New AirTV Player integrates Sling TV and OTA channels into a single menu
Dish Network revealed the AirTV Player, a new 4K streaming box that integrates Sling TV and local over-the-air (OTA) channels into a single menu.
The streaming box will operate on Android TV, and also have apps for Netflix and YouTube. Dish has begun selling the AirTV Player with an OTA AirTV Adapter for $129.99.
AirTV Player may be poised to tap into a style of streaming box that cord cutters have been seeking.
It will also allow Dish to further promote its Sling TV service with local channels without having to strike retransmission deals.
There has been no streaming device with a singular menu that combines live streaming TV bundles offered over the Internet and OTA channels.
“Americans are rediscovering free local, over-the-air TV for sports, shows and news, particularly given how well OTA complements popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Sling TV and YouTube,” Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV, said in a released statemement. “AirTV’s new streaming device and antenna installation service again make getting your entertainment as easy as turning on the TV.”
The company is hoping corral the estimated 20 million people that don’t use traditional cable or satellite TV for home entertainment.
It’s an elusive market share for cable companies. DirecTV recently rolled out its over-the-Internet TV service called DirecTV Now, which is aimed at the same demographic.
Nielsen estimates that nearly 14 million households in America watch over-the-air TV, and that market has grown 24 percent over the past four years.
Local broadcast stations transmit high-definition (HD) channels for free, and consumers can tune in to those OTA channels using an antenna. OTA channels are available across the country, and consumers in many markets can receive dozens of local channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC.
The remote shows dedicated buttons for Sling TV, Netflix and Google.
How AirTV Player works
Built on the Android TV operating system, the streaming box has apps for Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube and thousands of options in the Google Play Store with free local OTA channels (OTA channel integration requires an AirTV adapter and an OTA antenna, both sold separately). Internet access is required for streaming platforms and AirTV Player is Wi-Fi and Ethernet compatible. AirTV Player connects to a TV via HDMI.
“AirTV Player connects consumers to some of the most popular streaming platforms now, and we’re interested in adding even more choices in the future,” said Weinraub. “With a custom-built smart remote that controls the AirTV Player, your TV and your sound system, as well as dedicated buttons for Netflix and Sling TV, customers can focus on watching the best content, rather than juggling remote controls.”
AirTV Player features
AirTV Player includes a number of unique features:
- Pre-loaded apps – AirTV Player includes Netflix, Sling TV and YouTube pre-installed for easy access to popular streaming content. A Sling TV account and Netflix membership are required to access those apps.
- Google Play Store – Built on Android TV, AirTV Player provides access to thousands of shows, movies, apps and games through the Google Play Store. A Google account is required to use the Google Play Store.
- Netflix integration – With the click of a button, a user can launch directly into their selected Netflix content within the Netflix app. Users without a Netflix subscription will have a row of curated suggestions of TV shows and movies along with the ability to sign up and start watching.
- 4K compatible – AirTV Player can play 4K content, available on Netflix and other apps in the Google Play Store.
- Wi-Fi compatible – AirTV Player connects to dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz) networks that use the 802.11ac / n/ a / b / g standard.
- Bluetooth voice remote – The AirTV remote controls the AirTV Player via Bluetooth and provides access to popular apps, including dedicated buttons for Sling TV, Netflix and Google. The remote features voice capabilities and can control power and volume on any connected TV or sound system utilizing infrared. AirTV Player can automatically detect a connected TV or sounds system using HDMI CEC, or the user can enter the information manually.
A streaming-only version of the AirTV Player is being sold for $99.99 at AirTV.net. If customers want to add the AirTV adapter later, it’s priced at $39.99. AirTV is also offering an installation service, which ranges between $99.99 and $149.99.
Purchase of an AirTV Player includes a $50 Sling TV credit for new and existing customers.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble