Apple TV Gets Its Own DVR, Courtesy of Tablo

tablo apple tv
Courtesy of Tablo

Want to watch and record live network TV with your Apple TV? You can, some time this spring — if you also own a Tablo DVR, that is.

Ottawa-based digital video recorder maker Nuvyyo is using this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas to preview a new Apple TV app for its Tablo DVR, which will allow users of the device to watch live and recorded TV programming from networks like ABC, CBS or Fox without the need for a cable subscription.

Tablo has been selling its networked DVR for some time. The $200 device uses an over-the-air antenna to record broadcast programming, and then stream it to phones, tablets and TV-connected devices. Tablo previously released apps for Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV and Android TV, and also announced a new app for LG’s webOS smart TVs at CES this week.

The Tablo DVR is primarily targeting cord cutters, and it’s still a bit of a do-it-yourself solution: Consumers need to attach their own hard drive to the DVR, and there is a $5 a month subscription fee for TV guide data that’s necessary to schedule recordings for up to 14 days in advance.

Still, by tapping into over-the-air broadcast signals, Tablo is offering what Apple itself wanted to do for a long time: Live broadcast television on Apple TV devices for consumers who don’t want to commit to a traditional pay TV bundle.

For years, Apple tried to strike deals with broadcasters and cable networks to offer its own TV service through Apple TV devices. Negotiations went nowhere in part because Apple was looking to include local broadcast networks, which meant that the company not only needed contracts with the big networks, but also countless local affiliates.

After giving up on an all-encompassing TV service, Apple has resigned itself to the idea of TV as an app ecosystem, and is instead offering apps from broadcasters and cable networks alike. Most of these apps do however require consumers to sign in with their pay TV credentials, while others are based on stand-alone subscriptions.

Tablo’s Apple TV app is the first to squarely target cord cutters with live TV on the device, which goes to show that startups sometimes can solve problems that are too complicated for the big guys to tackle.

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  1. I bought my tablo about 2 months ago. Just love it. I use to have uverse but they my monthly bill went up to almost two hundred dollars a month. And that didn’t include any special channels. Tablo and my antnena give me exactly what I want. I can still record up to 4 channels at one time. My new bill is around fifty dollars a month now and that is for intenet.

  2. jocelyn hampton says:


    Every Act of Kindness Grows the Spirit and Strengthens the Soul


    • Tony says:

      Joselyn, maybe you bought a defective Tablo and had terrible experience with it. However Tablo is pretty decent product and it does work fine for me and many others. I have been without cable for almost 2 years now and it was thanks to Tablo.

    • Randy says:

      Not sure where you come off telling everyone this product is terrible, i have been using it for a year and have really liked it, they have also added some awesome updates recently that have gotten rid of a few bugs on my roku.

  3. ” there is a $5 a month subscription fee for TV guide data that’s necessary to schedule recordings for up to 14 days in advance.”

    …hey folks. Channel Master DVR+ is just as good as Tablo and there’s no $5.00 monthly subscription charge to access the tv guide data. It is cheaper too.

    • Tony says:

      It is true you can get Channel Master DVR without a monthly subscription, but Channel Master DVR cost more to buy and it only work on one tv only. You can’t use Channel Master DVR on an Ipad, Phone or multiple TV unless you buy more than one Channel Master DVR. Also you can’t remotely acces Channel Master DVR away from home like Tablo. I did my research about a year and half ago when I was looking to cut cable forever and between Tablo and Channel Master, I picked Tablo. Now if you prefer to have just one TV, with no remote access outside home and no monthly fees, by all means get a Channel Master DVR, but to me and many others, I believe Tablo is pretty good solution for cord cutters. Mine has worked fine with some minor issues that has been resolved with updates. I just wish I didn’t live in a building so I can get better reception on some channels, but with hulu plus I can complement those channels.

  4. Jocelyn Hampton says:

    Please do your research before buying this product. The reviews are beyond terrible. I am surprised Variety didn’t do their homework on this before making a big splash…shame on you guys.

    • Steve says:

      What exactly is terrible about the tablo? I’ve had one for over a year and had no issues on anything except a roku and that has to do with the roku itself, I have a fire tv as well as iPads and IPhones which it works great on as well as AirPlay to my Apple TV.
      Your comments aren’t applicable at all, it sucks because you say so?

  5. If you get a lifetime sub to Tablo, there is no monthly fee. This may actually be the thing that pushes me away from the Roku 4.

  6. Russell says:

    Why wouldn’t you just get a Hulu subscription and an antenna? That’s what I do and it’s seems like this would be more of a hassle.

    • Randy says:

      DVR Sports, no commercials, own a tablo and hulu subscription and try to watch what i can on the Tablo over hulu. Use a roku 3

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