Tablo and Roku: Subscription Free DVR for Cord Cutters

Table and Roku Logo

Tablo and Roku are a fantastic alternative to paying for expensive cable TV. If you are subscribed to a cable subscription or premium TV streaming subscription, you are paying too much for TV. In fact, according to The Motley Fool, the average cable customer watches only 10-12 channels despite paying for over 200 channels. Survey respondents also indicated that free local stations were among the top viewed channels:

Survey for top channels viewers would pick.

What’s Holding People Back from Cord Cutting?

Over The Air (OTA) digital television broadcasts are 100% free alternatives to expensive premium TV subscription services. However, there are two main items that many subscribers can’t live without:

  • Digital Video Recorder (DVR) – TV watchers want to watch their favorite content when they want to watch that content. They also want the ability to skip commercials and pause recordings while they make a trip to the kitchen. This is a must-have capability, especially for viewers who have grown accustomed to this capability with their premium TV subscription.
  • Premium Content – ESPN attracts many for sports and live events. HBO is the only place you can find Game of Thrones. HGTV has countless episodes of fan favorite home improvement reality TV.

The Solution: Tablo + Roku + Antenna

For under $600, or less than half the cost of one year of DirecTV, you can buy all of the equipment you need to have free HD TV for for life. Sports fans can still get access to all of the biggest events including the Olympics, NBA Playoffs, MLS Soccer games, and NFL Football games from local market teams. You also can get access to all of the most popular Prime Time TV series on FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS, and many more channels. Here’s what the setup looks like:

Tablo and Roku TV setup
Tablo and Roku TV Setup

Tablo+Roku Shopping List

Here’s the list of items that you’ll need to order online:

Tablo QUAD Over-The-Air [OTA] DVRThis is the brain of your whole home TV streaming solution. This powerful device allows you to record four simultaneous channels and save them to your hard drive.$199.99
Roku UltraRoku is the best smart TV hub on the market. Once you plug this device into your TV, you install the TabloTV app to connect to your hub. It’s also a great way to access other streaming content like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+.$73.98
HD Digital AntennaAn antenna is needed to capture the free HD TV signal. This connects directly to the Tablo device. Navigate to and enter your home address to identify the best antenna type for the channels in your area. $29.90
Lifetime TV Guide Data ServiceTV Guide data is needed to schedule recordings and browse the channel catalog. You can purchase a $5/month subscription to test this out. Once you are convinced of the awesomeness of this setup, you’ll want to buy the lifetime data service as you will overwise overpay after 36 months.$179.99
5 TB Hard DriveSave 1000+ hours of HD recordings on a 5TB drive that far exceeds anything you can get with DirecTV or Dish.$104.99
Shopping List

DirecTV and YouTube.TV Comparison

What does it cost you to keep your premium TV subscription so you can continue to use your DVR and access the one or two must-have premium channels?

DirecTVYouTube.TVTablo + Roku
Equipment Fee$14.00 / month$0$0
Base Package$74.99 / month$64.99 / month$0
Recurring Monthly Cost$88.99 / month$64.99 / month$0
One time setup fees
(hardware, activation, installation)
Total cost after 12 months$1,186.83$850.08$588.85
Total cost after 24 months$2,254.71$1,700.16$588.85
Total cost after 36 months$3,322.59$2,550.24$588.85
Cost Comparison between DirecTV, YouTube.TV, and Table+Roku

What about ESPN and other Premium Content?

About twice a year there is a sports game from my favorite college team that isn’t broadcast on any of my local channels. For less than the price of a stadium ticket, I subscribe to SlingTV’s Orange Plan for $35. After the game is over, I unsubscribe and the service is discontinued at the end of the month. On average this ends up costing me an extra $70 per year.

Bottom Line

Switch to Tablo+Roku and you will save thousands without losing the ability to record your favorite primetime TV series or local sport events. Looking for more deals? Checkout the deals category for more money saving ideas.

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