AirTV Unifies Sling TV, Netflix & OTA

Dave Zatz —  December 20, 2016 — 54 Comments

After several years of development, it appears a redesigned AirTV Player is nearly here. Originally conceived as an over-the-air network tuner, like Tablo, to stream local antenna television into Sling TV’s user interface, AirTV appears to have been rethought… and nears arrival as an Android-powered, Technicolor-produced set-top box vs reusing Echostar’s Slingbox scraps, Oh, this rendition still channels live television. But that local programming is now output directly into a TV, presumably merged within Sling’s guide, along with over-the-top streaming applications — specifically Netflix (!) and the Play Store itself…. based on support documents and the bundled universal, voice-capable Bluetooth remote that sports a Google logo.

Get the live channels you love and the shows you can’t miss. Watch Sling TV on AirTV Player, and enjoy live sports, shows, and movies with the simplicity of an app. With the AirTV Player, cut the cord and keep the TV experience. You’ll have a single platform for watching Sling TV, Netflix, local channels, and more.

AirTV combines all your live programming with Sling TV and your favorites on Netflix. When you launch your player, you will land in the screen. This screen allows you to customize your favorite channels on Sling TV and launch your favorite Netflix shows and movies

Merging over-the-air and online video into a single interface is pretty compelling stuff… which Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku cannot do (without assistance). So I’m quite interested to see exactly where Sling lands, especially since it’s not clear if this redesign retains risky (for Sling) out-of-home OTA streaming. The wait probably won’t be long given a newly launched support page and an FCC waiver —  a CES announcement next month seems likely, if we don’t hear something sooner.

54 responses to AirTV Unifies Sling TV, Netflix & OTA

  1. But no ability to record shows?

  2. Of course, TiVo tries to do similar (along with DVR capabilities) – but at price points most aren’t comfortable with.

  3. Janet, not that we know of – given size of box, I’d guess no local storage for recording. Could be a cloud offering, but don’t see anything that suggests it. Also looks like OTA streaming beyond the box to other Sling TV clients may not be available. That sort of licensing end-around seemed like a risky proposition given the content deals they need to strike vs Tablo which is an independent player.

  4. Designed by Fisher Price?

  5. Ha Ha! So true!

  6. This is very interesting and looks like it’s trying to fill a niche in the cord-cutter product world that strangely no one else has so far, integrating OTA TV with streaming. I notice that the remote has a Google “G” button, so I’m guessing (hoping) that it has access to the Google Play app store, as it will need more apps than just Sling and Netflix to succeed. (Volume and voice search buttons on the remote are nice touches too.) And if it allows recording of OTA TV via a connected USB drive (easily do-able under Android 7.0), this box would really be interesting…

  7. Geekbench scores indicate Android 6.0.1 fwiw.

  8. I do not understand why anyone would want this, I have a guide on my smart tv for my over the air channels which is fine with me – I just do not see the point in this unit?

  9. Isn’t the DVR+ from ChannelMaster capable of integrating OTA reception with local storage functionality and Sling TV already?

  10. My hope was that this would be a device on your network (similar to HDHomeRun) that would enable Roku/AndroidTV connected devices SlingTV to be able to integrate local television. From the looks of it this box would be designed to replace those consoles. Is my assumption correct?

  11. Oh god please tell me Harmony remotes will work with this thing, because that one shown looks like it’s used to call assistance in a nursing home…

  12. thyname, DVR+ offers Sling TV as an app. This looks to present Sling TV, OTA, and Netflix all within a unified interface.

    Tim, the original AirTV (unless there are two models en route…) was more like a HDHomeRun or Tablo and would beam the content to any box, phone, or tablet with the Sling TV app. But they could have backed off of that due to complexity or licensing concerns, etc.

