Thursday, June 2, 2022

Tablo dropping the ability to skip commercials

I'm a fan of Tablo. I like what it does.

I have a network-connected Tablo device, the Quad Tuner device that allows me to watch live TV over my network to any connected device. That means I can watch live TV or recorded shows from any Roku, Fire TV, Google/Android TV, or Apple TV device on the network.

And, off network, I can watch live TV or recordings on any of my non-Roku devices via Tablo Connect. For some reason, Roku doesn't support Tablo Connect, or Tablo Connect doesn't support Roku. One or the other. Or both.

Tablo Connect is a feature you can use if you have a Tablo subscription. It's $5/month, $50/year, or $180/lifetime. I have the lifetime subscription. You also get the 14-day guide. Without a subscription, it's a one-day guide and no out-of-home streaming. I prefer the 14-day guide, and the ability to watch out of home on occasion.

Tablo has another subscription though. Or had. Or has but soon to be had. Lemme explain.

Tablo Premium Service is $2/month, or $20/year. It skips commercials. And it works mostly. Almost all recordings I've done do skip the commercials. However, I found out that it really isn't that important to me, so as the one-year term came to an end, I canceled.

Apparently, not everyone used the feature, either because they didn't know about it, didn't understand it, or didn't care about it. I ended up in the third group. Regardless of group, the demand for the service was underwhelming, so Tablo is ending the service.

The engineering, support, and cloud computing resources required for Automatic Commercial Skip have been significant and the uptake on the Premium Service subscription has not been as strong as we’d anticipated.

For this reason, we made the difficult decision to sunset Automatic Commercial Skip to focus on higher demand features.

I'm not sure if NextGen TV (ATSC 3.0) is a contributing factor. I understand there are some technical challenges that Tablo has faced, causing them to delay new NextGen TV devices.

So, if you use the service, and keep the subscription active, you'll keep the feature. But if you drop the service, then after July 19, 2022, you lose it for good.

It was not a factor in my Streaming Life, so I didn't use it, and as a result, won't miss it. But if you use it, or want to try it, you have a month and a half to decide. If you like it, keep it. They'll continue to support it. But drop it, and it's gone.

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