How does Tablo Connect work?

How does Tablo Connect work?


When you turn on Tablo Connect, the Tablo will communicate with your home router using the UPnP or NAT-PMP protocol to enable outside access to your Tablo and will contact and register its internal and external IP address with a Tablo network server. As long as UPnP or NAT-PMP is enabled, the Tablo Connect feature should configure itself automatically.


When you are outside your home on the public internet, your Tablo-enabled device will know it’s away from your home network and will contact our server to learn how to reach the Tablo in your home. This is a secure process and only a Tablo application on a device that has been paired and registered on your home network will be allowed to connect to your Tablo.


Please note that no private information is kept on the Tablo server. The only items stored are the IP address, unit name, hidden identifier and port number of your Tablo. This allows your device to contact your home Tablo via the public Internet anywhere in the world.


Setting Remote Streaming Quality


To properly view recordings and live TV outside the home it is often necessary to convert the video to a lower bit rate. This can be because your broadband internet connection has a much smaller upstream bandwidth than downstream bandwidth or because you are using a cellular connection or if you are at a public hot spot that has a poor Wi-Fi connection.


To reach your device outside your home, your Tablo needs to send the video out your broadband connection to the internet. Therefore, the maximum bandwidth you can use to view video when connected by the internet is typically limited by the upstream bandwidth provided by your Cable or DSL broadband connection. Your service provider should be able to provide the specifications of the upstream bandwidth for your service.


To accommodate different Tablo Connect access scenarios, you can set the bandwidth your Tablo will use to stream the video over the internet. Bit rates can be set from 64K to 4 Mbps. When any of these bit rates are selected, the video whether live or recorded will be transcoded in real time to the selected bit rate. This consumes a transcoder/tuner which means that a tuner will be unavailable to record shows or to watch a live TV channel locally. 


Priority is given to scheduled recordings, so if all tuners are busy recording a TV show, you will get a message that says ‘Tuners unavailable for remote viewing’ and you’ll have to try again later once the recordings are completed. If the bitrate is set too high for your internet connection, you will experience stuttering (the video will pause for a few seconds every few seconds or minutes). If this occurs, reset it to a lower bit rate and try again.


The number of remote connections that the Tablo can support is limited to one remote connection, IF any other recording quality other than 'full quality' is selected. This is because any other recording quality will require the Tablo to re-transcode the video while it sends it to your remote device. 


The ‘Full Quality’ setting is an exception. If this option is selected, the Tablo does not convert the video for streaming over the internet and the recording or live TV is played out at the rate that the video was recorded (see recording quality in settings). This does not consume a tuner/transcoder for recordings. Use this option if you have a very fast upstream internet connection (at least 5Mbps for 720p and 10Mbps for 1080p).

If 'full quality' is selected, the number of remote connections that the Tablo can support simultaneously is limited by the number of tuners that the Tablo has (2 or 4 depending on model). 

The ‘Automatic’ setting will be enabled shortly. It will automatically measure the available bandwidth and dynamically vary the video rate to match the bandwidth that is available between your Tablo and device on the internet.


Remote Video Playback


When viewing a recording using a fixed bit rate other than ‘Full Quality’, the video is converted as it is streamed to the playback device.  This conversion happens between 2 and 5 times faster than real time. This means that the behavior of remote video playback is a little different than local playback.


When playback of the recording is first started, the video is always streamed from the beginning and scroll forward through the video will not be possible. As the video plays, the amount of video that is converted will increase faster than it is played back.  


This means that after you have watched half of the video, you’ll be able to scroll forward to the end. The point to which you can scroll will be displayed on the scroll bar on the top right.


For ‘Full Quality’, the recordings do not need to be converted and you are able to scroll to any position in the recording.


Live recordings work the same as for local playback. You can pause video playback and scroll back but cannot scroll forward past live.


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