  13. Dave: I don’t have a DVR+, but it looks like Sling TV is integrated in the guide. From CM website:
    ————————————————
    Using Internet Apps
    For your convenience, the Internet-enabled YouTube, Pandora, Sling TV, Channel Master TV, and
    VUDU apps are integrated into the program guide of your DVR+. By accessing the channel-200
    range from your guide, the information banner, or other screens, you exit from any over-the-air TV
    broadcast and enter online app for one of these services. (You must select the Confirm option when
    prompted.)
    The DVR+ receiver will be placed in standby mode, and recordings that are scheduled or in progress
    will continue uninterrupted.
    ——————————————-
    I don’t know how different this is from “unified interface” you mention.

    Maybe a CM DVR+ user can chime in and clarify?

  14. I was a DVR+ plus (since I get one of just about everything). Sling TV, and all their apps, are like individual channels in the guide, but the content itself doesn’t coexist in the guide. It’s just a shortcut to open the app. And, generally speaking, this generation of DVR+ is too slow for me… I hear more/different may be coming.

  15. So now I’m wondering why there is no local, network TV displayed in the guide imagery… possible this is merely an Android TV box with tricked out Netflix-capable Sling TV app and OTA is via Android TV (and tuner) or via TV and HDMI pass-thru? Hmmm.

  16. No market for this box I see. Most potential customers have their devices already. Most of what it does Sling apps can do on other devices. Then there is the color scheme on this device. And there is that nasty issue of millions of people with bad OTA reception, which is why years ago people got cable or satellite in the first place.

  17. I reached out to Sling last week when I first noticed the updated photo of the AirTV box on their website. This is indeed a “tricked out” Android box (I’m not certain, however, if it actually features the Android TV operating system). There is no built-in tuner, incidentally, as it was originally conceived, but rather requires a USB dongle for the reception of OTA channels. I would imagine that this dongle would work on other Android boxes, as well, but this integration is currently only available to foreign subscribers of Sling TV’s international service. In fact, this box is currently being sold overseas in select retail stores. The box (expected to launch stateside next year) will be priced at $99 and the dongle will cost $39. If one purchases both as a bundle, one is entitled to a $10 discount. By the way, Android TV’s Live Channels app currently integrates OTA channels from HDHomeRun’s boxes with online content. If Sling would retool their app to support Live Channels integration, that would be awesome, but unlikely. (As a side note, HDHomeRun does not support Internet streaming of one’s OTA signal like Tablo and earlier versions of the Slingbox.)

  18. AirTV looks interesting. It is exactly what i want to see from a steaming device. They need to have some way to incorporate local channels with other paid TV channels. In Channel Master, you have a guide but the Sling TV is not integrated into the guide and so you have to open the Sling app itself to access those paid channel. It is rather inconvenience especially giving the slowness of the device. In Tablo, you get local but no paid TV. In Firefox and Roku, you have to open the individual apps and no local channels can be integrated. Licensing issues does not allow them to access those channels. I have always envision something like AirTV to work where you can integrate the local channels into Sling TV lineups. Amazon Fire TV and Roku can’t do nothing about integrating those local channels into Sling TV because it is up to Sling TV to integrate them. The same go with Playstation Vue, those companies need to come out with their own devices in order to integrate and merge local channels with paid channels.

    Now, the question about AirTV is and this is very important…can you record local LIVE TV? And is there a TV guide integrated and make local channels part of the guide? If you can’t record Live local channels, it is a negative. They can of course allow cloud recording like they did with the paid channels and that’ll probably solve the issue.

    Another thing about Sling TV is i didn’t like how their guide is setup. I wish the interface look more like that of Direct TV Now. So with that said, i am sure in the future, AT&T will have something to say about having coming out with their own device to include local channels. So, this is just a start of a trench.

  19. thyname, re: Channel Master DVR+ & Sling integration > it’s essentially just a single channel that says “Sling TV” and launches a page devoted to Sling TV content. Basically a shortcut.

  20. Kinda crazy this all hasn’t been worked out yet, but apparently live OTA tv is the lynch pin that everything revolves around.

