July 17, 2019
Dish Network’s AirTV subsidiary has launched the AirTV Mini, a 4K streaming dongle powered by Android TV that promises more memory and a faster processor than similar devices from competitors such as Amazon, Google and Roku. The Wi-Fi-enabled, HDR-compatible stick offers Dish’s Sling TV, Netflix, OTA channels, and apps created for Android TVs — all accessible via a single interface. It also provides support for Google Assistant and Google Play. When teamed with an OTA antenna and AirTV Wi-Fi network tuner, the palm-sized $79.99 device provides a streaming solution for TV viewers and cord-cutters that includes OTA feeds from networks.
“The AirTV brand is committed to making local TV relevant and easily accessible to streamers,” said Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV. “When combined with the AirTV network tuner and the Sling TV app, the Mini delivers a superior streaming experience, especially for Slingers who want premium features in a small package at an affordable price.”
The press release references a promotion that explains “new and eligible existing Sling TV customers can receive the AirTV Wi-Fi-enabled network tuner with an indoor antenna free when they prepay for three months of Sling TV (subscription must be $25/month or greater).”
The new Mini is smaller and cheaper than the original AirTV Player introduced two years ago. “That device was also based on Android TV, and could be used to watch over-the-air broadcast television with the addition of a USB tuner,” reports Variety. “The company has since introduced a connected TV tuner that can be used to stream broadcast TV to connected TVs and mobile devices.”
According to Engadget, the new AirTV Mini “plugs into your Android TV via the HDMI port and automatically launches the Sling TV app, with Netflix integrated into the interface. You can access other Android TV apps through Google Play, and you’ll have access to Google Assistant and Netflix via dedicated buttons on the remote.”
“The audience for this sort of product — or any AirTV device, for that matter — is fairly niche,” suggests TechCrunch. “While there’s certainly some demand for access to over-the-air programming among cord cutters, there are other solutions that don’t lock you into Sling TV, specifically.”
“Overall, the solution makes sense for DIY’ers who also subscribe to Sling TV and prefer a Google Assistant-powered experience instead of Alexa.”