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

Sling Tv was the to start with reside Tv streaming support when it went reside in 2015, and just after five yrs it really is nonetheless one particular of the ideal values for wire cutters at $30 per thirty day period. The support keeps its price ranges lessen than competitors like YouTube Tv mainly because it will not carry regional channels like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in most components of the place. The AirTV, now in its next iteration, is the perfect Sling Tv companion and a terrific benefit in its have proper. This components tuner box allows you look at and report those people lacking regional channels without paying out any month to month rate. Just insert a $10 antenna


  • The AirTV two is inexpensive and integrates seamlessly with Sling Tv.
  • Will not involve a Sling Tv membership.
  • No month to month rate.

Never Like

  • Will not consist of a really hard push.
  • DVR are not able to pause reside regional Tv.
  • Not able to look at channels through a web browser or on Apple Tv.

In contrast to the excellent Amazon Fireplace Tv Recast however, the $ninety nine AirTV two is not (nevertheless) a slick, issues-no cost upgrade. To start with off, you can have to insert your have exterior really hard push to change it into a DVR. Second, it will not let customers pause regional Tv, and it will not operate with all platforms — you are not able to use it to look at through desktop browsers or the Sling application on Apple Tv

When the AirTV is not the to start with DVR I would advise to wire cutters (that would be the Fireplace Tv Recast), the AirTV is a large amount significantly less high priced and performs ideal for Sling Tv subscribers who want to look at reside Tv sporting activities and other regional programming. And despite the reality that it takes advantage of the Sling Tv application and menus, you don’t want to be a Sling Tv 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 contemporary networked above-the-air DVRs, the AirTV two will not link to your Tv at all. As an alternative, it connects to your dwelling community through Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet and sends reside above-the-air Tv from a connected antenna to your mobile or clever Tv device. To basically look at the Tv courses, you can use the Sling Tv application on one particular of those people products, for illustration a Roku or Iphone. 

The initial AirTV was an Apple Mac Mini-dimension device embossed with what looked like a sneaker’s tread. The AirTV two is a total redesign that can take up significantly less house and has a sleeker overall look to boot. It sits vertically, like a contemporary cable modem, but it really is much smaller — it tapers out to two.three inches huge, 5 inches substantial and 6.5 inches deep. 

Connections consist of USB, Ethernet, coaxial antenna and 802.11ac wireless. The device has two onboard tuners so you can report or look at up to two channels at when. 

It is really worth noting that the proprietary electrical power connector is form of funky — it clips in like an Ethernet cable. So, if the electrical power adapter gets dropped or destroyed, this guidelines out 3rd-occasion replacements. Complete disclosure: we did misplace the competitive Fireplace Tv Recast’s adapter and acquiring a substitute for that has proved to be complicated. 


It can be utilized purely as a reside Tv tuner, and our assessment of the initial AirTV assessment was primarily based only on that capacity, but adding an exterior really hard push adds the capability to report. The organization will not stipulate any precise necessities for the form of push other than that the exterior device will have to be between 50GB and 2TB in dimension.

In contrast to the Fireplace Tv Recast, which has an integrated really hard push, there is nonetheless a large amount of things you want for the AirTV two. I utilized a portable really hard push — a WD 2TB Features Portable ($forty seven at Amazon) — which means no more electrical power brick. Yet, the push, the internal antenna and its USB umbilical nonetheless want to be positioned somewhere.  

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AIrTV is intended to operate with applications for Roku, Amazon FireTV, Android Tv, iOS, Android or AirTV mini or AirTV participant. Be aware that the regional channels would not load if you happen to be looking at on a web browser or an Apple Tv ($179 at Apple) you can only see the normal Sling Tv channels.

Also retain in brain that the AirTV are not able to report streaming channels, just regional ones, so if you happen to be a Sling subscriber you happen to be nonetheless restricted to that service’s cloud DVR — and its 10-hour or 50-hour recording restrict — for non-antenna streaming channels like TNT, ESPN, CNN and the rest.

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Like a normal human male, I didn’t use the Rapid Set up guideline incorporated in the box. That was a blunder. The AirTV two setup was contrary to the initial version in one particular key way: it will not use the AirTV application. As an alternative, setup is done through an straightforward-to-pass up choice in the Options tab of the Sling Tv application termed In excess of the Air Channels. To persons like me who stumble into this, if this choice was termed AirTV two setup or even In excess of the Air Channels Set up it would have been much additional straightforward.

With a $10 antenna and my portable push connected, the rest of the setup was straightforward. The device will let you tune in to all of the available regional channels in your space. In my tests in New York, for illustration, I was equipped to check out and report 76 various channels. 

Applying the AirTV two


Remote streaming regional channels from the AirTV two on an Iphone

Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

A large amount of the AirTV’s good results or deficiency thereof is dependent on how you really feel about the Sling Tv application itself. It is not as striking as Hulu with Dwell Tv or potent as YouTube Tv, but it does what you want it to — enable you to look at Tv. I generally utilized the Roku application at dwelling and the iPhone ($699 at Apple) app when roaming the streets of New York Metropolis, streaming Tv from my antenna at dwelling. Accessing the reside regional channels is done through the Channels menu choice, and you can choose In excess of the Air Channels precisely through the “hamburger” menu button in the corner.

When accessing the channels above my cellular phone it took about 6 seconds for most channels to load, and up to eight seconds for ones at the extremely conclude of the spectrum. In comparison the streaming channels took any place from to 5 seconds, but bear in brain tests like these are dependent on so quite a few elements which include your dwelling add pace. Except you have a ninja dwelling community relationship, it really is probable that streaming channels will load more quickly than those people from the AirTV two in most situations.

The locals’ picture quality was indistinguishable from that of the streaming channels for the most aspect, and this was just after picking the Very best High quality choice in the Iphone application.

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirTV two does have its constraints, as previously mentioned, and these could be the offer-breakers for some persons. Offered that you can pause (on most) streaming channels using the cloud DVR, the lack of ability to pause reside regional Tv is a minimal irritating. Also, if you happen to be a person who likes to leave a browser open up and hear to a game when working you can rule that out now. No make a difference irrespective of whether you happen to be on a cellular phone browser or the desktop you would not be equipped to see any of the OTA channels or look at any of the recordings presented by AirTV two. You can expect to see the streaming channels only. The identical goes for Apple Tv.

Should really you obtain it?

If you are, or prepare to be, a extended-term Sling Tv consumer, then the AirTV two is a extremely excellent benefit. In contrast to the $55 charge of Hulu with Dwell Tv, the AirTV two will pay for itself in just four months. The reality that the AirTV will nonetheless operate without a Sling membership would make this device a tremendous-low cost DVR, nevertheless the deficiency of reside pause and browser help is limiting. At $ninety nine, plus about $50 for the really hard push, the AirTV is even so an great benefit for wire cutters who want to stream their antenna Tv. But paying out a bit additional for the Fireplace Tv Recast is a greater shift for most wire cutters.