AirTV Network TV Tuner Streams to Apps in Home and Away

AirTV is offering another solution for cutting cable costs. The Dish-owned subsidiary has launched a new device that can stream free local television to smart TVs, media players, tablets, and phones in your home or on the road.

A follow-up to last year’s AirTV Player, which combines a local TV tuner with a media player, the new AirTV is a stand-alone network TV tuner/streamer with no media player features. You connect it to an antenna and to your home Wi-Fi network and it streams programming to Dish’s SlingTV app (subscription required) or the AirTV app. The new device has two tuners so you can stream two different channels. While two people can watch different channels on TVs in the home, only one channel is available for streaming when you’re away from home.

Because the AirTV doesn’t connect directly to a TV — there is no video output — it can be located wherever antenna reception is optimal. (If you opt to install an outdoor antenna, professional installation is available through Dish’s network of installers.) And because the device can stream local channels like ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, and PBS to the Sling TV or AirTV app (on Roku or Amazon Fire TV), you only need one TV antenna for all of our TVs. AirTV also streams to iOS and Android phones and tablets for viewing when you’re away from home.

AirTV is not the first Wi-Fi-enabled network TV tuner that streams to devices without connecting to a TV. Silicon Dust’s HDHomeRun has been around for a few years. It works as a network tuner to bring live TV streaming to Plex and other streaming apps. The Tablo DVR is a network tuner and recorder that offers local TV streaming as well as DVR capabilities but you have to pay $5 a month to receive a guide to local stations. These apps vary in terms of the features and devices to which you can stream and tend to be aimed at a more advanced user.

By comparison, the AirTV streams to SlingTV and integrates into the app’s channel guide. Setting up Sling to receive network TV streams is as easy as going into the app’s Settings menu and choosing “over-the-air channels.” If you don’t subscribe to SlingTV, you can use the free AirTV app to receive network TV broadcasts throughout the house; the app even includes a simple channel guide.

AirTV is available for $120 on Amazon and and includes a $25 credit toward a SlingTV subscription. A DVR solution is in Beta. Stay tuned for a hands-on review.

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hk2000's picture

If it works as well as Sillicondust HDHomeRun, it's definitely worth it. I've been using the HDHomeRun with 2 over the air tuners and the Prime with 3 cable card tuners for several years now. Both work perfectly on all my devices- including Windows phones and tablets, which this device doesn't seem to support. But this is definitely the best thing to happen to TV watching.