LAS VEGAS—Cord cutters, rejoice! There are tons of great products coming your way from CES 2014 that are aimed at people who like to stream their content, as well as those who want to watch and record over-the-air TV. Tablo is both.
Tablo is a DVR from Nuvyyo that connects to any HDTV antenna and joins your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. You also have to plug it in to power and attach any USB hard drive, and then that’s it.
I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, it doesn’t connect to your TV?” No, no it doesn’t.
Instead, Tablo uses an Android and iOS app for setup and control. The app is where you’ll browse your channel lineup, watch live TV, schedule recordings, and play back recorded shows. There’s no dedicated remote control, either—there’s just the app.
This lets you take your TV anywhere. You can log in on your phone or tablet from wherever you are and watch live TV or whatever you’ve recorded. Your TV at home doesn’t have to be on because your TV isn’t even involved in this process. If you do want to watch on a TV (and who wouldn’t?), the app supports streaming to Roku and Apple TV, with Chromecast coming soon.
The app has a great interface, too. Instead of just a boring list of shows, your recordings are laid out in a neat grid with attractive cover art, so the experience is more like browsing Netflix or Hulu. You can access live shows from a familiar channel guide, or you can see them in a grid view too, which includes the next two weeks’ worth of programming. There are even helpful submenus that let you isolate certain kinds of content, such as sports, movies, and prime time.
Navigation is quick, playback is smooth, and a helpful little button lets you skip ahead 30 seconds so you can blast through a commercial break with just a couple of taps.
Nuvyyo is taking preorders for the Tablo now, with units scheduled to ship in February. The initial two-tuner model retails for $220, and there is a $5 monthly fee to cover the programming guide (you can opt to pay $50 for a year or $150 for lifetime subscription). A four-tuner model is coming this spring with an anticipated price of $250.
We’ll have a full review when we can test the hardware, but based on our hands-on time, this cross between a TiVo and a Slingbox seems like a worthy investment.