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

Sling Television set was the to start with live Television set streaming provider when it went live in 2015, and immediately after 5 yrs it can be nevertheless 1 of the ideal values for cord cutters at $30 per month. The provider keeps its costs reduced than rivals like YouTube Television set since it isn’t going to carry nearby channels like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in most sections of the state. The AirTV, now in its second iteration, is the fantastic Sling Television set companion and a wonderful worth in its individual suitable. This hardware tuner box lets you observe and document these missing nearby channels devoid of spending any month to month charge. Just incorporate a $10 antenna


  • The AirTV two is economical and integrates seamlessly with Sling Television set.
  • Isn’t going to require a Sling Television set subscription.
  • No month to month charge.

Really don’t Like

  • Isn’t going to include a challenging generate.
  • DVR are unable to pause live nearby Television set.
  • Not able to observe channels via a internet browser or on Apple Television set.

When compared to the excellent Amazon Hearth Television set Recast however, the $ninety nine AirTV two is not (however) a slick, trouble-free enhance. 1st off, you are going to have to incorporate your individual exterior challenging generate to convert it into a DVR. Second, it isn’t going to enable people pause nearby Television set, and it isn’t going to function with all platforms — you are unable to use it to observe via desktop browsers or the Sling application on Apple Television set

While the AirTV is not the to start with DVR I might advise to cord cutters (that would be the Hearth Television set Recast), the AirTV is a good deal significantly less expensive and works ideal for Sling Television set subscribers who want to observe live Television set athletics and other nearby programming. And even with the truth that it utilizes the Sling Television set application and menus, you don’t want to be a Sling Television set subscriber to use it. 


Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

Let’s get this out of the way to start with: like the Recast and other modern-day networked around-the-air DVRs, the AirTV two isn’t going to join to your Television set at all. As a substitute, it connects to your dwelling community via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet and sends live around-the-air Television set from a related antenna to your mobile or sensible Television set gadget. To basically observe the Television set packages, you are going to use the Sling Television set application on 1 of these gadgets, for illustration a Roku or Apple iphone. 

The unique AirTV was an Apple Mac Mini-size gadget embossed with what appeared like a sneaker’s tread. The AirTV two is a full redesign that normally takes up significantly less house and has a sleeker visual appearance to boot. It sits vertically, like a modern-day cable modem, but it can be a great deal more compact — it tapers out to two.3 inches vast, five inches large and six.five inches deep. 

Connections include USB, Ethernet, coaxial antenna and 802.11ac wi-fi. The gadget has two onboard tuners so you can document or observe up to two channels at once. 

It is well worth noting that the proprietary electrical power connector is variety of funky — it clips in like an Ethernet cable. So, if the electrical power adapter turns into shed or damaged, this guidelines out 3rd-bash replacements. Whole disclosure: we did misplace the aggressive Hearth Television set Recast’s adapter and obtaining a substitute for that has proved to be tough. 


It can be applied purely as a live Television set tuner, and our review of the unique AirTV review was primarily based solely on that ability, but adding an exterior challenging generate provides the means to document. The firm isn’t going to stipulate any particular necessities for the kind of generate aside from that the exterior gadget should be among 50GB and 2TB in size.

When compared to the Hearth Television set Recast, which has an built-in challenging generate, there is nevertheless a good deal of things you want for the AirTV two. I applied a portable challenging generate — a WD 2TB Components Moveable ($47 at Amazon) — meaning no added electrical power brick. But, the generate, the interior antenna and its USB umbilical nevertheless want to be put someplace.  

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AIrTV is developed to function with applications for Roku, Amazon FireTV, Android Television set, iOS, Android or AirTV mini or AirTV player. Be knowledgeable that the nearby channels will not likely load if you are seeing on a internet browser or an Apple Television set ($179 at Apple) you are going to only see the common Sling Television set channels.

Also keep in mind that the AirTV are unable to document streaming channels, just nearby ones, so if you are a Sling subscriber you are nevertheless constrained to that service’s cloud DVR — and its 10-hour or fifty-hour recording limit — for non-antenna streaming channels like TNT, ESPN, CNN and the relaxation.

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Like a usual human male, I did not use the Speedy Setup guide incorporated in the box. That was a miscalculation. The AirTV two setup was in contrast to the unique edition in 1 big way: it isn’t going to use the AirTV application. As a substitute, setup is performed via an quick-to-overlook solution in the Options tab of the Sling Television set application named Around the Air Channels. To individuals like me who stumble into this, if this solution was named AirTV two setup or even Around the Air Channels Setup it would have been a great deal additional easy.

With a $10 antenna and my portable generate related, the relaxation of the setup was easy. The device will enable you tune in to all of the accessible nearby channels in your region. In my tests in New York, for illustration, I was ready to watch and document seventy six distinct channels. 

Making use of the AirTV two


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

Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

A good deal of the AirTV’s achievement or lack thereof is dependent on how you really feel about the Sling Television set application itself. It is not as hanging as Hulu with Live Television set or potent as YouTube Television set, but it does what you want it to — permit you to observe Television set. I mainly applied the Roku application at dwelling and the iPhone ($699 at Apple) app even though roaming the streets of New York Town, streaming Television set from my antenna at dwelling. Accessing the live nearby channels is performed via the Channels menu solution, and you can decide on Around the Air Channels precisely via the “hamburger” menu button in the corner.

While accessing the channels around my cellphone it took close to six seconds for most channels to load, and up to eight seconds for ones at the very conclusion of the spectrum. In comparison the streaming channels took anyplace from to five seconds, but bear in mind tests like these are dependent on so lots of factors like your dwelling upload pace. Except you have a ninja dwelling community relationship, it can be very likely that streaming channels will load more quickly than these from the AirTV two in most scenarios.

The locals’ photograph good quality was indistinguishable from that of the streaming channels for the most part, and this was immediately after picking out the Ideal Good quality solution in the Apple iphone application.

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirTV two does have its constraints, as formerly talked over, and these could be the offer-breakers for some individuals. Offered that you can pause (on most) streaming channels making use of the cloud DVR, the lack of ability to pause live nearby Television set is a minimal discouraging. Also, if you are another person who likes to leave a browser open up and hear to a game even though performing you can rule that out now. No issue irrespective of whether you are on a cellphone browser or the desktop you will not likely be ready to see any of the OTA channels or observe any of the recordings furnished by AirTV two. You are going to see the streaming channels only. The similar goes for Apple Television set.

Really should you acquire it?

If you are, or plan to be, a long-term Sling Television set user, then the AirTV two is a very good worth. When compared to the $55 charge of Hulu with Live Television set, the AirTV two will pay out for itself inside of four months. The truth that the AirTV will nevertheless function devoid of a Sling subscription will make this device a super-cheap DVR, however the lack of live pause and browser support is restricting. At $ninety nine, plus about $fifty for the challenging generate, the AirTV is even so an superb worth for cord cutters who want to stream their antenna Television set. But spending a bit additional for the Hearth Television set Recast is a superior go for most cord cutters.

Maria J. Danford

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