Dish Bows Over-the-Air TV Streaming Device3 Jan, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Dish Network Jan. 3 announced availability of a new streaming media device utilizing over-the-air digital transmission. The AirTV Player is a 4K Android TV-based streaming box that uses an antenna.
Dish also announced it is the first TV provider to offer direct compatibility with Amazon Alexa, the voice-controlled remote control software.
Citing Nielsen data claiming 14 million U.S. households watch over-the-air TV, which is up 24% over the past four years, the AirTV Player and optional OTA AirTV Adapter ($129.99 combined) enable access to digital broadcasts of local channels, including ABC, CBS, FoX and NBC, in addition to on-demand content.
“Americans are rediscovering free local, over-the-air TV for sports, shows and news, particularly given how well OTA complements popular streaming platforms like Netflix, Sling TV and YouTube,” Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV, said in a statement.
The company also markets in-home technical support (AirTV Pro Install), priced from $99.99 for a standard one-room install. The service utilizes Winegard FlatWave Amped indoor antennas and Televes DigiNova BOSS outdoor antennas. Purchase price includes $50 credit to Dish’s online TV service Sling TV.
“There is an art to identifying the best antenna and positioning to get free HD TV channels in your home,” Weinraub said.
AirTV Player includes apps for Netflix, Sling TV and YouTube. In addition, Android TV offers access to movies, apps and games through the Google Play Store, which requires a separate Google account.
The wireless device can play 4K content (separate 4K TV required), and is Bluetooth compatible.
Over-the-air digital transmission was first tried in 2012 by Aereo TV, which launched a subscription streaming player/DVR that was quickly challenged in the courts by broadcasters claiming the service illegally distributed copyright-protected content.
In 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Aereo TV breached copyright law — effectively shuttering the service. AirTV, by contrast, is a subsidiary of Dish, which has retransmission agreements with major broadcasters.