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EchoStar Gets Clearance for Cord-Cutting Tool ‘AirTV’

EchoStar appears to be inching closer to the retail debut of AirTV, a device under development for cord-cutters that supports over-the-air digital TV signals as well as over-the-top content.

Rumors and product details about AirTV have been circulating for months, but earlier this month the Federal Communications Commission granted a waiver that will allow EchoStar to offer the product without an analog tuner. Per the FCC rules, TV broadcast receivers must be capable of receiving both analog and digital broadcast signals until Aug. 31, 2017.

The FCC removed the analog requirement because it felt the product served the public interest – something it had also granted previously to EchoStar for the Channel Master-made OTA/DVR combo and a DVR from corporate cousin Dish Network that integrates Sling Media’s place-shifting technology.

EchoStar isn’t commenting on pricing and a proposed launch date, though a debut at next month’s International CES could offer the right venue for it. In the meantime, documentation uncovered by tech blog ZatzNotFunny show that AirTV will use the Slingbox M1/M2 form factor and cost $149.99.

In addition to enabling over-the-air TV, the draft description of the product notes that AirTV will integrate an app for Sling TV, Dish Network’s OTT-TV service for cord-cutters. Sling TV is already integrated with Channel Master’s DVR+ platform, a subscription-free DVR that integrates OTT with over-the-air TV tuning capabilities.

AirTV appears poised to compete in the market with other cord-cutting-focused products such as the TiVo Roamio OTA and Nuvyyo’s Tablo boxes.