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Sling TV’s Air TV Unboxing & Review

Sling TV this year released their first streaming media player called AirTV. The new AirTV comes from its parent company, Dish, and takes the best of over-the-air TV and Sling TV and puts them in one device along with Netflix

I played with the new AirTV at CES back in January week. It offers a smooth, easy streaming experience, and it always loads straight into Sling TV, making that your home page. Along with Sling TV you can plug an antenna into the box thanks to a USB tuner. When you plug in an antenna it puts your local channels directly into the Sling TV guide.

Now I got my own Air TV to unbox and review:

The AirTV runs Android TV the same as the Nvidia Shield or Mi Box. This allows you full access to all that the Google Play store has to offer. You can easily add more apps to the AirTV for services such as Hulu.

In the end the AirTV is the box I would buy my parents or grandparents to help them break free from high monthly bills. The super-easy user interface removes any potential learning curve for new cord cutters.

You can find out more about the AirTV on their website:

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55 Responses to Sling TV’s Air TV Unboxing & Review

  1. Avatar
    Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    Noticed you didn’t mention the price. Thinking its a lot

    • Avatar
      mau47 March 30, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

      $100-$130 if you want the tuner.

      • Avatar
        Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

        So two tv’s $260 plus the cost of 2 antennas or Two Mi boxes and a hdhomerun $220 plus the cost of one antenna and you can do a lot more.

        • Avatar
          Cord Cutters News March 30, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

          I think many will find the $40 well worth it for a far easier to use box. The AirTV is a lot more simple to use than the HD HomeRun. This is a box I would get my parents when they would have no idea how to use a hdhomerun.

          • Avatar
            Karl Childers March 30, 2017 at 7:39 pm #

            If a person is tech savvy enough to connect an Air TV, adapter, and antenna to their television set then they shouldn’t have much trouble plugging an HD HomeRun in to their router. There’s really not much to setup beyond that. Plus, with an HD HomeRun connected to a router you can watch live local stations on any TV in the house using a single antenna. If you wanted to do that with Air TV you’d an adapter and antenna for each set.

            HD HomeRun is also budget friendly since it is compatible with many different streaming devices and despite it being used and praised by many cord cutters I don’t think I’ve ever seen it promoted on this site.

        • Avatar
          mau47 March 30, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

          It would be nice if sling (and others) would just build support for hdhomerun devices into their apps to integrate in instead of releasing specific hardware you have to buy that would allow people to use their preferred streaming box. The hdhomerun was one of the easiest devices I have ever setup, pretty much just had to plug it in, every app I have tried (even third party apps) can initiate a channel scan on it etc, so you don’t have to interact with much at all outside of whatever app you will be using it with.

    • Avatar
      Cord Cutters News March 30, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

      I stopped listing prices as places often change the price and than the review is wrong. I have a link to their website in the story just click on the AirTV link to find the current price.

      • Avatar
        Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

        You do get a $50 credit towards Sling, is that for new customers only?

        • Avatar
          GersonT1000 March 30, 2017 at 2:55 pm #

          Existing customers get a credit.

          • Avatar
            HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

            That is not what I was told when I tried to use the coupon from the package of my 2nd AirTV box.

        • Avatar
          HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:37 pm #


    • Avatar
      HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:31 pm #

      $129.99 plus S&H for both tuner and box.

  2. Avatar
    JeffO March 30, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Luke, what was the total price for the unit with the antenna adapter? Do you have a link to buy it? My Mom is considering it and one remote would be the best way to go for her.

    • Avatar
      Cord Cutters News March 30, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

      Yes Jeff if you click on the Air TV link you will find the current price and how to buy it on their site.

  3. Avatar
    Paul Wenger March 30, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    Do you need line of sight for the remote? I like to hide my boxes when I can.

    • Avatar
      GersonT1000 March 30, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

      The remote is bluetooth so you don’t need line of sight to control the box. However, if you use it to control the volume on your TV or audio system, you need line of sight (I guess it also has an IR blaster).

  4. Avatar
    Jim Smith March 30, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    Hi Luke:
    What if you have a different streaming service like PS Vue? Does it still start at Sling and you need to hunt around for Sling?

