CES 2022: Tablo Unveils its First NextGen TV DVR

(Image credit: Tablo)

LAS VEGAS—At CES 2022, Tablo, a company that specializes in over the air broadcast TV DVRs, announced its first ATSC 3.0 OTA DVR at CES 2022 this week. The QUAD HDMI OTA DVR features four hybrid Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI tuners, offering OTA viewers the ability to receive both ATSC 1.0 and 3.0 standards.

ATSC announced this week that nearly 50% of U.S. households are now within reach of an ATSC 3.0 signal with a flurry of deployments announced in the waning days of 2021, including launches in Top 10 markets Los Angeles and Washington D.C. The association will provide a progress report and look ahead to 2022 at CES 2022 tonight.

The Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI, which is an update to its QUAD HDMI OTA DVR that it released last year, connects directly to any modern TV via HDMI and provides the intuitive Tablo DVR interface.  In addition to the new hybrid tuners, the QUAD HDMI also includes new decoding software to support ATSC 3.0’s audio and video codecs, guaranteeing that all unencrypted video and audio content—including 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) and Dolby AC-4 Surround Sound where available—will be passed through to the television connected to the Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI, the company said.

However, due to technical limitations, including lack of Dolby AC-4 audio support on most streaming devices and Smart TVs, Tablo says the ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI is the first Tablo OTA DVR that will not be able to allow the streaming of content inside or outside the home. Viewing is limited to a single connected television. 

In addition, Tablo’s popular Automatic Commercial Skip will be available on ATSC 1.0 recordings only at this time, the company said. However, fast-forward preview frames will be available on completed recordings from both standards, so viewers can easily fast-forward through ads, even on ATSC 3.0 recordings.

The new standard, however does provide more efficiency as recordings in the NextGen TV broadcast standard require only about one quarter of the storage space on a hard drive (sold separately) as compared to MPEG-2 ATSC 1.0 recordings of similar resolution.

Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI OTA DVR is available for pre-order now exclusively at TabloTV.com for $299.99 with an anticipated ship date of spring 2022. A pre-order deposit of $29.99 is required to secure the ATSC 3.0 compatible DVR from the first production run, with the remainder due at shipping.

Up until now, the market for NextGen TV set-Tablo Debuts its First NextGen TV DVRtop boxes has been limited and only Sony, Samsung, LG (and now Hisense) have offered NextGen TV-capable TVs to U.S. consumers. Since ATSC 3.0 is not backward-compatible, set-tops provide a gateway for consumers to enjoy ATSC 3.0 broadcasts without having to upgrade their TVs. 

The only other ATSC 3.0-compatible set-top currently available is the HDHomeRun Flex 4K ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV: 2/4 Tuners HDFX-4K (opens in new tab) from Silicon Dust (for $199).

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched digitalbroadcasting.com for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (www.tvtech.com), the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.