In the world of stuff, Tablo is the set top box for people who are really satisfied with less, but would like to get it on their own terms. This is a device, still in the pre-market phase, that lets you record over the air television but really, that’s it.
Tablo. then, is for people who just say no, a little. But that's a growing number of people who don’t really want to spend a bundle to get a bundle of channels they don’t watch.
In short it lets you browse, record and stream over-the-air HDTV from any device, eliminating the cable or satellite bill.
"It’s for people who don’t want to pay for 500 channels they don’t watch. That’s the demographic we’re aiming at,” says Grant Hall, the CEO of the company based outside of Ottawa. Tablo also comes with an easy to navigate electronic program guide, and an easy way to segregate channels you’d likely watch from the many HD subchannels—religious, shopping or foreign language channels—you’d probably never care to view.
Tablo depends on you to get the TV antenna, and the TV for that matter. And you need to buy the hard drive. So what Tablo consists of is the box that records the over-the-air fare and streams it to the assorted connected devices. Apps for Android and iPhone will be part of the package.
Right now, you can help support its development and help create the kind of consumer feedback it wants by visiting Indiegogo, where Tablo is seeking to raise $50,000. As of today, it’s only reached a little over half that much on the crowd sourcing site, but mostly Tablo is there to solicit and gauge interest, not to raise money.
And in the market is not alone, though Hall thinks it’s a better mousetrap he’s selling. SimpleTV already is in the market—though it seems a lot clunkier-- and Aereo, you might think, creates the broadcast only/no frills thing easier. But Aereo is not available everywhere, and ultimately would probably end up costing much more.
Tablo will cost $200 for a two-tuner box, and $250 for a four-tuner, with a very small monthly fee, mainly to support the program guide. That makes it attractive though how attractive won’t be known for awhile. Tablo will be officially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and go on sale after that. For consumers who have smartTVs or subscribe to online video services, a thing like Tablo seems to be just the ticket. It’s enough to give you local stations and network TV for big sports and whatever mainstream media viewers might want and a way to record it. It is, Hall warns, not the solution for people who live on the outskirts of TV stations’ signals, but beyond that, it seems perfectly simple, and for a lot of people that could be just simply perfect.