    I believe Apple is close to a breakthrough on this problem that no one has been able to fully solve yet. That is their sweet spot.

    With the introduction of the ATV4 and the recently launched “TV app” they now have their TV Guide. This is their key. They can take on Pay TV and Streaming services without ever having to build a streaming service of their own.

    All that’s left is for them to finalize negotiations with the Big 4 ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX to offer a live stream package (possibly with iCloud DVR capability or same night of air VOD)

    Once they have that in place, they have all the relationships they need to package up several of the most popular apps (Watch ESPN, HBO Go, Discovery, A&E, HGTV, CNN, etc) and offer them as a bundle (you are merely buying a month to month single sign-on to a bundle of best of class apps).

    To compete and win, Apple doesn’t have to build anything they don’t already have, unlike Sony, AT&T and Sling.

    I can already see the gaps in the TV App just waiting to be filled.

  21. Europe and particularly France has been doing that for years now. Actually I even contacted Sling TV CEO and talked several times with their Senior Vice President, Chief Product Officer, Ben, with the same idea .ie an OTT/OTA box. I guess they made it real now..

  22. The design is slick and unique. Glad its not just another “black box”

  23. What I want, what all my friends want, is a device that behaves like a cable box.

    I press one button and I have “The Guide”
    With the guide, I can see what’s on every channel, with PiP preview
    Built in DVR, fast, easy and simple to use, for any show (except PPV)
    DVR features (pause, rewind, etc) available even for “live” TV

    Nothing on the market yet can match this interface.

  24. Some disclosure may be in order…

    “Montee” commented from an Echostar network. Echostar and DISH (which operates Sling) have deep ties, having been spun off from the same corporate entity with Echo frequently designing hardware for DISH.

    On one hand, Echo is a large corporation and perhaps Montee just happens to work there with a personal opinion on the matter. Or perhaps he’s attempting to drive the narrative. We absolutely love industry contributions, however anonymous astroturfing is frowned upon.

    By the by, I’m neutral on the box/remote looks — it’s “less weird than TiVo Bolt” and more innocuous given its size is kinda where I land. It’s not like I’m sticking the bundle on the fireplace mantle. Although I do wonder how compact the tuner accessory will be — that’s a bigger design issue for me.

  25. “We absolutely love industry contributions, however anonymous astroturfing is frowned upon.”

    But that kind of ethics is just how Charlie Ergen rolls, no?

  26. I don’t really find it a problem to open different apps. The only benefit would be if I ota could be recorded. TiVo over the air dvr is expensive. Second off topic what cord cutters need most is a antenna or some way to receive free ota regardless of where you live when I look at what technology can do today I believe that’s possible

  27. AirTV Accessibility Guide (think closed captioning and captions) has now been posted:

    http://www.echostar.com/~/media/Images/Echostar/Files/AirTV%20Accessibility%20Guide.ashx?la=en

  28. Ahh … thanks for the post of the accessibility guide, Dave. Judging by the settings screencaps, it’s quite evident that this box is indeed running the Android TV OS, as opposed to a version of the mobile OS (I had suspected as much based on the existence of the mic icon on the remote). This box just seems pointless to me, though. I’m wondering how many USB ports it will actually have. If there isn’t enough storage available, then one would need an external hard drive to record OTA programs (unless Sling will permit one to record to the cloud, which is doubtful). One USB port will already be used for the tuner dongle, so this box would need at least two, ideally three (since it will be an Android box, I would imagine one may want to use a USB port for connecting a flash drive for viewing external content). By the way, it amazes me how many irresponsible journalists there are out there … I read one article today on a site that had reported that Dish “will be streaming Netflix Inc.’s programs through its over-the-top (OTT) Sling TV video streaming service”. Apparently, they got that idea from the existence of the Netflix button on the AirTV remote, which is similar to Roku’s remote (it’s quite obvious that the button will launch a separate app). It would not make any sense for Netflix to allow a competitor to integrate their own content in another app. It is for that reason that I doubt that SlingTV will ever feature integration with Android TV’s Live Channels app. If there is any question about what the Netflix button does, one could just call them up and ask (https://www.airtv.net/contact/)! I called them up last week, and they had no problem talking to me about the cost of the units and the details regarding the tuner dongle!

