Tablo apps are user-friendly for the whole family. Here's an overview of functionality as seen on the Tablo iPad app. The user interface seen below is similar across the rest of the Tablo apps.
The Tablo app is arranged as a set of screens that are accessed through a sidebar menu. To access the sidebar you can either touch the sidebar icon on the top left of the screen or swipe from left to right on the screen (iPad version).
The sidebar icon
The top section of the sidebar indicates which Tablo you are connected to and displays the status of your Tablo including any important messages.
The remaining section of the sidebar is a menu that allows you to select the various screens that control your Tablo including:
- Live TV – This screen displays a grid guide that shows what’s playing on each channel for the next 24 hours. Selecting a channel will start playback of live TV for that channel. Selecting a program in the guide will allow you to get more information on the program and to select it for recording.
- Prime Time – Displays all TV Shows, Movies and Sports events that are broadcast in prime time (7:00 PM - 11:00 PM) for the next 14 days.
- TV Shows – Displays all TV Shows that are scheduled to broadcast in the next 14 days.
- Movies – Displays all Movies that are scheduled to broadcast in the next 14 days.
- Sports – Displays all Sporting events that are scheduled to broadcast in the next 14 days.
- Scheduled – Displays all the programs that you have scheduled to record.
- Recordings – Displays all the programs that have been recorded.
- Settings – Displays the status of the Hard Drive, allows you to set recording quality, scan for channels, edit your channel lineup, and displays the software version of the Tablo firmware and App you are currently running.
- Disconnect – Disconnects the App from the Tablo it is connected to so that you can connect to a different Tablo.
The Live TV Screen:
The Live TV screen allows you to watch live TV on your tablet. The screen is divided into two parts. The bottom part of the screen is a program guide arranged by channel and time. You can scroll up and down to select a channel and you can scroll left and right to select a time. Selecting a program will bring up program cover art and more information on the program in the top section of the display. Selecting the INFO icon will return more information on the program. Selecting the REC icon will record the program that is selected in the guide.
Programs with a yellow triangular flag in the top right corner indicate that the program is scheduled to record.
Programs with a red triangular flag with an exclamation point (!) indicate that that program is scheduled to record but will not be recorded as it conflicts with another recording. (See section on resolving conflicts.)
To watch live TV, you can either select the channel identifier on the leftmost side of the screen or select a program that is currently being broadcast and select the play icon in the information section at the top of the screen.
Playback takes approximately 12 seconds to start when the channel is selected for the first time. This is because the player will not begin playback until it has buffered 12 seconds of video to protect against temporary problems with the Wi-Fi connection.
When a channel is being watched by another user on a different device, or when a recording is in progress on a channel, the channel indicator will pulse red. For a two-tuner unit, if both channels are in use, any attempt to play a different channel will result in an error ‘No Tuners Available’.
Tablo prioritizes recordings over live TV playback. A scheduled recording will cause live TV playback to be stopped if the tuner is needed for a recording.
For live TV, the Tablo operates on last come first served model. If all channels are in use by other users to watch live TV, a new user that begins playing live TV on a different channel on a different device will cause live TV playback on one of the first two devices to be stopped. However, selecting a channel that is playing live TV or recording a program will allow you to join the playback stream for that channel.
For playback of live TV, Tablo has a feature that continues recording on the channel for an hour after the user has stopped watching the channel. This is so the user can re-join the channel and watch live TV without waiting 12 seconds for playback to start. The feature is very useful when you want to rapidly switch between two programs broadcast live on two different channels. A recording will always pre-empt this feature and start a recording if it is scheduled.
The Prime Time Screen:
The Prime Time screen includes all TV Shows, Movies and Sports but filtered to include only programs broadcast during Prime Time (8:00 PM - 11:00 PM Monday - Saturday, 7:00 PM - 11:00 PM Sunday ET).
The menu at the top of the screen allows you to filter programs in the guide by New, Genre or Channel.
