the cables needed to jumpstart your cord-cutting journey. At first glance, the compact, all-white design of the Tablo DVR promises a neat, unobtrusive addition to your living room.

Design and Build Quality

The Tablo 4th Generation DVR sports a sleek, practical design that blends seamlessly with white drywall, making it a discreet yet modern companion to your TV setup. Its compact form ensures it won’t hog much space, whether mounted on the wall or sitting pretty on a table.

Setup Experience

Getting the Tablo up and running was a breeze, well, almost. The hiccup came when finding the sweet spot for the antenna. Initially placed on the window, the antenna seemed to be on a signal strike. A wall placement, guided by the Tablo app, did the trick, although the antenna did demand a fresh adhesive strip to stay put post-relocation. The setup, handled via the Tablo app on a smartphone, was straightforward, and connecting to the home network via WiFi was smooth sailing.

App Experience

The Tablo app was tested on an iPhone 14 Pro, 55-inch, and 58-inch Hisense Roku TVs. It performed well, although the lack of a screen casting feature felt like a missed beat. Instead of browsing on the phone and casting to the TV, you’ll need to install the app on the TV itself. While not a deal-breaker, this deviation from the norm of streaming apps did stick out.

App Compatibility

The Tablo 4th Generation DVR comes ready to mingle with a variety of platforms right out of the box. Here’s a rundown of its social circle:

  • Currently Supported Platforms:
    • Roku: Stream live and recorded content directly on your Roku device using the Tablo app.
    • Amazon Fire TV: The Tablo app makes it easy to watch your favorite shows on Amazon Fire TV.
    • Android TV/Google TV: Your Android TV or Google TV gets an invite to the Tablo party with the dedicated app.
    • Android Mobile: Take your TV on the go with the Tablo app for Android mobile devices.
    • iOS Mobile: Apple aficionados aren’t left out; the Tablo app is ready for iOS mobile devices too.
  • Coming Soon:
    • Apple TV: Soon you’ll be able to stream Tablo content directly on your Apple TV.
    • Samsung TIZEN Smart TVs (2020 and newer): Tablo is extending its friendship to Samsung TIZEN Smart TVs.
    • LG webOS Smart TVs (2020 and newer): LG webOS Smart TV owners, keep your eyes peeled for Tablo app compatibility.
    • Vizio SmartCast Smart TVs: Vizio SmartCast TVs are also on the Tablo’s compatibility roadmap.

With such a broad spectrum of compatible platforms, Tablo ensures you won’t need to play musical chairs with your devices. Whether you’re nestled on the couch or on the move, accessing your Tablo content is just a few taps away.

Channel Reception

The journey from antenna to screen concluded with a respectable 77 channels nestled in the guide, a bounty in the world of free TV. While CBS played hard to get, the other channels came through with clarity and gusto. Additionally, the 40+ free ad-supported streaming (FAST) channels were like the cherry on top of the free-TV sundae.

Recording Feature

The recording feature on the Tablo DVR is like having a personal TV butler, minus the top hat. Selecting Jerry Springer episodes or college football games to record was a cinch, and coming back to a well-organized library of recorded content was satisfying, to say the least. Managing recordings, even with the limited onboard storage, was more straightforward than explaining why cats hate water.

Feature Testing

Diving into the feature pool, the live TV streaming, favorites, and recommendations swam smoothly in the user interface waters. However, the 14-day live TV grid seemed to wade through molasses at times, exhibiting a bit of lag. While not a deal-breaker, a tad more speed here wouldn’t hurt.

Whole-Home Connectivity

The Tablo DVR wasn’t shy about sharing, streaming content smoothly on multiple devices including an iPhone 14 Pro, 55-inch, and 58-inch Hisense Roku TVs. The simultaneous streaming held its ground, showcasing Tablo’s ability to play well with others around the house.

Value for Money

With a price tag of $99.95 for the device alone or $129.95 with a 35-mile TV antenna, the Tablo DVR might raise a few eyebrows. However, when considering the content riches it unlocks without the shackles of monthly subscription fees, it begins to shine as a cost-effective entertainer. Especially for those looking to escape the clutches of cable while still enjoying a plethora of channels.


The Tablo 4th Generation DVR strides confidently into the cord-cutting arena, flaunting its sleek design, user-friendly setup, and a treasure trove of channels. Its recording feature is a reliable companion for capturing your favorite shows or sports events. While the 14-day guide could use a jolt of caffeine to speed things up, and the CBS reception was a letdown, the overall performance and value proposition carve out a cozy niche for the Tablo DVR in a cable-free lifestyle.

Technical Specifications

  • Storage: 128GB onboard (expandable up to 8TB via USB)
  • Tuners: Two ATSC 1.0 tuners
  • Connectivity: Dual-band Wi-Fi, Ethernet
  • Supported Resolutions: Up to 1080p
  • App Compatibility: iOS, Android, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Android TV/Google TV (Additional platforms coming soon)

Tablo 4th Generation DVR

Tony Simons

DVR device with tons of live TV and streaming options and no subscription fees.
Design (Sleek, compact, and blends well with decor)
Functionality (Intuitive app interface, reliable recording, minor lag in 14-day guide)
Value (One-time investment with no monthly fees, vast channel access)


The Tablo 4th Generation DVR emerges as a robust contender in the cord-cutting arena, offering a sleek design, user-friendly setup, and a bounty of channels to explore. Its recording feature proves to be a reliable companion for capturing favorite shows or sports events. While the 14-day guide could use a speed boost and CBS reception was a letdown, the overall performance and value proposition carve out a cozy niche for the Tablo DVR in a cable-free lifestyle. Supported by a broad spectrum of compatible platforms, Tablo ensures accessibility whether you’re at home or on the go.

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