  29. By the way, here’s the FCC page for the device that I had found last Friday: https://fccid.io/G95-UIW4010ECH .

  30. So I’m guessing this is a box that starts up in the Sling TV app as its default UI and from there system settings and additional apps (i.e. the Android apps drawer) can be accessed. I don’t think this could really be Android TV as that has a pretty specific UI that it must adhere to, although it probably runs the Android TV version of apps available to it in the Google Play store. Attach a USB OTA tuner dongle and local OTA channels will be integrated into the Sling TV app UI.

    If the Mi Box gets updated to Android TV 7.0 (it’s supposed to), it will have the ability to use certain USB OTA tuners and integrate those channels into Google’s Live Channels app, along with basic DVR functionality for those channels if storage is available. The Nexus Player can do this now; it’s currently the only Android TV device that’s been updated to 7.0.

    So the differentiating factor for the AirTV box would seem to be the ability to integrate local OTA channels into the Sling TV UI, which would make a lot of sense if you’re a Sling TV subscriber. For anyone else, not as much.

  31. Darryl, that same FCC listing is linked in the article – I’ve been sitting on it since it passed thru, awaiting more info.

    Regarding Netflix, there is some sort of interaction between Sling TV and Netflix given the Netflix tiles showing up in the Sling TV guide as pictured above. Unless it’s just a form of deep linking (without personalization?) that launches the separate Netflix app.

    Not clear how, where OTA appears yet.

    We’ll see if Xiaomi moves enough Mi boxes to stick with the updates… Whereas Nvidia is sticking around a bit longer with their new Android TV box being announced next month.

  32. Isn’t this the service?
    https://www.sling.com/devices/airtv

  33. Hey, Dave. I noticed the link to that FCC page on your original post after I replied, but I couldn’t delete my reply. As for that screencap with the Netflix bar, a better version is on that accessibility guide, where it’s apparent that links to one’s recent viewings on Netflix can be found at the bottom of the My TV page. You’d notice that there is no Netflix option in the menu bar of the SlingTV app, so I bet those My TV links launch the full app and that one must open the full app to view any other content on Netflix. Interestingly, there is still a “Movies” tab … I therefore doubt that Sling will be replacing their pay movies selection with Netflix, because if they were, they would most certainly be renaming the tab. It furthermore appears to me that Sling TV has basically replaced Android TV’s homescreen, which isn’t without precedent in the Android world (many manufacturers have replaced Google’s launcher with their own variants in versions of Android shipped with phones). I personally don’t think Sling did a good job with integrating their app with Android TV (which, unquestionably, is the OS on this box). The settings icons on the bottom of the My TV page, for instance, ought to be monochrome like the OS settings icons. As for the OTA channels, they will probably be accessible via both the My TV and Guide tabs (if one has purchased a USB tuner dongle, of course). I just don’t see Sling implementing a cloud DVR for the OTA channels, as I would regard that as a violation of the Supreme Court’s Aereo decision. If Sling doesn’t integrate on-device recording of OTA channels, then I would regard this box as most definitely half-baked.

  34. Cloud DVR is probably OK — Aereo was hosting the antennas, basically acting as an unlicensed distributor. However, cloud DVR is not trivial and given the history of this product (it’s been kicking around for years), I don’t think they’d be prepared at this point. The box is clearly running Android but I find it odd that Google would let them put the Play Store button on the remote if they’re skinning the experience (vs say Amazon Fire TV’s approach).

    Wish we could track down a photo of the tuner adapter.

