Sling TV Gets Local Channels Next Month via AirTV

Dave Zatz —  August 18, 2016

sling-airtv

As I revealed in April, Echostar and DISH Network are collaborating on an audacious plan to pipe the national television networks into Sling TV without the headache and expense of franchine licensing. “AirTV” repurposes Slingbox M1/M2 hardware with over-the-air (OTA) antenna capabilities to stream NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX, and other locals into the various Sling TV client applications.

From a draft Amazon listing:

With AirTV and an HD antenna, you can stream live local programming, news and your local sports anywhere in your home using the free Sling TV app and its integrated program guide. No paid contracts-just free local TV on any compatible device. And if you want more channels, you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages-all from the same app.

  • You can watch AirTV from the Sling TV app on Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Roku.
  • Compatible with antennas such as: Mohu Wine Gard RCA …and all others

From a pulled B&H Photo listing:

  • Stream Live Local Programming
  • Requires Free Sling TV App
  • No Paid Contracts

It’s my understanding the parties had originally targeted a late spring launch. Given the radio silence, I’d assumed the project may have been terminated due to limited retailer interest and fear of alienating DISH’s content partners, yet it looks like we’re on track for a revised September release running $150.

37 responses to Sling TV Gets Local Channels Next Month via AirTV

  1. Doesn’t look like any DVR capabilities, sadly. Had they gone that route, then it would’ve been a really compelling device.

  2. Hey Dave,

    I generally don’t mind whitelisting your site, but chinese-ladydate.com, the most trusted site in China?

  3. I agree that shouldn’t be here. Where on the page did you see it, as in which unit? I’ll get that advertiser blocked/removed.

  4. Newbie Nooberton August 18, 2016 at 11:31 am

    So help me understand this…

    AirTV is installed in the basement and is connected to the OTA antenna (and presumably the home network).

    The AirTV does the tuning and then streams those channels to your streaming device running the SlingTV app?

  5. Correct – hook up the the AirTV hardware to an antenna and your home network, via Ethernet or WiFi. Once configured, you’d be able to watch live OTA from the free Sling TV app on any supported platform, in or out of the home. I’m most interested to see if they merge the guide for users who are also Sling TV “cable” subscribers.

  6. Dave, you are using an ad network that is serving some ads for malware sites. It was the ad right below the headline. The ad I saw said You have 1 message and it went to http://www.lastresortpc.pw/

  7. $149 with no recurring fees seems like a pretty good deal, but as others have pointed out there’s no recording capabilities.

    You could buy $10 antennas for a dozen TVs and have the same functionality, though it would be much more responsive and much less hassle for less money.

    Not to mention that “free” Sling TV app will more than likely be full of ads to upsell to their paid streaming plans.

    This is definitely no Tablo contender. Although I wish there was one…

  8. It was the main ad on the right. I’m not even in China!

  9. Wes, Greg, Thanks for the feedback. I’ve blocked those specific sites and I disabled a wide swath of sketchy categories I thought I’d previously excluded from this network.

  10. Yes, DVR capabilities would be fabulous. I have a Tivo which I really like and could hook up to an antenna if I wanted to. Would love to be able to record from Sling TV, which my Tivo doesn’t get.

  11. So, $150 in order to get live local TV pumped via wifi to all your connected devices throughout the house, plus (presumably) to get those channels integrated into the same guide you use if you subscribe to the skinny cable package from SlingTV. If I were a SlingTV subscriber, I’d like the integration bit but it honestly seems a bit underwhelming to me for $150. (It would be nice if the AirTV box had a built-in SlingTV app and allowed the user to hook directly into a TV via HDMI, saving you from also needing a Roku, Fire TV, etc. for that TV.) Now, if you could attach a hard drive to the AirTV box and get OTA DVR functionality for, say, an extra $5 per month service fee, it would be a lot more attractive. As it is, I guess I see this mainly for folks who want to watch live OTA TV on lots of TVs/devices but don’t want to bother with splitting the antenna run and doing all those hook-ups.

