TabloTV works, but the UI needs help



In June I installed my 4-tuner TabloTV box and set it off recording several shows from over-the-air (antenna) transmissions. This past week I finally got a Roku 1 and installed the TabloTV app (a.k.a. “channel”) and used it for a day before putting together this fairly lengthy list of suggestions for their User Interface, which needs some work.

In no particular order…

Delete All. When browsing the recordings, select a set “e.g. Monk” and delete all the recordings at one time.

Simpler Delete. When I’m on a single recording (on Roku), it takes 6 button presses to delete it. Give me a setting to disable Delete Confirmation — I’m willing to risk the accidental delete.

Automatic Bookmark. While I’m watching a show, set bookmarks automatically so when I stop and come back (even from another device), I can Resume watching from where I left off, or Restart the show.

FF/RW Preview. Give me thumbnails while fast forwarding or rewinding so I know where I’m at.

Sort By Space Used. When viewing recordings, all me to sort by size, or space used on the HD. When I need to free up disk quickly, I’d like to go find the set that I can blow away to make more space.

Sort By Watched. Create three sort groups: Watched, In Progress (or Watching), New (or Not Watched).

Number Circles. Use numbers in circles to indicate how many recordings (or potential shows) are in each title. Model after iPhone apps.

Recording Timestamp. Show date and time with a recording. The Roku app shows every show as being 29 minutes long, e.g. RallyCross Daytona; Channel 17-1 at 2:30 pm – 2:59 pm. This was a 1hr 5m race. And there is no date.

Search. Find “McQueen”. Find “Eastwood”. Find “Ron Howard”. Find “Carolina Panthers”. This is a “search” generation. Organization is for old people.

Watched Icon. Show me that I’ve already watched something and didn’t delete it.

Extended Start/Stop. Give us the option of putting some time before or after shows.

Next Show: When looking at the options for a single episode, provide a Next button to go to the next show in the set. This can help during binge watching to prevent having to go back, over, select, play.

Stars: These are currently a mystery. All I ever see is gray stars on a show. I can’t set them and I don’t know what they mean.

Eliminate Placeholder Icons. Many shows have no photo icon so you put a placeholder that looks lame. At least make an effort. For example, a movie on TV was “Wild West”, starring Naveen Andrews. How about a getting a photo of him, since he’s listed first in the actor credits? Or “Carolina Outdoor Journal”, even though it has no description, it says the Genre is “Outdoors/Nature”. How about a picture of trees? You get the idea.

Actually Read More. If I click “Read More”, I should see as much as possible, but some info is not put on the More screen, such as Runtime, Director, Genre, Copyright Year, and Major Actor List. More should be more, not less.

Thinner Banner. On Roku, the Tablo banner uses up 15% of the screen space. Slim it down to about half that and use your space more effectively.

Put Actors/Directors in Menu. When I select a show, I see Play, Read More and Delete menu options. I also can read actors names and the director. Why not make those part of the menu and use them as Search when clicked. Example: I just watched a David Attwood directed movie and liked it. Let me click his name on that menu.

Relocate the Recording Date/Time. Don’t put it in the top banner where I’m trained to ignore. Put it down below with the Genre.

Sports Icons. All the sports shows have film icons. Cant you at least make icons for each sport? Baseball, Football, Tennis, Golf, Auto Racing, Bicycle Racing, etc.

Record Now. If I find something on live TV that I like, but don’t have time to watch, allow me to start recording from this screen. Perhaps the * menu on the Roku. Use the already buffered video as the start point.

Remember Close Caption. It seems that closed caption is always off and I must turn it on for every show.

Scheduled Airings Need Timestamp/Sorting. When I look at the scheduled items for Today, Tomorrow, Next Week, I can’t tell when they will get recorded. Needs to be in the cartoon balloon on Roku. On iPad, they need to be grouped and sorted.

Tighten Up Live TV List. On Roku, I have tons of white space and would to do more reading and less scrolling. Tighten it up and use all of the space, perhaps showing the next few half hours.

Limit Recordings per Show. For nightly news, I only ever want the latest 1. If I miss a few, delete the older ones. Let us pick a limit, such as 1,2,4,8,ALL.

Give Channel Info and Start Time. For shows upcoming, there is no channel or time info provided. I know you may think “who cares”, but we still do. Sometimes we need to tell someone else “It’ll be on channel 5.” But without it, Tablo makes us look stupid. “I don’t know what channel… but it’s coming on sometime today.”

Conflict Resolution on Roku. When a conflict is created, there is no immediate notice given. Even when there is, there seems to be no way to resolve it through the Roku interface.

Resume Record. If the Tablo is restarted while a show is recording, the recordings are not resumed after the restart finishes. Preference would be to append to the previous partial recording so there is not two separate recordings.

Previous Channel in Asterisk (*) Menu (Roku). While watching a show live, provide a way to jump to the Prev channel. And/or the other tuners, if active.

Performance. Watching a show that is recording creates blocky pixelation and/or buffering.