Dish Debuts AirTV Device to Bring Free Broadcast Television to Sling TV

airtv-dish
Courtesy of Dish Network

Dish Network has officially unveiled its plan for delivering local TV channels to its Sling TV over-the-top internet TV service — with no retransmission deals required on its part.

The satcaster, in an announcement Tuesday timed for the 2017 CES trade show, launched AirTV Player, an Android-based streaming device with support for Ultra HD 4K video that lets Sling TV customers add free, live local broadcast stations into their guide using an external antenna.

When an over-the-air antenna (not included) is connected to the AirTV Player, the Sling TV channel guide includes local OTA channels. Viewers can watch the broadcast channels on the TV connected to the AirTV Player via HDMI and switch among OTA channels and Sling TV content without changing TV inputs.

Dish is selling the AirTV Player with the OTA AirTV Adapter for $129.99; a streaming-only version of the AirTV Player is available for $99.99. A standalone AirTV Adapter is available for $39.99 if consumers choose to add OTA integration at a later date. Purchase of the AirTV Player includes a $50 Sling TV credit, available to new and existing Sling TV users.

At launch, AirTV Player provides integrated support for Sling TV, Netflix and YouTube along with access to titles in the Google Play Store along with free local OTA channels. Dish has established AirTV as a subsidiary that is separate from its satellite TV business and Sling TV service.

Sling TV does offer local Fox and NBC owned-and-operated stations in certain markets with its $25 per month Sling Blue multistream service. But with AirTV, Sling TV users now have access to the entire range of over-the-air broadcast channels available in their areas, including local feeds of ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox, PBS, CW and others.

“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 statement. “AirTV’s new streaming device and antenna installation service again make getting your entertainment as easy as turning on the TV.” Weinraub previously was director of advanced video products for Dish.

The AirTV Player connects to dual-band Wi-Fi networks and includes a Bluetooth voice-enabled remote supplied by Universal Electronics Inc. (UEI). The remote features dedicated buttons for Sling TV, Netflix and Google Play Store, provides voice capabilities and can control power and volume on any connected TV or sound system using infrared signals.

With the launch of the OTA device, Dish has established a network of licensed and insured AirTV Pro Install technicians who can set up device with either an indoor or outdoor antenna solution, based on a customer’s location. The professional installation service is available to all consumers at AirTV.net, with or without the purchase of an AirTV Player. The AirTV Pro Install service uses Winegard FlatWave Amped indoor antennas and Televes DigiNova BOSS outdoor antennas. Standard one-room antenna installation, including the antenna, is available starting at $100 for an indoor antenna or $150 for an outdoor antenna.

Separately Tuesday, Dish’s Sling TV launched an “Optimized for Sling TV” certification program for devices and platforms that provide an “exceptional” experience for the OTT service. Those initially on the certified list include the new AirTV Player and Xiaomi’s Mi Box. Sling TV also is available on Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku players, Microsoft Xbox One, and Google Chromecast.

In addition, Dish announced a new skill for Amazon’s Alexa that gives customers the ability to control their TV using voice commands. Users can pair any generation of Hopper DVR with an Alexa device like the Echo or Echo Dot to speak commands like “Alexa, go to CNN.”

Finally, the satcaster unveiled Dish Music, a Hopper-based feature powered by DTS Play-Fi that gives customers with a Hopper 2 or Hopper 3 DVRs the ability to sync music throughout their home with one central control. Dish Music will be compatible with a music services including Pandora, iHeartRadio and Amazon, as well as personal libraries on mobile devices.

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  1. yuiohjy says:

    what Margaret explained I’m stunned that a stay at home mom able to earn $8053 in a few
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  2. Chris says:

    When they add a DVR feature to the OTA signal, then let me know

  3. joebambinoo says:

    What they need to do is get you the over the air stations from the city that you want, not necessarily the city where you live.

  4. Ron Withem says:

    Another reason to sit on the couch and get fatter

  5. pezjme says:

    so basically you are wasting money so the channels you already get for free will show up on your guide. That’s about as stupid as having to buy or own a dvr to use the xbone as a dvr.

  6. Don Turnbull says:

    $129 of wasted money for all this appears to be. I already get OTA programs via antenna. All I have to do to see it is switch the input to antenna from HDMI1 where my Roku is attached. I’m not paying $129 * 3 TVs to avoid pressing the input button.

    What would make it worth $129 is if they would stream the local channels via their service so I would not have to rely on what can be unreliable reception.

    I cut the cord three years ago and have no reason to go back. I do miss some channels I got with cable and I do miss the reliability I received the locals on cable (but not enough to pay $100+ AND have the data stream form the cable boxed mined for profit).

    If Dish would solve those problems (i.e. offer their minimum dish package via Roku over the data signal), that would be great. Either that or position a satellite higher off the horizon so I can receive that signal.

  7. their guide is way more cumbersome than using your tv tuner. you’d be wasting money since you still need an antennae

  8. Anon says:

    There is no difference, no added value. 2 clicks to get local TV or with Sling add-on 2 clicks to get local within Sling TV

  9. Paul Penrose says:

    This explains why Sling has not created a app for TIVO since they now compete directly with the Roamio OTA box. What I’m not seeing on the Sling box (but maybe it’s there?) is Amazon Prime and Plex support. I have a Roamio OTA now and it has everything I want except support for live streaming TV ala Sling or Vue.

    • kawshik2016 says:

      Sling TV’s AirTV box does support Plex because it is running Android TV. Plex is on the Play Store.

      • GinRNBSN says:

        @Richard, re: your question about Android, look at the long first sentence of the second paragraph. It says it’s running an ‘Android-based streaming’ service.

        I’ve had Dish in the past with an outdoor digital antenna. We were able to DVR programs from the antenna. The quality was far superior to the local channels from any cable or satellite service I’ve ever seen. In addition, there are many free OTA channels, that are not offered with local channels via Satellite or Cable. For example, there is channel 13.1, 13.2, 13.3, 13.4 in the Pomona Valley area in Los Angeles County currently.

        The antenna with Dish was in the Burbank area in 2005-2009. When I relocated to The Antelope Valley area of LA county, I had to have Cable. The quality was awful, and the added channels were gone.

        Currently, We purchased a “ChannelMaster” DVR (Pomona). It’s hooked to an antenna and there are more than 100 free channels now!! I miss CNN, HBO, and TBS during the Baseball playoffs. I truly think the playoff Baseball should be free! However; I do purchase MLB’s package. That’s what the only TV bill!!! We can stream from the computer also.

        It’s refreshing to see free TV making a comeback!!! In my opinion.

      • Richard says:

        Where does it say it runs Android tv, can’t find any info

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