  12. Tim, probably not limited to your house.

  13. Ah, yes, that’s true — Sling is known for placeshifting your TV source to anywhere in the world, as long as you have a capable internet connection. But whereas I would imagine that the great majority of the original Sling users had it hooked up to a cable or satellite DVR, allowing them to both timeshift and placeshift their TV shows, this new AirTV is limited to simply placeshifting live OTA TV since apparently there’s no way to use it in conjunction with a DVR. Are people THAT into live OTA TV? I guess we’ll see…

  14. Isn’t live OTA TV going back in time? Isn’t that what we all grew up on, rabbit ears and all that?

  15. A lot of top shelf sporting events are delivered OTA…

  16. Isn’t this like Aereo which is no longer in business?

  17. Not exactly. Aereo hosted the antennas (which is a big deal for many people with limited reception) and provided cloud DVR service, in addition to live television. With AirTV, the antenna (and box) is at your home. Aereo was obliterated when the Supreme Court said they didn’t have the right to rebroadcast the content they didn’t own, whereas with AirTV you’re effectively sending your own content to yourself.

  18. I use a 4 tuner tablo over the air dvr that streams the local channels received to my rokus attached to different tvs in the house

  19. Any chance they’ll update the SW/FW of the M1 or M2, since you say AirTV is based on those, to allow them to stream whatever video that’s input to them over to the SlingTV app as well, maybe allowing a DVR like TiVo attached to one to be able
    to integrate also?

  20. If you have Tivo’s you won’t need this. I have Sling TV already and Tivo’s for OTA, It doesn’t bother me they run on different guides.

  21. MJR, RMC, I’d agree that TiVo and Tablo are superior (and pricier) for those seeking OTA DVR. However, for just live TV, on multiple clients, this may be a reasonable option. Compared to TiVo, A Roku at every TV is much more economical and AirTV presumably provides out-of-home set-top access. For background, I own Tablo, HDHomeRun, and TiVo. I also had a Channel Master DVR+ for a year or so and quite a few Slingboxes

    HarperVision, I can’t tell you for certain how close the hardware platforms are. However, from a software perspective, they could certainly do what you suggest. Although I suspect they won’t invest the resources to integrate that functionality.

  22. The article says “With AirTV and an HD antenna, you can stream live local programming, news and your local sports..” Am I missing something? Why would I want to go back to the way I watched TV over thirty years ago?

  23. Some people like their news and sports live…

  24. If I also subscribe to one of Sling TV’s bundles, would this integrate with that so I can scroll through ALL (OTA and cable) channels? Or would it be a separate section/app?

  25. The hope is it’d be a single, unified guide (that could be customized). However, we’ve got no verbiage and no screenshots to clear that point up.

  26. What would make this any better than the other competitors in the OTT/OTA Market? Is the directed at the current Sling Users?

  27. It’s a OTA streaming service apparently directed to *and beyond* Sling TV subscribers. However, as we can already see, that point may be a source of confusion for the uninitiated (as if “PS” Vue for some). As to better… While not cheap, it’s cheaper than Tablo (but obviously doesn’t include DVR). Unlike HDHomeRun, which has a superior Apple TV app in Channels, there are clients for a number of software platforms and they also work beyond the home. AirTV is just another option to move OTA around from a single source, assuming you have reception somewhere in your home. Of course, there may be things we don’t yet know and can’t obviously comment on performance at this time.

  28. To bad they don’t integrate with hdhomerun which is essentially what they are replicating. I have one and use it with channels on Apple TV in addition to Sling

  29. Any information on how many tuners this device would have?

  30. It is now September 21, 2016, is there any more news on this?

  31. Could be cancelled…

  32. Well that sux! What’s the details you have on that Dave?

  33. Can’t disclose details or sources, but things have changed. My question is, has the product been shelved at the zero hour? Is Sling Media’s future retail availability also in jeopardy? Sounds like it’s been a tumultuous two years or so over there.

  34. Thanks Dave! That would be upsetting if they got out of the retail Slingbox market. They’re clearly the best solution out there, if not the only one. I’ll take their ads if it means we keep getting slingboxes! Maybe TiVo should partner with or buy them out, they could use some serious help in the streaming department! ;-)
    (Yes, I know Dish/Echostar already owns them)

  35. Well, you know I also feel TiVo may be moving away from retail… we’ll see if this Mantis thing comes to fruition. But, yeah, even with the ads Sling is unrivaled in functionality. My TiVo streaming is not very reliable, even when in-home – which is maddening.

  36. So its VaporWare. :( I am bummed. I guess I’ll keep my AmzTV -Roku and ChrmCast. :-). I say drop the price . to $99.99. – and a HBO now and slingTV trial and promo pricing. Or do I keep trying on my RaspB Pi 3. :-) –
    Mario
    @mario2k4