AirTV Player with OTA tuner ready for prime time at CES 2017

Dish's first streaming box offers supports an optional USB antenna for receiving live TV over the air and consolidates the whole Sling experience.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
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Lori Grunin
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Is this designed to appeal to the very old or the very young?


After leaking it in mid-December, Dish Network today officially launched its new AirTV brand with a streaming box and optional over-the-air (OTA) dongle that are "optimized for Sling," the company's other service for streaming everything except OTA TV.

The AirTV Player in an Android-powered box that combines the ability to stream online video services -- including Netflix, Sling TV and other apps available in the Google Play Store -- and access live over-the-air TV channels, too.

While nearly every TV can already receive those free channels with the addition of a cheap antenna, the AirTV is offering the convenience of combining them with the online services into a "one-stop shop," without the annoyance of switching inputs. It unifies the antenna-based channels into the Sling TV online channel guide, too.

It also has the benefit of filling in some of those "missing" channels from the Sling TV lineup, including ABC and CBS (the owner of CNET), without requiring licenses with those broadcasters. (NBC and Fox are available on the two pricier of the three Sling programming tiers.)

The Player box costs $100 including remote, the OTA USB adapter is $40, and if you buy them together you save $10 at $130. You get a $50 credit toward Sling TV service when you buy the Player -- but it won't require a subscription unless you want to sign up for services other than OTA. And, of course, relevant subscriptions like Netflix will still cost extra.

Both products are available right this very minute. AirTV is also offering an installation service for folks who don't already have an antenna or who want optimal positioning ($100 indoors, $150 outdoors), though it's only available in a limited number of regions at the moment.

AirTV supports up to 4K resolution, as well as 2.4 and 5GHz Wi-Fi. The Bluetooth remote incorporates voice, too, and it has dedicated buttons for Netflix and YouTube.

Note, however, that it lacks both local and cloud DVR capabilities, which Sling TV is also missing. (A Sling TV cloud DVR service is in beta.) No timeshifting for you!

The AirTV will compete with newly announced 2017 products such as the new Tablo Droid, Tablo Live and Mohu AirWave, all of which aim to integrate antenna-based TV channels with online streaming options.

Sling TV product photos

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Updated January 5 with additional context and newly announced competing products.