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Sling TV’s Air TV Unboxing & Review


Sling TV this year released their first streaming media player called AirTV. The new AirTV comes from its parent company, Dish, and takes the best of over-the-air TV and Sling TV and puts them in one device along with Netflix

I played with the new AirTV at CES back in January week. It offers a smooth, easy streaming experience, and it always loads straight into Sling TV, making that your home page. Along with Sling TV you can plug an antenna into the box thanks to a USB tuner. When you plug in an antenna it puts your local channels directly into the Sling TV guide.

Now I got my own Air TV to unbox and review:

The AirTV runs Android TV the same as the Nvidia Shield or Mi Box. This allows you full access to all that the Google Play store has to offer. You can easily add more apps to the AirTV for services such as Hulu.

In the end the AirTV is the box I would buy my parents or grandparents to help them break free from high monthly bills. The super-easy user interface removes any potential learning curve for new cord cutters.

You can find out more about the AirTV on their website: https://www.airtv.net/

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  • Richard smith

    Noticed you didn’t mention the price. Thinking its a lot

    • mau47

      $100-$130 if you want the tuner.

      • Richard smith

        So two tv’s $260 plus the cost of 2 antennas or Two Mi boxes and a hdhomerun $220 plus the cost of one antenna and you can do a lot more.

        • I think many will find the $40 well worth it for a far easier to use box. The AirTV is a lot more simple to use than the HD HomeRun. This is a box I would get my parents when they would have no idea how to use a hdhomerun.

          • Karl Childers

            If a person is tech savvy enough to connect an Air TV, adapter, and antenna to their television set then they shouldn’t have much trouble plugging an HD HomeRun in to their router. There’s really not much to setup beyond that. Plus, with an HD HomeRun connected to a router you can watch live local stations on any TV in the house using a single antenna. If you wanted to do that with Air TV you’d an adapter and antenna for each set.

            HD HomeRun is also budget friendly since it is compatible with many different streaming devices and despite it being used and praised by many cord cutters I don’t think I’ve ever seen it promoted on this site.

        • mau47

          It would be nice if sling (and others) would just build support for hdhomerun devices into their apps to integrate in instead of releasing specific hardware you have to buy that would allow people to use their preferred streaming box. The hdhomerun was one of the easiest devices I have ever setup, pretty much just had to plug it in, every app I have tried (even third party apps) can initiate a channel scan on it etc, so you don’t have to interact with much at all outside of whatever app you will be using it with.

    • I stopped listing prices as places often change the price and than the review is wrong. I have a link to their website in the story just click on the AirTV link to find the current price.

      • Richard smith

        You do get a $50 credit towards Sling, is that for new customers only?

        • GersonT1000

          Existing customers get a credit.

          • HalfLifeCrysis

            That is not what I was told when I tried to use the coupon from the package of my 2nd AirTV box.

        • HalfLifeCrysis

          Yes

    • HalfLifeCrysis

      $129.99 plus S&H for both tuner and box.

  • JeffO

    Luke, what was the total price for the unit with the antenna adapter? Do you have a link to buy it? My Mom is considering it and one remote would be the best way to go for her.

    • Yes Jeff if you click on the Air TV link you will find the current price and how to buy it on their site.

  • Paul Wenger

    Do you need line of sight for the remote? I like to hide my boxes when I can.

    • GersonT1000

      The remote is bluetooth so you don’t need line of sight to control the box. However, if you use it to control the volume on your TV or audio system, you need line of sight (I guess it also has an IR blaster).

  • Jim Smith

    Hi Luke:
    What if you have a different streaming service like PS Vue? Does it still start at Sling and you need to hunt around for Sling?

    • HalfLifeCrysis

      Pretty much, but it just a few clicks away to get to standard Android TV.

  • GersonT1000

    For those with Sling service this seems like a great Android TV box. It’s an even better deal with the $50 Sling credit. I’ll still hold on since I’m waiting to see how DirecTV Now does on Roku. At that point I’ll decide which to drop between the two. Now, if this box can record the OTA content then I might get one either way! Does anybody know if it can?!

    • Richard smith

      If the box runs Android 7.0 and you have a hdhomerun. You can record Ota through the Live Channels app with a attached harddrive.

      • GersonT1000

        But I don’t want to have even more devices. Having it built into the box would make it a pretty much automatic purchase.

        • Richard smith

          I know Dvr capabilities have been added to Android 7.0, but I can’t find the specs on this device. You will still need to add a hard drive.

          • HalfLifeCrysis

            FireTV does not run 7.0 and it has DVR, so I would not say it’s a must.

          • Richard smith

            The Sling Dvr will NOT record locals off your antenna, it only records Sling content on the cloud. Android tv can do it locally, but it has to be on 7.0, so if Air tv upgraded their OS Ota can be recorded.

        • GersonT1000

          I’m not sure if we’re all talking about the same type of DVR. Sling has DVR service for some channels, and I don’t know if the Sling DVR is supported on this device, but what I’m referring to is being able to DVR the OTA to the box or an attached hard drive, regardless of whether you are a subscriber to Sling or not.

  • Andy Munro

    Can Plex be added to this box ?

