AirTV vs Tablo: Which OTA Device is Better?

If you fed up with your cable operator and paying extra then, AirTV and Tablo are two OTA devices that can solve your cable connection problems and save you money. Today we are going to compare AirTV vs Tablo and help you to choose the most suitable one.

Both of these cord-cutter devices provide benefits and features of their own. As “over the air” or OTA devices they actually do a pretty great job. You can add an antenna with your TV to get cable channels, but these OTA devices can provide you with way more.

The channels they can provide, the smart features they can provide, their installation and using conveniences, etc. In this Tablo vs AirTV article all will be discussed so that you can have a good idea about both AirTV and Tablo, and then finally make a decision about which device to use with your TV.

Comparison Chart: Tablo vs AirTV

First, let’s have a look at the comparison chart where their different features and specs have been compared.

Ground of Comparison AirTV Tablo
Network Connection Ethernet or Wifi Ethernet or WiFi
Recording Storage All AirTV devices support up to 2 TB of Storage for DVR All Tablo DVRs can support up to 8TB of expanded USB Hard Drive storage.
Ultra HD/ 4K Yes Yes
Need for Antenna Yes Yes
HDR HDR10+ Dolby Vision No
Dolby Atmos Studio No Yes
Installation HDMI Port+ Antenna+Ethernet+ Power Outlet HDMI Port+ Antenna+Ethernet+ Power Outlet
Search Manual+ Voice Manual
Custom Feed & Menu Yes No
Whole-Home Streaming Yes Yes
Out of Home Streaming Yes Yes
DVR Recording Yes Yes
Fewd Previews in Recording No Yes
Auto Extended Live Recordings No Yes
30 Days Free Trial Yes Yes
Voice Control Remote+ Google Assistant No
Customized Remotes Yes No
Remote Shortcuts Yes No
Remote Mic Yes No
Mirroring/ Casting Yes Yes
Tuners 2 4
Roku Compatibility Yes Yes
Android Yes Yes
Apple Yes Yes
Windows Yes Yes
Web Browser Yes Yes
Live Phone Support Yes Yes
Price Lower than Tablo devices Higher than AirTV devices

About AirTV

AirTV solves one of the most seen problems for cable TV watchers, not having access to all the favorite and important channels. It’s a great cord cutter or over the air system that has been brought to market by Dish Network Satellite TV.

This OTA system helps to have access to all the local TV channels of your preference. You can have as many local channels as you want to meet your shows, sports, news watching demands with AirTV.

Channels like HBO, ABC, NBC, The CW, FOX are included in that list of local channels. But the most fascinating deal is that you can stream to Roku with the SlingTV app using your AirTV device.

With the connection to your home WiFi network and your smart device an AirTV system, the HD antenna which will be added with the AirTV system, will pick up the over the air broadcast from local channels.

And it will be completely free. You won’t need a cable subscription anymore once you start using AirTV. And if you sync your AirTV with the SlingTV App, it will give you access to a full range of live channels and they will be added automatically into the channel library of your SlingTV app.

And as the system will be connected through wifi, only one HD antenna will be enough to have multiple AirTV connections.

About Tablo

In short, Tablo is a DBR or digital video recorder and over the air (OTA) service that is operated by a tablet or a web-based program. Tablo uses an HDTV antenna, with which it receives free HDTV over the air signals. And by receiving the OTA signals it enables its users to watch live TV or just record the ongoing program from a channel to an external USB hard drive.

Among all the cord-cutter or OTA devices out there, Tablo has one of the simplest configuration systems. You can just connect the antenna with a Tablo box and then connect the same antenna with your home network.

After doing so, you can start watching the over the air feed on various devices, especially on your TV. The internet connection can be either WiFi or Ethernet-based on your preference, as Tablo supports both.

One thing that you might not like is Tablo devices don’t come with their own remote control, so you have to work with the control system of the device you have connected with your OTA feed.

However, the best thing about Tablo is all the recording systems it provides including live TV and auto-recording, and not to mention the 8 TB of hard drive space for recordings. Even though Tablo might not support HDR regarding picture quality, it still provides a top-notch sound as it supports Dolby Atmos 5.1 surround sound system.

And you can use it with any kind of operating system, you can use it with your Roku device too.

Overview of some AirTV devices

Now let’s look at some of the AirTV devices you can choose for your OTA device needs. Each one of them can be of great service if you choose to use them.

AirTV Player

The AirTV Player is the best of all the AirTV devices. It is a streaming box that helps to run the Android TV operating system. But it doesn’t play the standard android menu, instead, it launches the SlingTV app, where you can stream cable channels for 20 USD per month.

