AirTVA new OTT platform that Sling TV will soon launch adds desirable features that may make cord cutting even more appealing. AirTV will put local channels on Sling TV through a separate OTA antenna, integrated with both Netflix and the Sling TV channel line-up on a single interface.

This new method of adding local channels on Sling TV allows a subscriber to receive all their local channels (in theory – in reality, all the channels that are accessible via an OTA antenna), a feat that is not available today.

Sling TV does currently offer some local channels (without the need for a separate OTA antenna) in many markets, but nowhere near all of them. It doesn’t offer CBS anywhere, and ABC access is quite limited.

AirTV  is a new Android-powered STB platform that integrates local channels, Netflix content, and the Sling TV channel line-up into a single interface, meaning customers don’t have to switch inputs on their TV, or use different remotes to access all of that content. It’s presented in one user guide.

local channels on sling tv
Sling TV Interface on AirTV (Source: Sling website)

Other popular OTT STB platforms like Roku and Apple TV can’t match this type of integration, at least not out of the box. So with AirTV, subscribers to Sling get local channels, a skinny bundle of cable channels (including ESPN, CNN etc.), Netflix content, access to premium channels like HBO, and VOD content. Not a bad combination.

A DVR is missing, although Sling is in a beta trial for DVR service . It’s not clear if that cloud DVR option could integrate with the Android-powered AirTV platform, or record the local OTA channels integrated into it.

There are some other potential drawbacks. Customers will still be required to have multiple subscriptions – Sling TV and Netflix, versus a single ‘cable bill.’ Also, customers will probably be required to install the OTA antenna themselves and connect it to AirTV. Not a huge problem for many, but still a hurdle for mass adoption.

Local Channels on Sling AirTV Player
With local channels on Sling TV now accomplished through an integrated OTA antenna, will parent company DISH try to move away from negotiating retransmission rights for local stations on Sling? Probably not likely, at least not in the short term.

But maybe in the long term. AirTV will have to become commercially successful and widely penetrated first. That’s not a given. There will also still be many customers who can’t receive local channels from an OTA antenna, particularly in suburban and rural markets.

The AirTV platform is featured on the Sling website,  but there is no announcement regarding availability or a specific launch date. Perhaps an official launch will take place at next month’s CES show.

Join the Conversation

3 thoughts on “Integrated Local Channels on Sling AirTV Player May Entice Even More Cord Cutters

  1. Perfect for me in that I get 30+ "local" channels via antenna on the roof.. that goes into a Channels Master DVR to TV …Plus Sling ..Netflix etc

    I'll have to research more but if the new Airbox can record LOCAL(antenna) channels like we do with CM DVR then yeah I'd consider it.

    Problem with the way we have it set up now is that we have 3 different input sources..gets to be a Pain..

    I wont Pay $149 though .. If they have a special Introductory offer.. I'll probably grab one

  2. This is nothing new for who has been shipping an Android TV device with built in tuner and local and cloud DVR for the past year. It is called CloudAntenna and it is available at their website for only $4.99 per month, no upfront commitments. It also comes with 700 international tv channels for under $10 per month if you want.

  3. Well, this product still will take market share, because for some clients its important to have local channels.
    John Zack

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