Who knew that DISH Network would be advocating for cord-cutting?
In a bold move designed to give its “skinny bundle” Sling TV “over the top” (OTT) TV service an added boost, a new device that brings together live internet streams and free local TV has been brought to market. The product is marketed with the tag line, “Cut the cord with AirTV and watch TV on your terms.”
How does AirTV work? When connected to an over-the-air digital TV antenna and a WiFi network in the home, it can bring those broadcast TV signals via a stream to any internet-connected TV or mobile device, regardless of location.
It could bring a big boost to broadcast TV — and at a time when the voluntary rollout of the next gen broadcast standard, ATSC 3.0, is at its very beginning stages.
Subscribers to DISH’s Sling TV can use AirTV. Additionally, there’s an AirTV app on Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and on both Android and iOS-powered mobile devices.
Of course, local channel availability depends on the over-the-air signal availability at the user’s home location. In areas such as New York’s Mid-Hudson Valley, where no broadcast TV stations are found, AirTV may not work.
But in most metropolitan areas, AirTV “solves two problems,” explains Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV.
“First, it blends free local channels with OTT television, something customers have demanded since the advent of streaming. And, because it’s a Wi-Fi-enabled device, you can power your entire home with one over-the-air antenna, simplifying the installation process.”
AirTV connects to a digital antenna and a wireless or wired network, providing two live streams of digitally transmitted over-the-air content simultaneously. Up to two streams are available inside the home; one of these streams can be viewed while outside of the home.
“Customers can mount their antenna connected to AirTV wherever the signal is strongest, whether it’s tucked away in an attic or hidden behind the living room TV,” said Weinraub, who could be speaking to a generation that has never known “rabbit ears” or a rooftop antenna. “AirTV wirelessly streams to AirTV-enabled devices visible to a home Wi-Fi network, so there’s no longer a need to run cables across the home to get OTA signals.”
Existing Sling TV users have the benefit of direct AirTV integration into their accounts.
AirTV retails for $119.99 and does not come with a digital TV antenna, readily available at most home electronics retailers.