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Out-of-home streaming coming to new Tablo DVR, Nuvyyo CEO says

Company is also still developing an ATSC 3.0 version of its Tablo DVR, but doesn't know when it will be released.

Company is also still developing an ATSC 3.0 version of its Tablo DVR, but doesn't know when it will be released.

The 4th-generation Tablo DVR makes free broadcast television on streaming devices, phones and tablets. (Courtesy photo)
The 4th-generation Tablo DVR makes free broadcast television on streaming devices, phones and tablets. (Courtesy photo)

Television fans who use the newest model of Tablo’s digital video recorders will soon be able to watch live and recorded programming beyond their home networks, a top executive confirmed this week.

In a television interview, Nuvyyo CEO Grant Hall said Tablo engineers are working to develop an out-of-home streaming feature on the fourth-generation Tablo device, similar to one that was offered on legacy, subscription-based Tablo DVRs.

The feature has been one of the most-requested by fans of the new Tablo device, with users taking to online forums and social media asking for the company to bring out-of-home streaming to the model.

Out-of-home streaming was available on legacy, network-connected Tablo DVRs — including the Tablo Dual Lite and Tablo Quad — if a viewer subscribed to the company’s “premium guide” data service, which unlocked other perks for a monthly or annual fee.

The fourth-generation Tablo eliminates those fees while retaining a certain set of core features — namely, the ability to watch free broadcast TV by installing an antenna into the back of the Tablo, then streaming those channels to other devices like a phone, tablet, Roku or Amazon Fire TV Stick.

Related: See The Desk‘s coverage of the Tablo broadcast streaming hardware

The new Tablo model also brings a suite of new features for the first time, including dozens of free streaming TV channels that are available within the same electronic program guide as broadcast TV networks and 128 GBs of on-board flash storage for recording broadcast and streaming channels. (The storage can be expanded out by hooking an external hard drive into a USB port on the back of the Tablo.)

But the 4th-gen Tablo DVR also lost a few features that were fan favorites on the older devices, with out-of-home streaming being at the top of the list.

“That’s a feature we’re looking at adding [again],” Hall said during the interview.

Another feature Tablo fans have been waiting for: The ability to receive broadcast stations that use the new ATSC 3.0, or “NextGen TV” standard. Nearly two years ago, Nuvyyo announced a Tablo model capable of receiving NextGen TV signals, but said it would have to be plugged into the back of a viewer’s TV set using HDMI and wouldn’t allow for out-of-home viewing like its other network-connected models.

Since then, the ATSC 3.0 version of Tablo has experienced production delays, mostly due to ever-shifting standards associated with NextGen TV signals. Earlier this year, Nuvyyo issued refunds to customers who pre-ordered the NextGen TV-capable model, while still affirming the ATSC 3.0 model was in the works.

This week, Hall said the ATSC 3.0 model was still in development, but offered no timeline on when it would hit the market. He also affirmed existing Tablo models would not be compatible with NextGen TV signals at any point in the future.

“It is a physically different broadcast standard; it requires some difference in the hardware and the tuner chips, so the current device can’t be upgraded in software,” Hall said in the TV interview.

When the new ATSC 3.0 Tablo model does launch, “it will be, obviously, ATSC 1.0 compatible — it will do both.”

For the moment, though, Hall says those who purchase new Tablo devices should feel confident that their DVRs will continue to work for several more years.

“For viewers who are worried that ATSC 3.0 might take over, maybe at some point in five to ten years, but the current broadcast standards are that ATSC 1.0 will be around for a long time,” Hall said.

The 4th-generation Tablo DVR is currently available through the Tablo website and on Amazon for $80, down from its retail price of $100.

Nuvyyo is owned by the E. W. Scripps Company.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).