  35. There are some complicated issues here.

    OTA > Local Storage.
    First, the legality of recording OTA content onto a device located at the home. That is obviously allowed and has been in practice for several years. First, most notably by Directv and then by Tivo, Channel Master, Tablo, HDHomeRun and others. If Sling’s AirTV utilizes local storage of OTA content, they would fall under this category.

    OTA > Cloud Storage
    This is a newer development and to my knowledge has never been offered before in a commercially available product. In the legal language governing cloud DVR, you will hear two terms that are extremely relevant to copyright, “private copy” and “shared copy”. Private copy means a 1 to 1 relationship between a person and a recording saved for them in the cloud. This provides for the least restrictive copyright clearance for folks like AirTV, but it is very inefficient and has magnitudes more storage requirements on the cloud infrastructure. Shared copy means a 1 to many relationship between a single copy of content and many users who have requested that content be “recorded”. This is a much more efficient model for the cloud infrastructure, but requires higher bandwidth capacity to serve to all consumers requesting the content at any given time. Its also the most perilous in terms of copyright law and is used more in Europe than in the US.

    I believe we will see some clarification and testing of these areas of copyright law and we move more into this territory with the streaming of content replacing traditional delivery.

  36. Boxee Cloud DVR was sold in Walmart and recorded OTA to the cloud. Again, the primary reason Aereo was shut down was re-transmission of unlicensed content. Anyone who goes down this path, as we know TiVo is, would almost assuredly store 1:1 copies to stay out of trouble for a whole host of reasons. They could be challenged, but I’d guess they’re on pretty solid footing. There is no indication (yet) that AirTV will offer any flavor of OTA recording.

  37. Thanks Dave. Boxee looks extremely interesting. What happened to it?

  38. If Sling were to upload a customer’s OTA signal to the web and then make it available for download as a recording, they would indeed be re-transmitting unlicensed content. 1:1 copies did not keep Aereo out of trouble. Remember, they had argued in the court that the “copy is the subscriber’s own copy, and subscribers are assigned their own, unique antenna”. The Court balked at that justification. Justice Breyer wrote that “[a]n entity that engages in activities like Aereo’s performs,” and the “justices also determined that Aereo performs “publicly,” since its transmitted data are available for viewing whenever subscribers watch a program. In that way, Aereo’s set-up is no different than that of cable companies, whose transmissions have been long considered “public” performances.” (http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/06/25/aereo-ruling-qa/11352989/) AirTV could conceivably avoid a court battle if they were to not charge for the service, but Congress has passed legislation that requires anyone who re-transmits broadcast signals (like the cable companies do) to pay royalties to the broadcasters when they do so (http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/06/symposium-a-win-though-a-narrow-one-thanks-to-breyer-j-for-copyright-owners/), so I just would not regard this as economically feasible. I think TiVo would also be dipping their toes into dangerous legal waters if they proceed with a launch of their Mavrik device. As for the USB dongle, considering that AirTV is being manufactured by a Dish subsidiary, I’d be willing to bet that that this dongle will end up being the same as (or a variation of) the OTA dongle that Dish had introduced for their Hopper boxes (Part Number: 194858)(http://www.laaudiofile.com/dish_hopper_sling.html).

  39. Daryl, except the content is broadcast to my gear in my home and I’m just choosing to back it up to my private hard drive partition that happens to be located offsite. Aereo resold the signal basically whereas the signal is mine in this scenario. Like I said I could see it possibly being challenged but I think they’d have a better defense. By the by, TiVo’s OTA recoding also looks destined for Roamio and Bolt.