So this device is basically built for accessing SlingTV on your smart TV. The AirTV Player combines SlingTV and other sources into a single interface and it has a Sling optimized remote control. If you add the USB TV tuner and plug it into the AirTV, the SlingTV app becomes more convenient as free broadcasts can be watched from it directly.

AirTV

It’s a 120$ box that gives you the above-mentioned privileges. Live TV video streams are distributed by this device with its dual ATSC tuners.  You can easily stream Roku, Amazon Stick, etc services with this device if you have a subscription to the SlingTV app. However, how good it will work depends completely on the strength of your antenna’s signals and wifi connection.

AirTV Mini

If you are a SlingTV subscriber and plan to keep using AirTV devices, AirTV Mini can be one of the best options for you. As you’ve already known what SlingTV or AirTV app does with the help of an external antenna, this device is no different.

This device is completely built around the streaming service of Sling’s live TV. The Sling app launches automatically with a reboot of the device and to smoothly navigate the app there’s a remote with shortcut buttons. But other than using it for live TV can be troublesome. It is priced at USD 79.99.

Overview of some Tablo devices

Tablo Dual-Lite

The Dual Lite is one of the best versions among Tablo devices that’s a DVR box which streams over the air TV to other devices both outside and inside of the house. It is priced at 140 USD, which is a lot less than its relative Tablo Dual.

It is very easy to set up, like any other typical Tablo device. Moreover, with this device, you can stream TV to a lot of devices. The Dual Lite device will provide you with plenty of options for browsing TV shows and recording them.

It also offers an automatic commercial skipping feature. However, this device can’t uphold the original video or audio quality of the broadcasted shows. They provide a bit of inferior quality. It has 2 tuners as seen in its name.

Tablo Dual

The Tablo Dual came before its successor the Dual-Lite, and even though it is priced more than the Dual-Lite, its recording storage and other facilities are not as up to the mark as the Lite. It is priced at USD 220, which is significantly higher. If you compare AirTV vs Tablo dual then air-tv is much cheaper.

But its storage is not high enough. Also, storage management offers limited options. But why will you buy it? It provides an aesthetic and pleasing design that can complement your home décor well. Its stunning design fits well with households and many people value this a lot.

Also, you won’t need any subscription for basic features. Not to mention all the channels you can watch and the easy setup system. As said in its name, it has 2 OTA TV tuners.

Tablo Quad

The Tablo Quad is the best device among all the OTA and DVR devices of Tablo. It is also priced the most among all the mentioned Tablo devices here, as it is priced at USD 260. It is known for its stylish and simple hardware.

It has an internal SATA drive that is of huge help for DVR purposes. The user interface is very excellent compared to many OTA devices out there. The Tablo software is way more upgraded with this device and it also provides an ad skip and channel guide.

Along with being compatible with lots of devices, it also offers cloud storage which is great. The audio and video quality also gets improved with this device.

Does AirTV provide DVR storage facilities like Tablo?

Yes, AirTV devices provide DVR storage facilities like Tablo devices. In fact, some AirTV devices provide up to 2 TB storage for recordings. However, their storage facilities are not as high and dynamic as Tablo devices. Since Tablo devices offer a lot of aspects in their hard drive storage and a lot of variations in their DVR services.

AirTV

Features

  • Works best with SlingTV
  • Internet connection needed
  • One antenna is enough for multiple connections
  • Works as both OTA and DVR
  • Can be used for free
  • ATSC dual tuners are used
  • HDMI cable is needed

Pros:

  • Provides a huge number of local cable channels including many popular ones
  • SlingTV app gives access to a huge number of services
  • AirTV provides very decent audio and video quality keeps the quality intact of the shows
  • Supports 4K video quality
  • Supports HDR10
  • Supports Dolby Vision
  • Has own remote control system with customizing options and smart features
  • Has Voice control options

Cons:

  • Isn’t compatible with as many devices as Tablo
  • Direct connection with devices is needed
  • No extra ad-skipping features
  • DVR system is not dynamic enough like Tablo
  • Storage is not as high as Tablo

Tablo

Features:

  • No HDMI
  • Commercials can be skipped
  • Recordings can be managed
  • Can be streamed free broadcast HDTV

Pros:

  • Easy to set up
  • Easy to use and control
  • Convenient and dynamic DVR options
  • Works great as OTA
  • Has internal storage for recordings which is great
  • Ad skipping feature is outstanding
  • Streams live and recorded TV to practically any device
  • Streams TV to various devices
  • Many different options for browsing and recording

Cons:

  • All Tablo devices don’t support out of home viewing
  • Audio and visual sources are inferior to the quality of transmission
  • You won’t be able to surf the networks while watching live TV
  • The audio level sounds a little inconsistent and robust
  • 1080p channels seem bumpier than 720p sports and news channels
  • No remote control of its own

Like Tablo, are AirTV devices highly compatible with Roku and other devices?

