The never-ending increasing prices for cable television and cord-cutting alternatives (like YouTube TV) in the United States has led to something of a resurgence in popularity for over-the-air television, which can sometimes offer popular live channels with no recurring cost, depending on your geographic location. Tablo has been selling DVRs for years, but now it has a new high-end box ready for 4K over-the-air broadcasts.
Tablo revealed a new DVR this week for CES 2022, the aptly-named Tablo ATSC 3.0 QUAD HDMI Over-the-Air DVR (via AFTVNews). It appears to be the first four-tuner device with ATSC 3.0 support on all four tuners — that means it can record four broadcasts at once, in either 1080p or 4K (depending on if the station supports 4K). ATSC 3.0 is the next-generation broadcast system that is already live in some TV markets, which enables 4K broadcasts, interactivity, and other critical improvements over typical OTA TV.
There are some catches to Tablo’s new box, though. Unlike some competing products, such as the SlingTV AirTV and HDHomeRun Connect Quatro (neither of which has four ATSC 3.0-compatible tuners), there’s no web interface or mobile app for watching live and recorded content away from your TV — you can only watch content on the box itself with its HDMI connection. There’s also no built-in storage, so you’ll need to supply your own USB hard drive or SSD for keeping your recordings. The DVR does support Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet, but network connectivity is only used for fetching guide data and downloading updates.
Tablo is selling the new DVR for $299.99 on its website, which is definitely a lot of money for a DVR, but there’s not really anything else available right now with comparable functionality. Pre-orders will be filled when the box starts shipping sometime this spring. If you’re considering an OTA TV setup, that will give you plenty of time to check websites like NoCable to find out which stations are available in your area (and which offer 4K broadcasts).
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