  40. … except, Dave, we’re not talking about a simple backup. With cloud DVR’s, the recordings are STREAMED to one’s home device (they are therefore not wholly transferred back to the customer’s set-top box). A good lawyer could definitely argue that that amounts to *re-transmitting* a broadcast signal, and in ABC Inc. v. Aereo, the case “turned on a part of the copyright law that requires the permission of copyright owners for “public performances” of their work. The law defines such performances to include retransmission to the public.” (https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/26/business/media/supreme-court-rules-against-aereo-in-broadcasters-challenge.html?_r=0) Note that in my earlier posting, I referred to the Supreme Court justices’ determination that “Aereo performs “publicly,” since its transmitted data are available for viewing whenever subscribers watch a program.” I regard that wording as fairly vague, but it nevertheless appears that the court’s determination was not necessarily predicated on where the antennas were placed. On the contrary, it appears that that determination may have at least been partially based on the on-demand nature of the service, which would essentially be identical to a cloud DVR solution that Dish could possibly offer. (I haven’t read the whole decision, however, so I’m not certain of the context of the quote.) Regardless, it’s definitely a slippery slope. The question is, do TiVo and Dish really want to risk sliding down it? There’s probably a good reason why AirTV launched overseas first….

  41. I believe the main issue with Aereo was that the antennas used to retransmit the station signals to the homes constituted a “public performance” of the content. This public performance was the lynch pin that triggered copyright protection.

    In the case of an OTA cloud DVR, the initial “performance” still occurs legitimately via the user’s reception of the OTA signal into their home. The recording of that signal is initiated in the home and then saved for later “performance” inside the home. I would think that a skilled team of litigators could argue the case to a better outcome than Aereo.

  42. “Daryl, except the content is broadcast to my gear in my home and I’m just choosing to back it up to my private hard drive partition that happens to be located offsite. Aereo resold the signal basically whereas the signal is mine in this scenario.”

    Don’t disagree with Dave about the differences about Sling and Aereo, but since we’re off on the Aereo tangent at the moment, let me propose a thought experiment on why that verdict was so utterly and crazily wrong:

    Let’s say you have bad OTA reception. You pay rent to a neighbor a mile away to mount an antenna on their roof just for you, and a box in their home to transmit the signal to you over the internet. Is that illegal? Is that an illegal “public performance”? I certainly don’t think any court would find it to be illegal. But it’s not different in any way from what Aereo was doing, except for scale, which should not affect the legality.

    And now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, folks should feel free to ignore the tangent if they wish, and get back to more Sling-specific issues.

  43. I never thought the Aereo ruling was correct. Even the SCOTUS admitted their ruling was on gut not law. Hopefully, a new America First administration will retool the FCC as a consumer friendly organization.

    This AirTV looks promising. I liked Aereo, so some extent, and had high hope for Mohu Channels, but this looks like the real deal. For most cord trimmers, Sling TV+Netflix+OTA is a very complete solution. With a likely monthly cost of <$100 (including high speed internet and VOIP), the price is right. The box itself should be ~$100 and/or subsidized by the Sling/Netflix subscriptions.

    I think this box is going to spawn a lot of imitators. Sony (Vue), DirecTV (Now), Hulu, Amazon (Prime), and Walmart (Vudu) have to be paying attention. Will we see more partnerships? Will OTA-integrated streamers be the next big thing?

    Looking forward to incremental improvements on everything in 2017.

  44. @Len, Good points and while I’m not certain yet whether #AirTV is all we hope it will be, two things you said struck a common cord with me:

    1) “Hopefully, a new America First administration will retool the FCC as a consumer friendly organization.”

    Agreed. If #Aereo were to happen in 2017, after Supreme Court reset, it may have benefited from changing Nationalist shift under way since election.

    2) “Will OTA-integrated streamers be the next big thing?”
    If the likes of Apple, Amazon and Google were to get serious about going nuclear against the broadcast networks entrenched negotiating positions, this would appear to be their silver bullet in the cause.

