Dish today is launching a new dual-tuner adapter for $29 that will allow AirTV Player owners to watch one live TV channel and record another, or record two channels at once. The option to bundle an AirTV Player with the adapter is also now available for $119 — a bit of a savings over buying the single-tuner AirTV Player ($99) and adapter ($29) separately.
The AirTV Player, Dish’s 4K-capable media streamer set-top box, was first unveiled at CES 2017, and was later joined by Dish’s networked TV tuner, called simply AirTV.
The AirTV Player is Dish’s attempt at offering a solution for cord cutters who want to combine access to live TV streams from a digital antenna and those from streaming services, including Dish’s own live TV service Sling TV, as well as other video services like Netflix and YouTube.
To watch and record live TV, the AirTV Player can be connected to an OTA (over-the-air) antenna, sold separately. (Though sometimes Dish doles these out as part of a promotion.)
If you also attach a USB hard drive, the Player can record broadcasts from the antenna for later viewing through the Local Channels DVR feature.
With the launch of the AirTV Player’s dual-tuner adapter, Dish’s full line of AirTV products (meaning, both the AirTV and AirTV Player) now have the ability to record up to two local channels simultaneously.
However, customers who only have need for a single tuner can still buy that version of the AirTV Player for $99.99 — down from its previous price of $129.99. (And if the adapter isn’t needed at all, the cost drops to $89.99.)
Both come with a $50 credit toward Dish’s live TV streaming service, Sling TV.
The addition of the dual-tuner support comes at a time when Dish’s hardware is about to face some serious competition. This month, Amazon unveiled a new device called the Fire TV Recast that’s poised to attract those cord cutters who want to access both live TV and on-demand services in one place. The Fire TV Recast starts at $229.99 for two tuners and a 500GB DVR, and will also be available for $279.99 for a 1TB DVR.
Though pricier than Dish’s products, the nice thing about Recast is that you won’t necessarily have to purchase a separate USB hard drive. (You’ll soon be able to add storage through a USB drive, but many customers may find they have enough space, as is.)
In addition, the Recast offers the same Fire TV interface customers are already familiar with, and includes a programming guide that shows the live content from the over-the-air antenna alongside any live streams from Amazon’s Prime Video Channels. It runs any of the apps and services that a normal Fire TV could — like Netflix, Hulu and others — and offers access to Amazon’s movie and TV catalog and Amazon Originals.
That could pose a challenge for Dish and other OTA DVR makers, like Tablo and TiVo, given Amazon’s popular Fire TV brand and its ability to market its products directly on its own e-commerce site.