Tablo is made to be compatible with as many devices as you want. It doesn’t even need to get connected with a TV directly to work. It can be connected with many devices including windows, android, iOS devices, and also Roku, Amazon Firestick devices easily and then you can enjoy the OTA service via Tablo.

However, with AirTV it’s not as simple as AirTV devices are not compatible with this many devices. But with the SlingTV app, AirTV can also work with many devices. Specially AirTV works well with Roku devices, if not with other ones.

AirTV is compatible with android, windows, and iOS too. However, it’s not compatible with many other devices, as you can’t use them both at the same time, whereas you can use Tablo by connecting to those devices. AirTV needs a direct connection, and Tablo doesn’t need it, which makes it more compatible.

AirTV vs Tablo: Side by Side Comparison

AirTV vs Tablo: Ease of Installation

AirTV devices are more complicated to set up than Tablo. To set up AirTV devices you need to connect the device with the TV with an HDMI cable, which is not needed in the case of Tablo. The device will have to be connected to its own power source and especially, it has to be connected to the internet through wifi or Ethernet cable.


But the most important thing is, an HDR antenna is needed to make the AirTV devices work, otherwise the SlingTV app won’t be able to catch local cable channels. Then you can pair your AirTV remote with the AirTV device and log in with your Google account or subscribe to the SlingTV app to start enjoying the system.

For Tablo, except the getting connected directly with the device through the HDMI port part, the rest of the installation process is the same as AirTV. While setting up a Tablo device, you can just plug in an antenna and a hard drive, then connect it to a power source, and for internet connection hook it up with an Ethernet cable to your router, and finally follow the guided setup through Tablo’s website or mobile apps.

After scanning for channels for a few minutes and downloading guide data, you’re ready to use the device and watch and record over-the-air channels. So, we can see Tablo provides an easier installation system than AirTV.

AirTV vs Tablo: Antenna Placing Options

Antenna placing is really important for OTA devices. Without being able to transmit over the air channels properly, the antennas of these devices are of no use. So the antenna has to be set up in a suitable place with a reliable receptor. However, in the case of Tablo, you can place it anywhere in the room. And the same goes for AirTV devices. So, in this case, they provide the same services.

AirTV vs Tablo: Quality of Content

AirTV provides far better quality with its contents than Tablo. We already know that Tablo fails to provide the original video and audio quality of the shows from OTA channels. You will have to enjoy the shows with a lower video resolution and audio quality.

Tablo devices don’t support Dolby Vision or 4K. They also don’t support HDR. So as a whole, in order to use Tablo, you will have to compromise with the quality of the showed contents.

But this won’t happen with AirTV devices. The devices provide great quality with the shows you will watch with them. You will get an intact quality of audio and video. Moreover, AirTV supports HDR10. They also support 4K and Dolby Vision, which provides a great video quality for the shows you will watch. So overall, AirTV devices provide better quality than Tablo devices.

AirTV vs Tablo: Interface and Remote

As AirTV devices are used with the help of the SlingTV app or AirTV app, the interface of the AirTV devices is actually the interface of the app. And the latest interface of the SlingTV app is a really smart one, it features a view with your favorite contents and custom recommendations.

It has a contextually aware UI, that adapts to customer behavior based on device type, popularity, location, etc. And enhanced content discovery has improved content selection and search navigation. And not to mention, AirTV comes with remote control of its own, which supports customizing options, voice control, etc many facilities.

AirTV vs Tablo Remote_soundboxlab.com

Tablo misses out big time with the remote control system as it doesn’t provide one of its own. So all the additional features that come with the remote are absent. But the interface of Tablo devices is quite decent.

Though the interface can’t be customized, you can easily find the channels and shows you want to watch, and also the recording and all other options are on the front too. So overall, AirTV does a better job in these aspects.

AirTV vs Tablo:  Ad Skipping Feature

Commercial ads that pop up in between watching a show can be really annoying at times, even though they are important for business growth. And Tablo devices provide a great ad-skipping feature, with which you won’t have to get bothered by ads that pop up while watching something.