    • Richard smith

      Yes it runs Android tv.

  • Kurt Semler

    Have you tried rooting the box yet?

  • Richard smith

    What version of Android tv does it run

  • GraySpot

    I’ll add a third thumbs up. Just deployed the AirTV with OTA adapter for my mother who lives in an independent living apartment. Her only option previously was the local cable company. With the full OTA integration she was able to use it with only about 5 minutes of instruction. And she is definitely not a technical person.

    This was her first experience with any OTT service, but for the last couple of days she has been enjoying Sling TV and getting great OTA reception from an indoor antenna. She has no idea how any of it works, but it is ‘just working’ which is a big win.

    The colors on the remote are a big plus since they make the remote very visible. The blue separates the white in terms of button function as well. The “Find Remote” button on the main box is also super nice, as it causes the remote to beep. For a person who misplaces the remote, that’s awesome.

    I have the AirTV plugged into an HDMI splitter that drives two TVs (on opposite sides of a wall… which are living room and bedroom). So having a bluetooth remote that works in either room is great for her. I can remove the old IR repeater I had setup for the old cable box.

    The only small complaint I have is that the OTA channels don’t show their channel number in the guide. So my mom was like “Where is channel 5”? I had to explain to her that “5” is NBC and to look for the NBC logo in the channels. To make things worse, around here channel 5 was recently CBS, so its a source of confusion for her to not think about the channel numbers for OTA. But, this is minor, since she will in time just get used to thinking about CBS/NBC/ABC.

    Now for my own use, lack of DVR makes this a no go. I have to be able to DVR OTA, so I use a Tivo Roamio for that. Unless they go crazy and add support for an external HD, I doubt this little AirTV will ever have OTA DVR. But for my mom who doesn’t know what a DVR is, this box is practically perfect.

    So thanks to the AirTV, cord cutting isn’t just for some presumed tweenager demographic. It now has one more senior citizen saving on her monthly bills.

    • EJ95835

      Good job, but it’s not over. Your mom’s friends wil be calling on you.

  • frankinnoho

    DVR for OTA? Amazon Prime?

    • HalfLifeCrysis

      No Prime, side loading does not work for Prime on this box. Been there, done that.

      • frankinnoho

        Damn… so promising. Well, that leaves the Shield as a cord cutter best friend. When it gets DVR.

    • HalfLifeCrysis

      No one really knows, they beta tested DVR with Roku users and now FireTV. My gut says no and that’s probably why they didn’t give it DVR yet. Try to sell through the inventory before AirTV 2.0.

  • abqdan

    Without DVR functionality, this is a no-go. Surprised they don’t get that yet, considering the complaints about Sling not having DVR functionality. I time-shift all my OTA content, so this won’t work. If they add DVR, then I’d certainly consider it.

    • NolaCherie

      My Sling does have DVR capabilities (Roku). Has that not been released to everyone yet?

      • abqdan

        No, the issue is OTA DVR – this device doesn’t offer that yet. So you can’t record the local news at 10 from your antenna.

  • HalfLifeCrysis

    PSA: This box (and most Android boxes) use a trimmed down “lean back” Google store. It will not have access to everything your Android phone has. Check your app compatibility before making assumptions.

    • Kawshik Ahmed

      There are tons of people who don’t like Phone app stretched to their big screen TV, they want TV optimized apps like the see on Roku. That’s why Amazon made Fire TV OS and Google made Android TV OS.
      Beside company like Netflix won’t show HD content in mobile Android only on Android TV

  • REP

    No DVR and the ugly guide need to go. Give me a real cable looking guide. Give me a real TV guide and DVR and I might consider.

    • Rob Robert

      want a real tv guide pay for a real cable subscription

  • GersonT1000

    I’ve also been wondering if you can use any USB antenna adaptor, or if only theirs will work.

    • Richard smith

      Yes, but you might have to watch through the Live Channels app.

  • GoGo As

    Just so everyone knows, I added the Cloud DVR feature to my Roku with no problem. In fact, the support pages will tell you its available for Roku etc. It works great.

    • NolaCherie

      Which cloud DVR service?

      • GoGo As

        It is listed as Cloud DVR on my Sling Account. It’s $5.00 a month. Works great and is available on my my devices (Roku, FireTV and Fire Table.)

        • NolaCherie

          Hmm. I’m not being charged extra for the cloud DVR on Sling. Maybe because I was a beta tester?

          • GersonT1000

            The service costs $5/month for 50 hours. However, beta testers kept it free with 100 hours.

          • NolaCherie

            What do you mean by “with 100 hours”? 100 hr capacity?

          • GersonT1000

            Yes, they keep 100hr capacity for free. If you’re reaching the limit you can just delete some recorded shows to make space again.

      • GoGo As
  • John Riley

    Sorry, but the lack of annunciation makes these videos really hard to watch, makes my chest tight, like I need to take a breath!

  • Joseph Oliveira

    Is this box for people who already has Cable? I’m trying to understand what the TV Tuner is for; this is why I asked. If you cancelled Cable (like me) – how would the Cable wire work??

    • Richard smith

      It’s for an Ota antenna