In December, details of Dish’s rumored AirTV Player leaked, revealing that the device had been redesigned as an Android TV-powered streaming media player with an extra twist in the form of support for over-the-air (OTA) TV. Now Dish has officially unveiled the device at CES and it looks like it could be one of the best streaming boxes for cord cutters yet.
Many of the features here are what you would expect in any Android TV-powered streaming box or TV, with not only preloaded apps like Sling TV and Netflix but full access to the Google Play Store for a ton of other streaming apps. Where the AirTV makes the experience its own is by attempting to seamlessly integrate OTA TV right into its user interface.
“AirTV Player simplifies what has been a fragmented viewing experience and integrates a customer’s entertainment options in one easy-to-navigate app,” director of product development for AirTV Mitch Weinraub said in a statement. “AirTV Player is a versatile platform that unites live, local over-the-air channels, Netflix, Sling TV, YouTube and the Google Play Store with the click of a button.”
The AirTV Player is 4K-compatible, which is important since Google recently introduced 4K movies and TV shows into its Google Play Movies store. The player also features an integrated voice remote, similar to those offered by some Roku models and Amazon’s Fire TV and Fire TV Stick. The remote features dedicated buttons for Sling TV, Netflix, and Google, making finding something to watch even easier.
While the OTA TV aspect of the AirTV Player is what makes it unique, not everyone lives in an area where broadcast TV is easily available. Because of this, OTA functionality isn’t built directly into the player. Instead, the AirTV Adapter, available separately, handles this functionality, and still requires an antenna, which is also sold separately.
The AirTV Player is available in two configurations, with the player itself being sold for $100 and a bundle with the player and the AirTV Adapter available for $130. The adapter is also available as a $40 purchase on its own in case you want to add OTA functionality later on. No matter which version of the player you buy, a $50 Sling TV credit is included, available to both new and existing subscribers.
Finally, for those opting to use an antenna, AirTV Pro Install is available, which will connect you with a local installer to determine where to place an antenna and then install it for you. Single-room installation starts at $100 for an indoor antenna, or $150 for an outdoor antenna. For more information, see the AirTV website.