  45. The only problem the majority of the Supreme Court (well, even the dissenting minority who, nonetheless, voted in Aero’s favor also felt it was not ethical) was that Aero created a “Rubes Goldberg” to avoid paying the broadcasters streaming (forget about even recording them) their signals and content. All any of these device service provides have to do is cut deals with broadcaster, etc. The problem is that outside of Network O&O’s, it is extrememly difficult to cut deals with the hundreds of local tv satations (even just the affiliates of the big 4) without HUGE costs, and that means even with companies who own several locals. Just look at the cable and sat situation where a huge part of their costs are for providing local stations–before adding the cost of national cable channel services– along with the frequent disputes from all cable and sat cos. Becareful what you ask for, you may get it, and it may cost your PLENTY.

  46. I should clarify that the Supreme Court regarding Aereo was not at all addressing the OTA signals ORIGINATING at your private HOME. That is bullit proof legal. The Supreme simply believed that even though Aereo MET ALL THE TESTS of Personal, Private, USER INITIATED and USER CONTROLLED (as ALL the lower courts had ruled in favor of Aereo), if the signal was originating from a REMOTE location, then the content providers should be PAID. In other words, Aereo SEEMED or LOOKED to much like an MVPD rather than a Slingbox in a private HOME that merely placeshifted, BUT and a BIG BUT, is that for something like a Slingbox the MVPD had already PAID for that content and the CONSUMER AT HOME had alraedy PAID for that content, so if we want to placeshift it, we may–one stream at any time, that is, otherwise more simultaneous streams will cost money to paid to content providers or owners.

    The issue was a majority of the Supreme believed–and it was a BELIEF, not a ratinoal legal opinon–that entities such as media companies and broadcasters ought to be PAID before an MVPD or psuedo-MVPD can do anything with that signal. The good news out of this is that nothing we are talking about in this thread is illegal if deals are cut and companies get paid. Money makes every wanted feature such as cloud DVR possible.

  47. SlingTV is still in Beta with its cloud DVR. It may be possible that cloud DVR could be a feature to come for AirTV device. Further, cloud DVR could allow Sling to monetize this device. While SlingTV cloud DVR is slated to cost no additional money for 100 Hrs of storage, I don’t know if any DVR cloud for AirTV would be free, but it would be a great way to have money pouring in to Sling every month.

  48. Len Mullen and Scott,

    I believe you two are incredibly naive in regards to the implications of the new regime’s intentions on consumers vs corporate power, specifically those mediated by the FCC.

    Obviously, YMMV. And just as obviously, I’d be happy if you two were correct and I were wrong.

  49. @HarryKerryJr I believe DirecTV and Dish are currently profitable. Moving delivery from satellite to terrestrial where the consumer is responsible for hardware and support would make them more profitable. That is what is going on here.

    The problem with the Aereo fcc/court process in total is that the FCC prevented Aereo from competing as a ‘cable company’ (MVPD) then the SCOTUS told them they could not be something else. It was all about protecting the palm greasing premium television providers from competition.

    The reverse auction and repacking are another example of the FCC working against free tv. ATSC 3.0 is enabling the monetizing of free tv.

    The steps to protecting consumers from the Entertainment Moguls are…

    – allow consumers to format shift media they have paid for without restriction
    – roll back copyright laws to pre-1962 (or before)
    – require MVPDs to charge the same rate for each customer
    – force MVPDs to spin off content creating subsidiaries

    Any regulation which needs a caveat called ‘Fair Use’ is obviously not fair. The idea that these Fair Use caveats are determined every three years by a nameless, faceless, unaccountable Librarian of Congress is practically an admission of wrong doing. Congress has authorized copyright protections nearly 10x what the Constitution authorizes. Allowing the premium providers to bundle content and distribution in ways designed to create a barrier to the market violates the spirit and letter of the anti-trust laws. Of course, dismantling broadcast television violates the covenant that made our entertainment infrastructure possible.

    The top 20 congressional lobbyists for 2016 include AT&T, National Assn of Broadcasters, Alphabet (Google), Comcast Corp, National Cable & Telecommunications Assn, and Amazon.com.

