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‘AirTV’ Box Will Help Sling TV Subs Get OTA-TV

Offering all local over-the-air broadcast TV channels has been a gap in Sling TV’s lineup since the OTT service launched last February, but a new device being made by corporate cousin EchoStar could help to bridge it.

As first spotted by gadget/tech blog ZatzNotFunny, Sling TV, Dish Network's OTT-TV service for cord-cutters, and EchoStar’s Sling Media unit are getting closer to the launch of AirTV, a device that looks like the recently launched Slingbox M1 place-shifting device, but includes an over-the-air TV tuner.

That OTA A tuner, blogger Dave Zatz speculates, essentially replaces a Slingbox client app with the Sling TV app.

“So, one would hook up the AirTV to an antenna and one’s home network via WiFi or Ethernet and that local television content would be beamed directly into the Sling TV app – at home or while on the move,” Zatz wrote “I’ll go ahead and assume the ultimate goal here [with AirTV] is for the OTA channels from one’s residence to be co-located amongst the pay television channels of Sling TV’s $20 streaming service in a unified guide.”

Zatz, who is led to believe that Sling Media is developing a family of “non-traditional” Slingbox products, came across the AirTV trademark last summer, and The Donohue Report found a few more details on the product plans last October.

EchoStar and Dish have not announced pricing and a possible launch date for AirTV. A Sling TV official said the company could not comment on rumors and speculation.

In the meantime, Sling TV has been making some progress with respect to adding local broadcast TV channels to the mix.

Earlier this week, it announced it is beta-testing a new $20 per month multi-stream service that is anchored by Fox-owned networks, including Fox broadcasting stations in Fox's owned-and-operated markets. In February, Sling TV started to offer ABC in select markets as part of a new “Broadcast Extra” add-on package that sells for $5 per month (on top of a core $20 per month Sling TV package) and also includes Univision and UniMás.

In January, Sling TV launched an app on Channel Master’s DVR+ platform, a subscription-free DVR that integrates broadband connectivity (for OTT services) and over-the-air TV tuning capabilities.