Dish’s Sling TV is pushing out even further into living rooms with the release of its own streaming device, the AirTV Player. The set-top box looks to bring everything a cable TV escapee could hope for all into one seamless interface: Netflix, local broadcasts and, of course, live cable channel service through a Sling TV subscription.
As is the case with most cord-cutting service announcements, however, there’s quite a few caveats along with the small issue that as of now, the AirTV Player hasn’t been formally announced at all. While the device page for the AirTV Player and an FAQ section are active on the Sling TV site, the product hasn’t been promoted through any of Sling TV’s promotional channels.
The box’s setup is simple enough. All you need is an HDMI cable and internet connection. You’re not required to have a SlingTV subscription, although opting for this specialized streamer without going all in seems more than a bit redundant when there are simpler (and likely cheaper) options on the market, like a Roku stick.
The AirPlay TV’s one standout feature is its integration of live over-the-air (OTA) local broadcasts and Netflix programming in its home interface. That said, you’ll need both a separate OTA antenna and a special AirTV adapter to pick up those local channels (if you have good reception, that is), both of which will be sold separately.
Other than Sling TV, Netflix is the only third-party streaming service that looks to be available on the main interface of the AirTV Player. The device’s remote has a Google button, which suggests the Play Store will be immediately accessible as well. The remote also appears to have an option for voice commands.
In regard to other services, it wouldn’t be too far a stretch to assume that the Cloud DVR beta program, which has been available for Sling TV subscribers on select Roku devices since the middle of December, will be included in some form.
All that said, we don’t know anything but the most basic features because there has been no official announcement. Mashable has reached out to a Sling TV rep for more details, and will update upon receiving response. If nothing else, the AirTV Player could be primed for a CES unveiling next month.
While you can watch some general broadcast channels through Sling TV already through service add-ons or as part of the more expensive Blue Package, these options can be fragmented by region and never offer major network CBS. The AirTV Player is an attempt to bring broadcast TV into Sling’s purview but until we know more details, it’s probably a much better idea to just get a basic streamer and cheap broadcast antenna for your basic channel access.