When it comes to cord cutting, the NVIDIA SHIELD team is all about helping our community find newer and better ways to consume the content they want, when they want to, and being able to watch and record live TV is a huge part of the cord cutting experience. Enter Tablo TV and their recently released Tablo ENGINE app for SHIELD.
Tablo isn’t new to the world of cutting the cord, but their latest entry into the space, the Tablo ENGINE app is a must try for SHIELD users, as it was designed to take advantage of SHIELD’s powerful processing and the new Tablo TUNER antenna adapter (or a Hauppauge USB tuner), instead of requiring users to buy a dedicated Tablo hardware DVR. Designed to work with compatible USB tuners and HDTV antennas, the Tablo ENGINE app easily lets SHIELD users watch and record HDTV, all for free!
Setup is simple. We installed the WinTV-DualHD USB tuner from Hauppauge and then installed the Tablo ENGINE app from the Google Play store. When you open the app for the first time, the Tablo ENGINE finds the connected USB Tuner and requests permission to access it.
You’ll then be asked to enter your location. The Tablo ENGINE app can find your location automatically or you can enter in your zip code so that you’ll be shown the correct program data in the TV guide.
Next, you’ll be prompted to connect your antenna if you haven’t already done so. Since you’ll be receiving your signal over-the-air, the quality of that signal depends on several factors like antenna placement and your distance from the local broadcast towers. I placed my antenna on the inside of my living room window, but others may need to place their antenna outdoors. Of course, when it comes to antennas and which ones to choose, Tablo has a great guide that you can read here.
I live in Oakland, CA and get a really good OTA (over-the-air) signal. Tablo found 60 channels that I can watch and many of them are even in 1080. Pretty impressive for over-the-air.
Once you’re done scanning your available channels, you’ll be prompted to download a program guide. Depending on how fast your internet connection is, this may take a few minutes as Tablo downloads 14 days’ worth of program data.
Tablo ENGINE’s guide is super intuitive and easy to figure out. The Tablo button on the left side is where you’ll get into the guts of the application. Here you’ll find your various settings including how much storage you may have available and your subscription status.
Tablo ENGINE comes with a 30-day trial subscription. After the first month a subscription is $3.99 / month (or $39.99 / year) which gets you a full 14 days of guide data and full recording capabilities. Without a subscription you’ll only be able to get 24 hours of guide data, and can only watch live TV. So a subscription is recommended to get the most out of the Tablo ENGINE app.
The Live TV grid guide shows you what you can currently watch live and the Recordings screen quickly shows you what you’ve already recorded. When watching live TV you can easily pause, rewind, and fast-forward your programs and you can easily skip through commercials by fast-forwarding. You’ll even be presented with thumbnails so you can know exactly when to start watching again. The Guide button is less helpful as it pretty much shows you EVERYTHING that you can watch / record, and chances are many of those shows and channels won’t interest you. Either way though, it’s a good idea to scroll through it anyway just in case.
When you see a show that you want to record you simply click on that show and choose “All Airings.” You can also select “NEW Airings” if you want to avoid wasting hard drive space on reruns. Once you do that Tablo will just record that show and it will appear in the Scheduled screen.
If you’re a cord cutter you’d be remiss to not try Tablo ENGINE. One caveat though is that you’ll need some rather significant storage in order to utilize the DVR features. I tested out the Tablo ENGINE app on two SHIELD devices, a SHIELD PRO with 500GB and a 16GB SHIELD. If you’re using a 16GB model you’ll have to add an external storage device. In fact, Tablo won’t even finish configuring if it detects that you lack enough storage to take full advantage of the technology.
So there you have it! If you’re a current SHIELD owner then by all means, fire up Google Play and give the Tablo ENGINE app a try. Of course, if you haven’t already jumped on the SHIELD bandwagon then what’s stopping you?! Run out and get a SHIELD today.