AirTV Integrates OTA with Sling TV
Making Channel Surfing Fun Again
Produced by the company Echostar, this new device hopes to work in conjunction with your OTA antenna and your Sling TV account to give you an untethered OTA experience. Dubbed AirTV, the device is, for all intents and purposed, a re-purposed Sling Box for OTA television.
“AirTV’s local TV integration gives it a leg up on similar streamers like the Roku Ultra, which provides 4K video for the same price point but has no way to include local broadcast channels in its interface. Sick of losing local channels when you cut the cord?” January 3, 2017 Mashable
How Does AirTV Work?
The device connects to your OTA antenna and beams live broadcast TV directly into your Sling TV application. From there, you can view live local OTA television from anywhere that you can watch Sling TV.
How Much does AirTV Cost?
Sling TV is not charging you extra for the ability to stream live OTA television through their app; but it’s not too hard to envision a “Best of OTA” package from Sling TV in the near future. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that those with an Antenna will not be forced to pay for major broadcast channels.
When purchasing AirTV you can either buy the bundle (AirTV Player + Adapter) for $129.99 (check current pricing), or you can buy just the player or just the adapter. Because most of us don’t already have an adapter at home, I would suggest with just going with the bundle.
How to Buy AirTV
The best way to buy AirTV (as it is not yet available on Amazon) is to go through SOLID SIGNAL; a 500 Inc. company that specializes in distributing the latest in high-tech equipment and product research to professional media installers and the tech-savvy consumer.
Once you see the AirTV products, you will have the option to buy the Player and Adapter Kit, just the Player, or just the Adapter.
- Shipping: all products usually ships the same day as you order.
- Payment Options: to make things a bit easier on your pocket book, SOLID SIGNAL offers a service called Affirm. Affirm allows you to breakup the upfront cost into monthly installments ($12 a month for the AirTV Player and Adapter).
- Voice Command Remote
- Universal Remote
- Find Your Remote Button
- Integration with Netflix and Google Play / Google TV
- 4K UHD Streaming Capabilities
“The AirTV Player in an Android-powered box that combines the ability to stream online video services — including Netflix, Sling TV and other apps available in the Google Play Store — and access live over-the-air TV channels, too.” CES 2017 January 3, 2017 – CNET
AirTV vs Tablo
Like previously mentioned, AirTV works with YOUR antenna to stream content into your existing Sling TV application. AirTV does not provide the live content; it only streams the content from your antenna. It’s a small, but critical distinction to make.
A similar service that comes to mind is Tablo. Tablo too can stream your OTA signal to any internet connected device in your home. Big difference here is that Tablo does not integrate into Sling TV. So for those who love convenience, AirTV is a great option.
On the flip side Tablo can act as an OTA DVR. And anyone who loves TV knows that a DVR is extremely convenient in it’s self. So which one is better will depend on what feature you feel is most important.
AirTV vs Aereo
One of the most crushing defeats for cord cutters in recent years was when the tech company Aereo, lost a critical court battle that forced them to shut down. If your unfamiliar, Aereo allowed people to stream over-the-air content online, and from anywhere. All you had to do was pay a small monthly fee.
It was great option for the millions who live in areas where an antenna will not work (rural America); and it was very convenient for those who used an Antenna, but needed an on-the-go solution.
Sadly, when this battle was lost, we all lost. However, the folks behind Sling TV (free trial) and Sling Box have been working on a brand new product that might help fill the gap left behind.
Click here to read Sling TV’s take on AirTV.
Now if you’re wondering what the difference between AirTV and Aereo is, the answer is simple.
To start, AirTV works with YOUR antenna to provide the OTA content. Aereo, on the other hand, did not. Similar to crossing the Rubicon, offering live OTA television for streaming crossed a certain legal line that made Aereo an issue for broadcast television.
Had Aereo offered live OTA streaming for free, it might have saved them. But, the combination of live OTA streaming and a monthly fee was the kiss of death for the beloved company. Thankfully AirTV suffers from none of these problems.
What is AirTV Missing?
The elephant in the room is an OTA DVR (as I alluded too earlier). Without a DVR you are stuck racing home from work so you can catch the big game, only to sit through hours of commercials. Or missing your favorite program because it airs after you go to bed.
I have good news however. Sling TV has announced that they are currently in beta for a cloud DVR (Record Your Favorite Shows on Sling TV with New Cloud DVR, Now in Bet). As of a month ago you could sign up for this beta release but it has since closed.
Don’t worry though, it won’t last. Companies often use tactics like this to build buzz around a product or feature release. Think about how Gmail was introduced, or Drop Box… list goes on.
What we don’t know is if this DVR service will allow us to record an AirTV OTA signal. If so, we are looking at a true cable TV alternative. I for one am rooting for AirTV.
If you want to check out a full list of Antennas and DVRs that are currently available, please browse the page: Antennas & DVRs. And if you want to test out Sling TV to see if it is something you would enjoy, take a test drive with their no obligation 7 – Day Free Trial.
What about you, are you excited for AirTV? Let us know in the comment below or sound off on social media!