Today, there are easy ways to get rid of cable TV. One of the most popular ways to ditch the ballooning cable bill is to subscribe to various streaming services. One such service, Sling TV has proven to be particularly popular, due to its wide live channel offering. Sling TV is a live streaming service that lets you access many of the most popular pay TV channels (think ESPN, HGTV, AMC, CNN, etc.) at a low price, with no contract (like Netflix), and best of all, without cable. Check out our Sling TV review for the full rundown on this service.
While the flexibility of choosing different channels and pricing tiers with Sling TV is impressive, there is one huge gap that could give you pause; limited selection of local channels. Fortunately, Sling TV has a solution: AirTV 2.
What is AirTV 2? It’s a device that picks up over-the-air television broadcasts from your antenna and streams them to your streaming devices via the Internet, fully integrated into the Sling TV interface. And now with the second generation model, the Air TV 2 allows you to record up to two channels at once, turning the Air TV into not just a set top box, but an over-the-air DVR.
Read on for our full AirTV review!
How Does AirTV Work?
AirTV is a small rectangular box that works with your existing over-the-air (OTA) antenna, like the Mohu Leaf or any other antenna of your choosing. The channels you pick up with your antenna are then integrated into your Sling TV interface, allowing you to watch them anywhere you can watch Sling TV (e.g. Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, iPhone, iPad, Android devices, computers, smart TVs, etc.)
Setting up the AirTV is very easy — users simply connect their antenna’s coaxial cable into the back of the box, connect to Wi-Fi, and that’s pretty much it.
If you’re already using an OTA antenna to watch your local channels, you might be wondering why the AirTV is necessary. AirTV adds two functions that, once you start using them, you’ll find yourself wondering how you ever watched TV without them.
AirTV and Wireless OTA Transmission
In most cases, folks who watch their local TV broadcasts do so via an antenna. Popular OTA antennas like the Mohu Leaf are unobtrusive and super affordable, making them an easy way to watch local broadcasts from channels like ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS and more. The downside to OTA TV is the fact that you can only watch that content on whichever TV your antenna is hooked up to.
In the past, the only way to get around this would be to buy an antenna for each TV in your house or split the antenna cable to the various TVs in your house. Buying multiple antennas is costly and splitting your antenna signal can result in poorer resolution, not to mention the hassle of running coaxial cable all over your house.
Fortunately, AirTV solves this problem. AirTV uses your existing Wi-Fi to transmit your antenna’s OTA signal to other devices like your mobile phone or tablet. With AirTV users can stream OTA channels to two different devices at once. In addition, AirTV allows users to stream OTA content to their devices even when they’re out of the house. This means that you can use a mobile Internet connection to watch all of your local stations anytime, anywhere.
AirTV and Sling TV Integration
AirTV can be used as a standalone device, however where it really shines is through integration with Sling TV. Both Sling TV and AirTV are subsidiaries of the Dish Network, so it makes sense that these two products are designed to complement each other. AirTV picks up your local OTA television broadcasts and adds them into your Sling TV channel subscriptions. This makes all of your content available in the same spot, as opposed to flicking back and forth between Sling TV and the antenna input of your TV.
Getting this set-up is very straightforward. Download the AirTV app on your iOS or Android device and connect your AirTV unit to your Wi-Fi. Then, sync it with your account in the Sling TV app. The AirTV device will then scan for available OTA channels. How many channels it picks up will vary, as there are a number of factors that contribute to channel availability, including where you are located and antenna placement. Once AirTV identifies all of the available channels, it then automatically adds them to your Sling TV channel list.
One of the biggest downsides you’ll see mentioned in AirTV reviews is the lack of built-in storage for recording shows.
While AirTV 2 does have a DVR function, it requires users to provide their own hard drive for storage. If you don’t already have a hard drive, this can add to the overall cost to your home entertainment setup. Furthermore, the addition to yet another small box with another cable can be less than appealing from an aesthetic standpoint.
In a somewhat nitpicky complaint, the Sling TV app does not allow you to reorder how your channels appear in your channel list. This means that all of the channels added by AirTV will appear at the end of your channel lineup. In a more traditional television set-up, local channels would appear first. It’s a small complaint, and most users would probably get used to this fairly quickly, but it’s worth noting.
How Much Does AirTV Cost?
Sling TV is not charging you extra for the ability to stream live OTA television through their app, but you do have to pay for the actual AirTV device. Thankfully, Sling TV has some special offers available that really sweeten the deal.
The best way to buy AirTV is through Sling TV’s website because they have an offer going right now where you can get the device for just $50 when you prepay for 3 months of Sling TV service. If you paid for the two separately, that would run you close to $200, so you’ll save a good amount. This is a great way to save a little cash when getting this device, while also taking care of a few months of Sling TV’s streaming service.
The AirTV 2 is designed to work seamlessly with the Sling TV app, and it does. Set-up is simple and easy, allowing users to pull their OTA channels into the Sling TV app to create a comprehensive channel list. This makes for a viewing experience very similar to that of traditional cable. All of your channels in one place, without having to flick between various apps.
In addition, AirTV allows you to stream OTA content to other devices via Wi-Fi. This even allows you to access your local television programming on the go. The biggest omission on the AirTV is the lack of built-in storage for the DVR function. However, with the addition of a hard drive, you won’t have to rush home to catch the big game or sit through commercials.
Overall, AirTV is a great addition for those with a Sling TV subscription. The integration of live local channels into the Sling TV app makes TV watching much more convenient. It’s safe to say that Sling TV combined with AirTV is one of the best options available for those who want to cut the cord and say goodbye to the high cost of cable.