It seems that someone unwrapped their CES gifts before Christmas. Sling TV from Dish Network was prepared to make a splash in CES with their latest AirTV set top box. This set top box combines Sling content and free over-the-air (OTA) channels in a single program guide, but then they accidentally shared the information before time. The information was uncovered on 20 December and there were wide reporting about the AirTV set top box.
The release date was fixed on Jan. 3, but the product did not get the CES buzz Sling was expecting. With Mohu and Tablo releasing devices with similar capabilities, this has become the year of set top boxes that are capable of merging OTT and OTA.
With its soft rubbery feel and white and blue styling, the AirTV set top box is aimed at households that use Sling TV, OTA channels, and Netflix. AirTV STB is available for 99 dollars a month, but that will provide access to only streaming content. If you need to get OTA channels, you will need to buy the box together with an antenna adapter, which is sold separately in a bundle for 129 dollars and then pair the adapter with a digital antenna that can be bought separately.
It is reported that Sling would offer installation of the antenna for a small price in some of their service areas. The AirTV set top box is built on Android and is capable of running Android apps.
The remote for AirTV is designed by Universal Electronics and they have showed the remote at their CES booth. This remote has a big blue button to call up Sling TV and features dedicated buttons for Google and Netflix. The remote aims at offering simplicity and it does not have any Mode or Input button. If your kids leave the television switched to a game, you just need to press on the Sling button on the remote to set the TV to the HDMI port for streaming content.
The on-screen guide will show Sling TV channels, over the air channels, and show movies from Netflix, queued in a single location. This will help users save the bother of switching between screens. The AirTV set top box is also capable of streaming 4K video, and it could be a real winner for cord cutters who are tired of tuning over the air channels.