The AirTV player is a device which lets users stream local channels such as NBC, Fox, ABC and CBS over their home WiFi network. This content is streamed to your TV or mobile device with the help of an antenna, and the channels are completely free due to being OTA (over the air) television. You can watch local channels in high definition quality either at home or on the go using your mobile device, and only one HD antenna is required as it then connects to all network connected devices via WiFi. Additional features such as the local channel DVR allow you to record up to two shows at once, plus set particular series to record all new episodes. Furthermore, there is a USB dongle which allows users to plug in an HD antenna and access all local channels through the AirTV box.
The AirTV has a lighter appearance than the standard black boxes seen with many other competitors on the market. It’s white on top, with a sky blue base and a power indicator located on the front. It’s bigger than the Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV, measuring roughly 5 inches across and 1 inch high. In other words, it’s around the same size as the Roku Ultra. On the back, there are a number of ports, and these include two USB ports and a digital audio port. Furthermore, there is an option to plug in an Ethernet cord – although WiFi is available on this device so it isn’t an essential measure. There is also an HDMI cable, although there is no expandable memory and only 6GB of storage space available.
It’s clear from the outset that the AirTV player is designed for those who are subscribed to Sling TV. This is because the service is what the entire interface is based around. It’s possible to use the service if you’re not subscribed to Sling TV, but you will need to repeatedly return to the app if you want to watch Netflix, play a game, adjust system settings and so on. There isn’t a home screen with the AirTV, as you will instead find a special page of the Sling app which contains all of your favorite channels and content you’ve bookmarked. At the bottom of the page, there is a row of content which has been recommended from Netflix, along with a bar containing quick links to other apps such as Hulu, Spotify or Plex. To navigate between Sling packages and add-ons, you can use the bar at the top of the screen, and this is where you’ll also access the channels your HD antenna picks up. There isn’t a way to bring up a full TV guide, where you can see what’s playing on a number of channels at the same time. Finding a channel requires either using the search function or surfing through them until you find the one you want. There is a traditional Android TV interface seen with the AirTV player, but finding apps is best done by using the Google button followed by the voice search.
AirTV Player remote
The AirTV remote is made of blue and white plastic and is wider than a Roku remote. There is a blue strip on the left hand side, which holds a power button, volume button, mute button, voice search activator and a diamond button which redirects users to the Android TV home screen. On the right hand side of the remote, there are four buttons along the top which are designed for Sling TV subscribers. For example, there is a button which brings up the app, an Info button, a heart which is for marking content as a favorite and a Guide button. Four directional buttons are situated below these, and in the centre there is an OK button. Below this section, you will find buttons which let you go Back, Play/Pause and Recall – in other words, take you back to a previous channel. Circular buttons for Netflix and Google search are also located on this part of the remote.
As you may have guessed, Sling TV is the main source of content on the AirTV Player. For those who use this service frequently, this player is the best streaming box to make use of all the available features. That being said, users can access the Android TV store to download additional apps – as long as they collectively fall under the 6GB storage requirement. For example, media apps such as YouTube, Netflix, Google Play Movies, Pandora, Spotify, VLC Media Player, Google Play Music, Plex, Hulu and Crackle are available, and these are easy to locate and download to your device. While it’s easy to stream live and on demand TV using the AirTV player, wanting to game can pose a problem, primarily due to the amount of storage space available. While there are many games available to play on Android TV, not all of them will work on this device due to only 6GB of storage being on offer. In other words, users won’t be able to play larger and more complex games, because the AirTV player doesn’t have microSD card slots, nor can you use USB storage as expandable memory.
AirTV Player Antenna
The HD antenna integration is of a higher quality than that found with other competitors on the market. In order to hook up your HD antenna to the AirTV player – which will be bought separately – you will need an adapter. However, you can buy both the box and the adapter together to ensure you have the right equipment, and you’ll find that the adapter is plug and play. When you hook up the antenna with the adapter, you’ll immediately have the AirTV player recognise it and prompt you to begin the setup procedure. There won’t be a device restart required, nor will you need to go into the menus to adjust anything. Within a few minutes, you should have the device complete this step, picking up all of the channels available in your area. Once the equipment is fully operational, you will be able to find all of the antenna channels within your usual Sling TV interface. Nearly all channels will feature an icon, name and guide that details what programming is scheduled for the day.
AirTV player DVR
There is a DVR feature available with the AirTV player. The only equipment required to operate this is the Sling TV app and an external hard drive, which allows you to record and playback live content from a compatible device. The DVR has a dual tuner, which means you can either record up to two shows at once or watch one show as it airs live while recording another one. Furthermore, this service is fully integrated, so you’ll see recorded content appear alongside Sling TV’s Cloud DVR. Those who aren’t subscribed to Sling will be pleased to hear that this isn’t a requirement; local channel content can be paused, rewound or fast-forwarded without needing to sign up for any additional services.
The AirTV player provides a streaming service which is particularly versatile for those who use Sling TV, but non subscribers will also be able to make the most of numerous features. You can hook up an antenna to watch free OTA (over the air) channels and record content using the DVR function. Additionally, the apps available don’t just cover video, as there are also music and game options to explore. Overall, AirTV player is a good option for those wanting to focus on watching and recording TV, especially that which comes with Sling TV.