The folks at Dish have a device called AirTV, a device that shares a name with a device that they’ve now re-named “AirTV Player.” This new AirTV device is a box that connects to a cord that picks up local TV signals via an antenna. With this device, you can watch local TV channels “for free” with an app on mobile devices and smart TVs.
Why would you want this?
1. If you want local TV channels (local to wherever the AirTV box is active) on your various devices – like phones, tablets, and smart TVs. This box allows you to open an AirTV app and it’s just like you’re watching TV, with broadcast commercials and everything.
2. If you have a SlingTV subscription and you want to have the functionality described above. It’s suggested by Sling that “AirTV is optimized for Sling TV,” but there’s no contractual obligation between the two.
What does this cost?
There’s no monthly fee for the basic functionality described in #1 of the first section of this article. If you’re using an AirTV Player, it includes apps like Netflix, which cost a certain amount per month just like they would anywhere else. But AirTV itself does not cost any monthly fee.
There are now two devices on the AirTV product roster. One is the AirTV Player Bundle for $130, the other is AirTV for $120. The AirTV Player Bundle works with a single TV and is its own smart TV box, with a remote and everything. The AirTV is a box that requires you have devices that can run an AirTV and/or SlingTV app.
Why AirTV instead of AirTV Player Bundle?
The AirTV Player Bundle costs ten dollars more because it’ll make your dumb TV work like a smart TV using the Android TV platform. That means you’ll get access to other apps like Netflix and AirTV on a single television set, with a remote control.
The new AirTV is not relegated to a single TV set. It has no remote control and does not provide a platform for any non-smart TV. Instead, you’ll plug AirTV in, and you’ll have access to AirTV from any AirTV app. AirTV apps can be used by smartphones, tablets, and smart TV platforms. You’ll be able to access AirTV with your connected apps anywhere. This is apparently an unlimited, forever-available system, accessible wherever your mobile devices are connected to the internet.
Both AirTV devices require an antenna. You can use the antenna that AirTV sells separately, or you can use your own OTA antenna, both should work just fine.
Wasn’t this available before?
Sort of. Before it required that SlingTV be used to run AirTV. Now there’s a separate AirTV app, and there’s no obligation to pay for SlingTV or use SlingTV in any way at all.