On the other hand, AirTV’s ad-skipping feature is not up to the mark.

AirTV vs Tablo: Number of Tuners

All the AirTV devices come with 2 tuners. They work well with the 2 tuners they have, as they use ASTA tuners. On the other hand, while some Tablo devices are dual tuners, there are devices like Tablo Quad that offers 4 tuners, which makes the device a great one for catching over the air signals.

You can have a better hold on more OTA channels with the work f more tuners. And the video quality also gets significantly better with more tuners. So, Tablo Quad has an upper hand over AirTV devices in this case.

AirTV vs Tablo: Whole Home Support

Tablo helps its users to broadcast OTA HDTV content live and record it on six devices simultaneously on their local system. However, You can easily stream live TV with AirTV too, but the recording option is not as dynamic as Tablo. You can just record live TV on the device you are currently watching the show.

AirTV vs Tablo: Out of Home Streaming

Tablo Connect is a subscription-only feature that can be conveniently activated on the settings screen of the Tablo device, enabling a user to access live or recorded home TV anywhere in the world through Tablo over Wi-Fi or cellular data connections. The same goes for AirTV and with its SlingTV app. With a subscription to Sling, you can catch live TV or recorded shows from anywhere in the world.

AirTV vs Tablo: App and Device Support

AirTV mainly works with your smart TV, and it also works with other devices like smartphones, iPads, etc. It supports many external devices for watching live TV and other streaming services. AirTV supports Roku devices too. Many gaming devices are also supported by AirTV. With the Sling app, multiple devices can be smoothly handled.

Rather than operating with a single TV like the traditional OTA DVR, a network-based OTA TV solution has the most significant advantage of being capable of providing support to many devices.

Tablo OTA DVR supports the ability to set and handle videos on smartphones, iPad, etc, Live TV and tracks viewing and the bulk of streaming video set-top boxes, smart TVs, and gaming consoles that use free and easy to use Tablo apps.

Difference between TiVo and Tablo DVR

AirTV vs Tablo: Live TV and DVR Support

Tablo Applications feature a live TV grid that highlights programs that are getting broadcast currently and over the next 24 hours. Tablo over the air DVRs is equipped for streaming TVs and digital antenna capture.

Subscribers have access to easy to use recording tools like serial recording, Netflix-style guide for shows airing over the next two weeks, and auto extending for live programming such as sports. Tablo’s short display thumbnails and manual capture feature that make advertisements easy for missing are included free of charge.

AirTV also provides a lot of support for Live TV if you decide to use the SlingTV app. Cause most of its conveniences come with the Sling app. You will get access to Netflix and many other services, live cable channels, and obviously, live recording options. But overall, Tablo provides a way better DVR service than AirTV.

Find out the perfect device for Sling TV

Final Verdict

If you are looking for a device that doesn’t require much attention and tech knowledge, and also can provide all the cable channels easily without any hassle, you can go for Tablo. However, their price is a bit higher than AirTV.

On the other hand, AirTV comes as a complete package, as other than OTA services, AirTV provides a huge amount of services and also great quality, though it misses out on dynamic DVR qualities. So, even though AirTV does a great job, you can also choose Tablo based on your preferences.

Which OTA Tuner is more suitable for TV

FAQ

Is having internet access is a must to operate Tablo?

Ans. Yes. To use Over-the-Air DVRs from Tablo, you need internet access. Tablo is a network-connected computer, like many digital devices, intended to provide reliable high-speed internet connectivity and cannot run optimally without it.

Is it must to have a Sling subscription to use AirTV devices?

Ans. Even though AirTV is optimized for the SlingTV app, you can still use them without a paid subscription to Sling. You can sign up for a free SlingTV account and enjoy free shows.

Are there monthly fees for AirTV?

Ans. You can use AirTV devices without any monthly costs. But for having access to specific apps and services like Sling, Netflix, etc you will have to pay monthly subscription fees.

Does Tablo completely co-operate with Roku?

Ans. On the latest Roku 1-4 and HDMI stick generations, the Tablo app is supported. Using Tablo Connect (our out-of-home streaming feature) via the Roku app is not currently feasible. Select the Tablo channel, then select the Tablo that you would like to connect.

Can you use AirTV and Roku on the same TV?

Ans. Yes, you can connect them on the same TV if the TV has multiple HDMI ports to keep them connected at the same time. However, you can’t access them at the same time. You will have to access only one at a time.

Does Tablo disturb live TV?

Ans. No, there will be no disturbance. With Tablo, you can pause live and captured TV. From live TV, you can even rewind and fast forward.

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