LAST UPDATED JUNE 24, 2017 AT 8:32 A.M.
Sling TV has added every device to its Cloud DVR service except AirTV
UPDATE: Sling TV has added Cloud DVR support to the AirTV Player along with Windows 10 and iOS devices.
Sling TV executives did some bragging on themselves this week, but they’ve left one lingering question unanswered about its 4K streaming device, AirTV Player.
Will it ever get Cloud DVR?
Apple TV became the latest device this week to become compatible with Sling TV’s new Cloud DVR.
“Sling TV is the only OTT provider on Apple TV that allows you to keep recordings as long as you keep Cloud DVR,” Ben Weinberger, Sling TV’s chief product officer, said in a blog post on Monday.
Sling TV’s Cloud DVR now works on nearly every streaming device on the market except its own. The AirTV Player went on sale in January.
Earlier this month, Sling TV began supporting Roku and Android to work with its Cloud DVR. Amazon Fire TV, Android TV and Android devices were added weeks earlier. AirTV Player operates on a version of the Android TV software. It was created by a company owned by Dish Network, the parent company of Sling TV. AirTV Player was first unveiled at CES 2017 and quickly drew praise for combining OTA channels and Sling TV programming into a single menu.
The DVR service allows users to purchase 50 hours of recording space for $5 per month.
AirTV Player discount for pre-paid Sling TV subscription
Sling TV has repeatedly noted in its press releases and blog posts that AirTV Player isn’t compatible with Cloud DVR. But it hasn’t made any assurances to current or future buyers of AirTV Players that the DVR feature will eventually be added.
That didn’t cause the company to shy away from encouraging sales.
A new promotion was launched on Tuesday offering deep discounts for the AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter. The discount requires you to sign up for one of three pre-paid Sling TV subscriptions.
1) Prepay for three months of Sling TV if your base service is $20 or over and get AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter for $50.
2) Prepay for four months of Sling TV if your monthly payment is between $15 and $20 and get AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter for $50.
3) Prepay for six months of Sling TV if your monthly payment is under $15 and get AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter for $50.
I’ve been a Sling TV customer in the past, and it’s a great service.
But the Cloud DVR feature is an odd topic for Sling TV to brag about. It’s a feature that’s been slow to roll out while up-and-coming competitors like fuboTV had a fully functional Cloud DVR during beta testing. The Cloud DVR for Sling also still doesn’t allow for recording on all channels.
Is AirTV Player worth it?
I haven’t tested the AirTV Player personally, but the lack of Cloud DVR gives me pause. I also wonder what the relevance of the device would be if a competitor like Amazon Fire TV suddenly rolled out a software update that combined OTA and a competing streaming service into a single menu.
No such plan has been announced, but we do know that three TV manufacturers will debut new 4K TV sets later this year that will operate on Amazon Fire TV software. These televisions are made to counter the wildly popular Roku TV sets.
But you can be sure that Amazon is exploring ways to combine OTA channel with live TV streaming services.
Amazon has already been updating Fire TV devices regularly via over-the-air software updates. So to think that AirTV Players will remain unique for long is unrealistic. The other potential downside for buyers is that an AirTV Player is designed to keep you married to Sling TV, whether you want it or not. If you want to try out a competing live TV streaming service like PlayStation Vue or fuboTV, you can. But there are plenty of other options out there. A recent Techhive piece by Jared Newman does a great job outlining many of AirTV’s shortcomings.
Are there any other Sling TV deals?
If someone asked me about the AirTV promotion like the one offered above, I would suggest that they take a look at another promotion that Sling TV still offers.
I did some searching this morning while writing this piece and found that you can still get 50 percent off on a Roku Premiere+ when you prepay for three months of Sling TV. To keep it frugal and maximize your value, you could sign up for three months of Sling Orange for $60, and essentially pay $49.50 for the Roku.
A Roku Premiere+ currently costs about $99 on Amazon and the same at the Roku Store. The Premiere+ is easily the best streamer Roku makes at the moment, and if you don’t like Sling TV, you can try out a competing service like fuboTV.
Or you could stick with Sling TV. Either way, you’d be getting a better deal.