Apple TV Gets Its Own DVR, 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.

Popular on Variety

More Digital


    Netflix's Podcast Slate 'Deepens' Space Around Original Content, Programmers Say

    It should come as no surprise that, in its quest to become a full-blown entertainment ecosystem, Netflix has built a roster of podcast programming to complement its scores or original series and films. The programs recruit top talent and hosts to hang out and talk about the streaming giant’s TV and film content. It’s a [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Is Testing Human-Curated 'Collections'

    Netflix, a company powered by the strategic use of data, relies on artificial intelligence to suggest new content that its streaming customers are likely to be interested in. Now it’s looking to potentially add a human touch: The company has launched a limited-scale test of “Collections,” a new feature that presents groups of movies and [...]

  • wolves in the walls emmy

    Neil Gaiman VR Experience 'Wolves in the Walls' Wins Primetime Emmy

    “Wolves in the Walls,” the virtual reality (VR) experience based on Neil Gaiman’s children’s book by the same name, has been awarded with a Primetime Emmy for outstanding innovation in interactive media. The experience has been produced by San Francisco-based immersive entertainment startup Fable, which puts a big effort on making the viewer a participating [...]

  • The Void San Francisco

    The Void Teams Up With Sony Pictures for New Location-Based VR Experience

    James Murdoch-backed virtual reality (VR) startup The Void has teamed up with Sony Pictures Virtual reality to produce a new location-based VR experience, according to Curtis Hickman, the startup’s chief creative officer. Hickman revealed the partnership in a conversation with Variety this week, during which he also outlined plans to bring more original IP to [...]

  • US President Donald J. Trump speaks

    Apple Stock Down 4.6% After Trump ‘Orders’ Companies to Leave China

    Apple’s share price was down around 4.6% Friday at the close of the market, to $202.64 per share, after President Trump took to Twitter to “order” U.S. companies to leave China. The slide came amid a market-wide sell-off, with the NASDAQ sliding 3%, and the Dow dropping 623 points. Trump’s edict was a response to [...]

  • Former head of CAA China Peter

    Peter Loehr to Spearhead Asia Expansion of Genies Avatar Venture (EXCLUSIVE)

    Peter Loehr, the former head of CAA in China, and seasoned music executive John Possman have been tapped by digital avatar company Genies to lead its expansion into Asia. The company’s proprietary avatar technology allows users to express ideas, thoughts and feelings in a different way from text, audio and video. Within the app and [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content