- New – Only displays programs that are tagged as New, meaning programs that have not been previously broadcast
- Genre – A menu is presented on the left side of the screen that allows you to filter programs by genre. The menu is sorted by popularity of the genre with the most popular genres displayed on the top of the menu. The numbers indicate how many programs belong to each genre.
- Channel – A menu is presented on the left side of the screen that allows you to filter programs by broadcast channel.
Selecting a program will bring up a pop-up screen with details on the program and allows you to schedule it to be recorded. The pop-up contains different information depending on whether the program is a TV Show, Movie or a Sporting Event. The details of each pop-up screen are described in the following sections.
The TV Show Screen:
The TV show screen displays all TV Shows broadcast on all channels for the next 14 days. In addition to the New, Genre and Channel filters in the top menu, the TV Show screen adds a Premiering filter. The Premiering filter displays only those TV Series that have not had any episodes broadcast in the past.
When a TV Show is selected a pop-up screen will appear:
The TV Show pop-up screen displays a banner picture, plot synopsis, first air date, running time and a list of episodes arranged by seasons.
Selecting a season will display all the episodes that are broadcast in the next two weeks for that season. Selecting an episode will expand the episode to include a synopsis, the channel and the time the episode is broadcast.
A REC button is provided at the program or series level at the top of the pop-up screen. Selecting this REC button will bring up a sub-menu with two series recording options:
- Record all episodes: If this option is selected, Tablo will record every episode for the program or series.
- Record new episodes: If this option is selected, Tablo will record only episodes of the program or series that are marked as new.
Series recordings will record episodes forever. When a new day of program guide data is added, it will be examined for any episodes (all or new) that are part of the series and will set them to record automatically.
The REC button will turn orange to indicate that a series recording has been selected. Touching the REC button again will allow you to unschedule the series for recording, which will cause the button to turn back to grey.
A REC button is also provided for each individual episode. Selecting the button will record only that episode. The REC button will turn orange to indicate that the episode is selected to be recorded. Selecting the REC button again will unschedule the recording and it will turn back to grey.
The Movies Screen:
The Movies screen displays all Movies scheduled to be broadcast over the next 14 days and includes filters for Genre and Channel.
The Movie pop-up screen provides more detail on the movie and includes a REC button to schedule it to be recorded.
The Sports Screen:
The Sports screen displays all sporting events scheduled to broadcast during the next two weeks.
Selecting an event will bring up additional information on the event including which teams are playing for team sports.
A REC button is included for the sport with options to record all events or all new events. A REC button is also included for each individual event to allow only that event to be recorded.
The Scheduled Screen:
The scheduled screen displays all programs that have been selected to be recorded either as a single episode or as a series recording.
The flag on the top right corner of the program indicates whether it is a series recording or just one or more individual episodes.
|This icon indicates that the program is a series recording|
|This icon indicates that there is one episode scheduled to record|
|This icon indicates that the program is in conflict (there are more programs scheduled to record at the same time than the number of tuners) and will not be recorded.|
The Conflict filter at the top of the scheduled screen can be selected to show only those scheduled recordings which have recording conflicts.
An episode will be marked as conflicted if it cannot be recorded because there are no tuners available to record it. For a 2-tuner Tablo, this would occur when there are already two shows scheduled to record in the same time slot. Tablo always works on a first scheduled, first served basis so the recordings that have been previously successfully scheduled to record will be recorded. The program that created the conflict will be marked as conflicted and will not be recorded.
To resolve a conflict, select the resolve conflict button. The conflict resolution pop-up will be displayed.
The Scheduling Conflict resolution pop-up displays a graphical representation of the programs that are scheduled to record at the same time. The conflicted program will be identified with the conflict flag. To resolve the conflict, select the program you do not want to record. A pop-up will be displayed with some details on the program with the option to Record or Don’t Record the program.