    • Avatar
      HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      Pretty much, but it just a few clicks away to get to standard Android TV.

  5. Avatar
    GersonT1000 March 30, 2017 at 2:37 pm #

    For those with Sling service this seems like a great Android TV box. It’s an even better deal with the $50 Sling credit. I’ll still hold on since I’m waiting to see how DirecTV Now does on Roku. At that point I’ll decide which to drop between the two. Now, if this box can record the OTA content then I might get one either way! Does anybody know if it can?!

    • Avatar
      Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

      If the box runs Android 7.0 and you have a hdhomerun. You can record Ota through the Live Channels app with a attached harddrive.

      • Avatar
        GersonT1000 March 30, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

        But I don’t want to have even more devices. Having it built into the box would make it a pretty much automatic purchase.

        • Avatar
          Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 3:20 pm #

          I know Dvr capabilities have been added to Android 7.0, but I can’t find the specs on this device. You will still need to add a hard drive.

          • Avatar
            HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:26 pm #

            FireTV does not run 7.0 and it has DVR, so I would not say it’s a must.

          • Avatar
            Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 11:53 pm #

            The Sling Dvr will NOT record locals off your antenna, it only records Sling content on the cloud. Android tv can do it locally, but it has to be on 7.0, so if Air tv upgraded their OS Ota can be recorded.

        • Avatar
          GersonT1000 March 31, 2017 at 10:42 am #

          I’m not sure if we’re all talking about the same type of DVR. Sling has DVR service for some channels, and I don’t know if the Sling DVR is supported on this device, but what I’m referring to is being able to DVR the OTA to the box or an attached hard drive, regardless of whether you are a subscriber to Sling or not.

  6. Avatar
    Andy Munro March 30, 2017 at 2:44 pm #

    Can Plex be added to this box ?

    • Avatar
      Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 3:03 pm #

      Yes it runs Android tv.

  7. Avatar
    Kurt Semler March 30, 2017 at 3:05 pm #

    Have you tried rooting the box yet?

  8. Avatar
    Richard smith March 30, 2017 at 3:33 pm #

    What version of Android tv does it run

  9. Avatar
    GraySpot March 30, 2017 at 4:31 pm #

    I’ll add a third thumbs up. Just deployed the AirTV with OTA adapter for my mother who lives in an independent living apartment. Her only option previously was the local cable company. With the full OTA integration she was able to use it with only about 5 minutes of instruction. And she is definitely not a technical person.

    This was her first experience with any OTT service, but for the last couple of days she has been enjoying Sling TV and getting great OTA reception from an indoor antenna. She has no idea how any of it works, but it is ‘just working’ which is a big win.

    The colors on the remote are a big plus since they make the remote very visible. The blue separates the white in terms of button function as well. The “Find Remote” button on the main box is also super nice, as it causes the remote to beep. For a person who misplaces the remote, that’s awesome.

    I have the AirTV plugged into an HDMI splitter that drives two TVs (on opposite sides of a wall… which are living room and bedroom). So having a bluetooth remote that works in either room is great for her. I can remove the old IR repeater I had setup for the old cable box.

    The only small complaint I have is that the OTA channels don’t show their channel number in the guide. So my mom was like “Where is channel 5”? I had to explain to her that “5” is NBC and to look for the NBC logo in the channels. To make things worse, around here channel 5 was recently CBS, so its a source of confusion for her to not think about the channel numbers for OTA. But, this is minor, since she will in time just get used to thinking about CBS/NBC/ABC.

    Now for my own use, lack of DVR makes this a no go. I have to be able to DVR OTA, so I use a Tivo Roamio for that. Unless they go crazy and add support for an external HD, I doubt this little AirTV will ever have OTA DVR. But for my mom who doesn’t know what a DVR is, this box is practically perfect.

    So thanks to the AirTV, cord cutting isn’t just for some presumed tweenager demographic. It now has one more senior citizen saving on her monthly bills.

    • Avatar
      EJ95835 March 31, 2017 at 11:38 am #

      Good job, but it’s not over. Your mom’s friends wil be calling on you.

