Dish is unveiling a new streaming device at CES this year, the AirTV, which uses Android TV as its base operating systems, providing access to the wealth of Android media apps available. But it’s also able to grab over-the-air signals with an antenna for streaming live TV, and it works with Sling TV for a cable-free streaming subscription cord cutting experience.
The AirTV also handles 4K, which is good news if you picked one of these up over the holiday shopping season. The 4K support will primarily grab content from Netflix and YouTube apps, but because the underlying platform is Android TV, there are other sources available, which is not necessarily true for other smart TV devices looking to bring more 4K into the living room.
AirTV basically resembles a small, blue and white Apple TV, and it has a remote with built-in voice input, a nice pair for Android TV itself. The remote and the box combined do have a kind of toy-ish look as a result of Dish’s design choices, but looks aren’t everything when it comes to this kind of device, and it does have a healthy range of content options.
It’s also not necessary for AirTV users to even use Sling TV, the subscription over-the-top streaming service Dish owns. Which is yet another sign of the changing world that TV and cable providers now find themselves in. The AirTV is also available in both OTA and streaming only hardware configurations, and retails for $129 for the antenna-compatible version, and $99 without. Both devices are on sale today at Dish’s new dedicated AirTV website.
Dish also deputed a new “Optimized for Sling TV” certification program Tuesday, which is basically a way for platforms and streaming gadgets to signal their ability to deliver a quality streaming experience for Sling TV. AirTV obviously gains this designation, but so does Xiaomi’s Mi Box set-top streamer.