In this case selecting the West Wing not to record will clear the conflict. The Scheduling Conflict screen will be updated to reflect the change.
Selecting Done will clear the conflict by causing the West Wing not to be recorded and for Community to be recorded.
The Recordings Screen
The Recordings Screen displays all the programs that have been recorded by your Tablo onto the Hard Drive. Selecting a program will bring up a program pop-up screen with details on the seasons and episodes that have been recorded.
Recordings are visible in the recordings screen shortly after the recording has started and can be watched while the recording is in progress.
Selecting the play button next to the episode will launch the video player to play the selected episode. Selecting the episode, will expand the description to include a synopsis of the episode and a snapshot of the episode a few minutes into the recording.
Select the play button next to the episode to launch the video player. Select the episode to expand the description to show a snapshot and more details on that particular episode.
Selecting the snapshot will also launch the player to play back the video. The episode detail view also provides an option to delete the episode. Once an episode is deleted it is erased form the Hard Drive and is no longer available to be viewed. Deleting a recording that is still in progress will stop the recording and delete it.
The Video Player
The video player controls the playback of the video you have selected to watch. It contains several controls to manage playback.
|Play/Pause button - Push to pause or resume video playback|
|Skip Back 20 seconds|
|Skip Forward 30 seconds|
|Airplay - Select which AirPlay device (Apple TV) to display the video|
|Volume - Controls the volume when playing on the device|
|Aspect ratio - Expands the video to fill the screen|
|Scrubber - Allows you to scroll forward or backward in the video and shows the elapsed and remaining time for the video|
|Done - Stops playback and returns to the Live TV screen|
Selecting the AirPlay icon allows playback of the video to be re-directed to an Apple TV. When the video is being played back on the Apple TV, the video playback screen will indicate that it is in AirPlay mode. The skip, pause/play and scroll bar will continue to operate and will control video playback on the TV attached to the Apple TV. The Tablo App can also be closed during playback and gives the user the option to use any other application that does not display video. You can return to the Tablo App using the multitasking feature of iOS. When the video is playing on the Apple TV, you can also use the Apple TV remote to pause, fast forward or rewind the video.
The Settings Screen
The Settings screen shows the status of the Hard Drive and provides settings to control the operation of your Tablo.
Hard Drive: Identifies the Hard Drive, its status, capacity and the amount of storage space that is used. If the Hard Drive becomes corrupted and unusable, a format option will be displayed to allow the drive to be reformatted to make it usable again.
Recording Quality: The resolution of the video recorded on the Hard Drive can be selected using this control. The options are 1080p, 720p and Standard Definition (480p).
We have found that the best tradeoff in terms of the size of the recording, best use of Wi-Fi bandwidth and quality of the recording is 720p. Selecting 1080p will consume more bandwidth over the Wi-Fi network and will use more space on your disk and may not provide a significant improvement in quality.
Your recording quality also impacts the way the Tablo stores the video on your hard drive. For example: Recording Quality set at 720p = 720p broadcast stored as 720p. Similarly, a 1080i broadcast will be transcoded to 720p and stored on the hard drive as a 720p recording.
If you are streaming video to multiple devices at the same time and experience stuttering (the video pauses and then resumes every few minutes), try reducing the recording quality. However, note that this will only affect new recordings and Live TV. Your old recordings will remain at the bandwidth specified by the quality setting when they were recorded.
Edit Location: This will bring up the Location dialog screen to allow you to change the location of the Tablo. The location is used to find the correct guide data for the broadcast stations in your area. If this is not set to your physical location, incorrect guide data will be displayed.
Edit Channel Lineup: This will bring up the Channel dialog screen to allow you to re-scan for channels or to change the selection of channels that you would like included in the Guide and Live TV screens.
About: This will let you know the software revisions running on your Tablo and App. If a new version of the Tablo software is available, the software version information will be a selectable link. Selecting the link will begin the update process.