    This is only germane to a discussion of OTT in the sense that the new services are MVPDs which are not regulated as such which is, once again, killing the consumer. Why shouldn’t Sling TV have to conform to ‘must carry’ rules, for instance?

  50. It’s always possible that the marketing folks who put together this little video for the new AirTV Player are confused, but it appears that the unit is “powered by AndroidTV” rather than their own customized leanback version of Android (like Amazon Fire TV). So apparently one can exit the Sling TV UI and get the standard Android TV UI with its rows of recommendations, apps and games. Also, the video shows OTA TV channels being accessed via Android TV’s stock Live Channels app, NOT through the Sling TV app, which is kinda weird. I thought the whole point of this device was to integrate OTA and cable streaming channels together in the Sling TV app. (Although maybe OTA channels can be accessed in either app. I don’t think we’re going to know those kind of details until someone does a hands-on review.)
    http://www.androidpolice.com/2017/01/03/dish-unveils-airtv-4k-android-tv-streaming-box-netflix-sling-youtube/

  51. I’m with you Tim, I think the only real thing developed here is the remote which is the part “integrating” these services. They took Android TV and added a remote to get you back to the “Sling TV UI” from the already developed stock live channels piece of Android TV.

  52. Lee Mullen: Except that EVERY lower Court agreed that Aereo was LEGAL, and LEGAL in the sense of NOT having to PAY the broadcasters to send those signals to a subscribers home. The lower courts simpley came to the conclusion that Aereo was NOT an MVPD. On the other hand, the Supreme rejected all the test and simply ruled that if it LOOKED like an MVPD, and it ACTED like an MVPD, it was an MVPD, and, therefore, the broadcasters are entitled to payment. And then the really whacky qualificatio from the Supreme that the Aerea decicsion SHOULD NOT be taken to apply to ANY other such similar technology or remote streaming tech because, the logic used by the majority really does throw in to question every other ruling regarding such tech. This odd qualification in the ruling merely affirms that it was all about PAYMENT, in the minds of the majority: someone at some point should be paying the broadcasters. However, it is for CONGRESS to close the loopholes in a law, not the Supreme, but the majority felt comfortable legislating from the bench, and when a court has to go out of its way to migigate the precedence of its own ruling, we are certain it is an imposition of the court to LEGISLATE from the bench.

    I don’t subscribe to the conspiracy theories on this subject; we just had a Supreme who imposed their sense of ethics using existin law as a guide upon a situation that just didn’t seem proper. Simple as that. Sometimes even judges are imperfect, prejudiced, emotional, beings who don’t evaluate a case based on the facts and the law. The Scalia and the minority did NOT LIKE that Aereo was not paying the broadcasters, but they conceded that what Aereo was doing was legal because it met the tests and that the Court’s is not to legislate, but rule on the facts and law, that this matter was up to Congress to close loopholes in laws, not the Court.

  53. I have one of these and it’s at this point basically equivalent to a Nexus Player. It runs standard AndroidTV. It has ability to install apps from Google Play. It has SlingTV app installed. Etc, etc. But Sling didn’t deliver a single part of the software that they demo’d at CES. No integration of OTA channels into Sling Guide (after they were exposed they promised “sometime in early 2017”) no integration with Netflix queues and personal recommendations (stone silence on that one). So right now you have 2 guides… SlingTV and LiveChannels. Neither includes the other. And frankly LiveChannel’s guide is much better than Sling’s. If only Tablo or SiliconDust would get their act together with their LiveChannels integration I’d take it over Sling any day. But.. Tablo has no LiveChannel integration (or at last that I know of) and SiliconDust’s integration is still Beta and for a good reason because it’s unstable.

  54. Thanks Ted! Just posted based on your intel. Pretty pathetic really.

    http://zatznotfunny.com/2017-01/airtv-arrives-without-ota-guide-integration/

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