Dish’s AirTV subsidiary is releasing a new streaming device designed to combine over-the-air broadcast TV with the company’s Sling TV service and other streaming services. The new AirTV Mini streaming stick looks similar to a Fire TV stick, and is powered by Google’s Android TV software.
The AirTV Mini stick is 4K-capable, allowing consumers to stream 4K programming from YouTube and other services on compatible TV sets. It retails for $79.99, and is available through the AirTV website.
Dish first unveiled an AirTV-branded streaming box in early 2017. That device was also based on Android TV, and could be used to watch over-the-air broadcast television with the addition of a USB tuner. The company has since introduced a connected TV tuner that can be used to stream broadcast TV to connected TVs and mobile devices.
Consumers who buy the new AirTV Mini streaming stick still need such a tuner to actually watch free broadcast TV with it. Together, the two devices make it possible to capture over-the-air feeds from networks like ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and combine them with a Sling TV subscription in the same interface.
This combination is meant to alleviate one key shortcoming of Sling TV: To keep costs down, the Dish-owned streaming service has long focused on cable channels. Sling TV does offer local Fox and NBC programming in select markets as part of its $25 per month “orange” package, but the service has been steering consumers looking for more local programming to broadcast antennas and devices like AirTV.