  10. Avatar
    frankinnoho March 30, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

    DVR for OTA? Amazon Prime?

    • Avatar
      HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

      No Prime, side loading does not work for Prime on this box. Been there, done that.

      • Avatar
        frankinnoho March 30, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

        Damn… so promising. Well, that leaves the Shield as a cord cutter best friend. When it gets DVR.

    • Avatar
      HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:29 pm #

      No one really knows, they beta tested DVR with Roku users and now FireTV. My gut says no and that’s probably why they didn’t give it DVR yet. Try to sell through the inventory before AirTV 2.0.

  11. Avatar
    abqdan March 30, 2017 at 7:44 pm #

    Without DVR functionality, this is a no-go. Surprised they don’t get that yet, considering the complaints about Sling not having DVR functionality. I time-shift all my OTA content, so this won’t work. If they add DVR, then I’d certainly consider it.

    • Avatar
      NolaCherie April 2, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

      My Sling does have DVR capabilities (Roku). Has that not been released to everyone yet?

      • Avatar
        abqdan April 4, 2017 at 11:54 am #

        No, the issue is OTA DVR – this device doesn’t offer that yet. So you can’t record the local news at 10 from your antenna.

  12. Avatar
    HalfLifeCrysis March 30, 2017 at 8:35 pm #

    PSA: This box (and most Android boxes) use a trimmed down “lean back” Google store. It will not have access to everything your Android phone has. Check your app compatibility before making assumptions.

    • Avatar
      Kawshik Ahmed March 31, 2017 at 3:31 am #

      There are tons of people who don’t like Phone app stretched to their big screen TV, they want TV optimized apps like the see on Roku. That’s why Amazon made Fire TV OS and Google made Android TV OS.
      Beside company like Netflix won’t show HD content in mobile Android only on Android TV

  13. Avatar
    REP March 30, 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    No DVR and the ugly guide need to go. Give me a real cable looking guide. Give me a real TV guide and DVR and I might consider.

  14. Avatar
    GersonT1000 March 31, 2017 at 10:45 am #

    I’ve also been wondering if you can use any USB antenna adaptor, or if only theirs will work.

    • Avatar
      Richard smith March 31, 2017 at 11:18 am #

      Yes, but you might have to watch through the Live Channels app.

  15. Avatar
    GoGo As March 31, 2017 at 1:57 pm #

    Just so everyone knows, I added the Cloud DVR feature to my Roku with no problem. In fact, the support pages will tell you its available for Roku etc. It works great.

    • Avatar
      NolaCherie April 2, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

      Which cloud DVR service?

      • Avatar
        GoGo As April 2, 2017 at 5:34 pm #

        It is listed as Cloud DVR on my Sling Account. It’s $5.00 a month. Works great and is available on my my devices (Roku, FireTV and Fire Table.)

        • Avatar
          NolaCherie April 2, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

          Hmm. I’m not being charged extra for the cloud DVR on Sling. Maybe because I was a beta tester?

          • Avatar
            GersonT1000 April 3, 2017 at 8:43 am #

            The service costs $5/month for 50 hours. However, beta testers kept it free with 100 hours.

          • Avatar
            NolaCherie April 3, 2017 at 11:16 am #

            What do you mean by “with 100 hours”? 100 hr capacity?

          • Avatar
            GersonT1000 April 3, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

            Yes, they keep 100hr capacity for free. If you’re reaching the limit you can just delete some recorded shows to make space again.

  16. Avatar
    John Riley March 31, 2017 at 6:11 pm #

    Sorry, but the lack of annunciation makes these videos really hard to watch, makes my chest tight, like I need to take a breath!

  17. Avatar
    Joseph Oliveira April 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    Is this box for people who already has Cable? I’m trying to understand what the TV Tuner is for; this is why I asked. If you cancelled Cable (like me) – how would the Cable wire work??

    • Avatar
      Richard smith April 1, 2017 at 10:29 pm #

      It’s for an Ota antenna

  18. Avatar
    anthony greco December 7, 2017 at 9:54 pm #

    On my tcl tv with Roku I can plug in a thumb drive to gain rewind/ fast forward capabilities. Will this do the same?