AirTV 2 review: Cut cable, stream local antenna TV with no monthly fee

Sling Tv set was the first are living Tv set streaming service when it went are living in 2015, and immediately after five several years it truly is still a single of the most effective values for cord cutters at $thirty for every thirty day period. The service keeps its prices decrease than competitors like YouTube Tv set for the reason that it isn’t going to carry community channels like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in most sections of the region. The AirTV, now in its 2nd iteration, is the best Sling Tv set companion and a terrific value in its have correct. This hardware tuner box allows you enjoy and report those missing community channels with no spending any regular monthly rate. Just insert a $10 antenna

Like

  • The AirTV two is inexpensive and integrates seamlessly with Sling Tv set.
  • Would not demand a Sling Tv set subscription.
  • No regular monthly rate.

Don’t Like

  • Would not include things like a really hard drive.
  • DVR won’t be able to pause are living community Tv set.
  • Unable to enjoy channels by means of a website browser or on Apple Tv set.

When compared to the excellent Amazon Fireplace Tv set Recast however, the $ninety nine AirTV two is not (nevertheless) a slick, issues-free of charge up grade. First off, you may have to insert your have external really hard drive to change it into a DVR. 2nd, it isn’t going to let people pause community Tv set, and it isn’t going to do the job with all platforms — you won’t be able to use it to enjoy by means of desktop browsers or the Sling application on Apple Tv set

When the AirTV is not the first DVR I would advise to cord cutters (that would be the Fireplace Tv set Recast), the AirTV is a large amount fewer high-priced and operates most effective for Sling Tv set subscribers who want to enjoy are living Tv set athletics and other community programming. And inspite of the simple fact that it employs the Sling Tv set application and menus, you you should not will need to be a Sling Tv set subscriber to use it. 

Design and style

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

Let’s get this out of the way first: like the Recast and other contemporary networked about-the-air DVRs, the AirTV two isn’t going to connect to your Tv set at all. As an alternative, it connects to your property community by means of Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet and sends are living about-the-air Tv set from a connected antenna to your cell or good Tv set machine. To essentially enjoy the Tv set systems, you may use the Sling Tv set application on a single of those gadgets, for example a Roku or Apple iphone. 

The initial AirTV was an Apple Mac Mini-measurement machine embossed with what looked like a sneaker’s tread. The AirTV two is a entire redesign that normally takes up fewer space and has a sleeker look to boot. It sits vertically, like a contemporary cable modem, but it truly is substantially lesser — it tapers out to two.three inches huge, five inches large and 6.five inches deep. 

Connections include things like USB, Ethernet, coaxial antenna and 802.11ac wireless. The machine has two onboard tuners so you can report or enjoy up to two channels at at the time. 

It is truly worth noting that the proprietary electricity connector is type of funky — it clips in like an Ethernet cable. So, if the electricity adapter will become lost or broken, this rules out third-bash replacements. Complete disclosure: we did misplace the competitive Fireplace Tv set Recast’s adapter and obtaining a alternative for that has proved to be tough. 

Features

It can be made use of purely as a are living Tv set tuner, and our assessment of the initial AirTV assessment was based mostly exclusively on that capacity, but adding an external really hard drive adds the skill to report. The enterprise isn’t going to stipulate any unique specifications for the sort of drive aside from that the external machine will have to be involving 50GB and 2TB in measurement.

When compared to the Fireplace Tv set Recast, which has an integrated really hard drive, there is still a large amount of stuff you will need for the AirTV two. I made use of a moveable really hard drive — a WD 2TB Things Portable ($47 at Amazon) — indicating no supplemental electricity brick. Nonetheless, the drive, the interior antenna and its USB umbilical still will need to be placed somewhere.  

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AIrTV is designed to do the job with apps for Roku, Amazon FireTV, Android Tv set, iOS, Android or AirTV mini or AirTV participant. Be informed that the community channels would not load if you might be looking at on a website browser or an Apple Tv set ($179 at Apple) you may only see the common Sling Tv set channels.

Also preserve in brain that the AirTV won’t be able to report streaming channels, just community ones, so if you might be a Sling subscriber you might be still constrained to that service’s cloud DVR — and its 10-hour or fifty-hour recording restrict — for non-antenna streaming channels like TNT, ESPN, CNN and the rest.

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Setup 

Like a typical human male, I didn’t use the Quick Set up information incorporated in the box. That was a miscalculation. The AirTV two setup was in contrast to the initial version in a single main way: it isn’t going to use the AirTV application. As an alternative, setup is carried out by means of an straightforward-to-miss out on solution in the Configurations tab of the Sling Tv set application identified as Above the Air Channels. To persons like me who stumble into this, if this solution was identified as AirTV two setup or even Above the Air Channels Set up it would have been substantially extra uncomplicated.

With a $10 antenna and my moveable drive connected, the rest of the setup was uncomplicated. The unit will let you tune in to all of the accessible community channels in your place. In my assessments in New York, for example, I was ready to check out and report seventy six unique channels. 

Using the AirTV two

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Remote streaming community channels from the AirTV two on an Apple iphone


Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

A large amount of the AirTV’s good results or absence thereof is dependent on how you really feel about the Sling Tv set application by itself. It is not as placing as Hulu with Stay Tv set or effective as YouTube Tv set, but it does what you will need it to — make it possible for you to enjoy Tv set. I predominantly made use of the Roku application at property and the iPhone ($699 at Apple) app whilst roaming the streets of New York Town, streaming Tv set from my antenna at property. Accessing the are living community channels is carried out by means of the Channels menu solution, and you can find Above the Air Channels specially by means of the “hamburger” menu button in the corner.

When accessing the channels about my cellular phone it took around 6 seconds for most channels to load, and up to eight seconds for ones at the pretty finish of the spectrum. In comparison the streaming channels took any place from to five seconds, but bear in brain assessments like these are dependent on so lots of factors together with your property upload velocity. Except you have a ninja property community connection, it truly is probable that streaming channels will load more rapidly than those from the AirTV two in most conditions.

The locals’ picture quality was indistinguishable from that of the streaming channels for the most aspect, and this was immediately after picking the Very best High quality solution in the Apple iphone application.

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirTV two does have its restrictions, as formerly discussed, and these could be the deal-breakers for some persons. Supplied that you can pause (on most) streaming channels working with the cloud DVR, the inability to pause are living community Tv set is a minimal annoying. Also, if you might be a person who likes to leave a browser open and listen to a video game whilst performing you can rule that out now. No make a difference whether or not you might be on a cellular phone browser or the desktop you would not be ready to see any of the OTA channels or enjoy any of the recordings offered by AirTV two. You can expect to see the streaming channels only. The exact same goes for Apple Tv set.

Need to you get it?

If you are, or prepare to be, a prolonged-term Sling Tv set user, then the AirTV two is a pretty great value. When compared to the $55 cost of Hulu with Stay Tv set, the AirTV two will pay back for by itself within just four months. The simple fact that the AirTV will still do the job with no a Sling subscription tends to make this unit a tremendous-low-cost DVR, although the absence of are living pause and browser assist is restricting. At $ninety nine, moreover about $fifty for the really hard drive, the AirTV is nevertheless an outstanding value for cord cutters who want to stream their antenna Tv set. But spending a bit extra for the Fireplace Tv set Recast is a better go for most cord cutters.