SHCC WYSIWYG Article from October 2020

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This article was written by Don VanSyckel, the club president, as a part of "The President's Pen".  This article appeared in the October 2020 WYSIWYG newsletter.

Cutting the Cord part 5

by Don VanSyckel

I continue to use my Tablo and Roku. Just a reminder, the Tablo is an over the air recorder for TV broadcasts and the Roku is a streaming media player that connects to the TV. In this case the Tablo streams to the Roku which puts the content on the TV via an HDMI cable.. The good news about the Tablo is it does a good job recording over the air broadcasts. The bad news is commercial over the air channels all have commercials injected into the program. Tablo now offers a "commercial skip" feature. This feature is a small upper to the channel guide subscription so I thought I'd try it. Commercial skip operates by the Tablo analyzing the content, when a commercial is detected the Tablo instantly scan through the commercial to the program and picks up there. The length of the show is shorter due to skipping all the commercials.

What you see when viewing is a flash of the beginning of the commercial and then the program continues. This has eliminated the need to fast forward through the commercials, you can simply watch with no need to pick up the remote. There are some issues from time to time with a program being labeled that the signal wasn't good enough for commercial skip to operate. This seems to be more prevalent on a couple of the local non-network channels. All in all the feature works good enough to continue subscribing to it.

This feature appears to be executed during playback so there is no reduction in disk space required for a recording. In reading the vendor's info about this feature reference was made to using a receiver in the signal processing for commercial skip. So if you have a dual receiver unit like I have and your Tablo happens to be doing two recordings at the time you are doing a play back, the play back will not be able to use the commercial skip feature.

If I knew then what I know now, I would have gotten the 4 channel unit. I don't watch TV live at all, everything I want gets recorded and I watch at my own time and in a shorter time with commercial skip. With my 2 channel unit there were a few times when I tried to record three things at once but the scheduler warns you of the conflict and I took care of the issue. Many shows are shown more than one time and I selected a showing at a different time and end of issue. The 4 channel would enable three recording and play back with commercial skip all at the same time. Play back without channel skip can be done anytime, no receiver needed. I believe from what I've read that there can be more than one play back session but haven't tested how many play back sessions can be done at one time.

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