Talking tech since 2003

Those living cable-free may enjoy the ability to watch programming as they please, but live TV doesn’t have to go completely out the window. Over-the-air broadcasts are still an option, and in some cases, you can get a good bit of live content at no cost.

Is the experience as good as it is for someone who subscribes to cable? If you’re using a barebones TV-and-antenna setup, absolutely not. But I found a product looking to make free TV just as pretty as paid TV, while also giving you the freedom to watch on your computer, smartphone or tablet. It’s called Tablo, and like Aereo, it’s a product that could potentially worry a cable company or two.

The Tablo device itself doesn’t look much different than any streaming set-top box on the market. But once you turn it on, you’ll notice that it doesn’t do Netflix, Hulu Plus or any of the traditional streaming video services. Instead, it does live TV. The coaxial connection on the back, which you don’t find on a lot on streaming boxes, is for an antenna to pick up local TV signals. And once you have those signals, you can either watch them live or record them to a USB-connected external hard drive.

tabloThere are two features of Tablo that really stand out, and could also worry cable companies. The first is Tablo’s program guide, which shows you what’s on your over-the-air channels using a very cable-box-like interface. The second is Tablo’s Sling-esque ability to stream live or recorded over-the-air content to your smartphone or tablet, even if you aren’t at home.

Streaming that FOX NFL game on your smartphone while you’re away? Totally doable. Catching the news on your tablet while you’re laying in bed? Tablo has your back. Will Comcast or Verizon like that you’re able to do this? Probably not. But, short of convincing the networks to go cable-only, there’s really nothing that cable providers can do about it.

The Tablo is available through the company’s website for $219.99, but you can actually get it cheaper — $199.99, to be exact — on NewEgg. There is also a cost associated with the programming guide: $4.99 per month, $49.99 per year, or $149.99 for a lifetime subscription.

Do you have a Tablo or do you plan on picking one up? Leave us a comment below.

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