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

Nancy J. Delong

Sling Tv set was the first reside Tv set streaming assistance when it went reside in 2015, and immediately after five several years it’s continue to one particular of the finest values for wire cutters at $30 for every thirty day period. The assistance retains its selling prices decreased than […]

Sling Tv set was the first reside Tv set streaming assistance when it went reside in 2015, and immediately after five several years it’s continue to one particular of the finest values for wire cutters at $30 for every thirty day period. The assistance retains its selling prices decreased than competitors like YouTube Tv set simply because it doesn’t have neighborhood channels like ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC in most pieces of the nation. The AirTV, now in its 2nd iteration, is the best Sling Tv set companion and a good worth in its personal ideal. This components tuner box lets you enjoy and report people lacking neighborhood channels without having having to pay any every month fee. Just insert a $10 antenna


  • The AirTV 2 is inexpensive and integrates seamlessly with Sling Tv set.
  • Does not demand a Sling Tv set membership.
  • No every month fee.

Never Like

  • Does not include a really hard travel.
  • DVR are unable to pause reside neighborhood Tv set.
  • Unable to enjoy channels via a world-wide-web browser or on Apple Tv set.

In contrast to the excellent Amazon Fire Tv set Recast however, the $ninety nine AirTV 2 is not (nonetheless) a slick, hassle-free of charge enhance. Initial off, you can have to insert your personal external really hard travel to switch it into a DVR. Next, it doesn’t let customers pause neighborhood Tv set, and it doesn’t do the job with all platforms — you are unable to use it to enjoy via desktop browsers or the Sling app on Apple Tv set

Whilst the AirTV is not the first DVR I would recommend to wire cutters (that would be the Fire Tv set Recast), the AirTV is a good deal less high priced and functions finest for Sling Tv set subscribers who want to enjoy reside Tv set athletics and other neighborhood programming. And despite the simple fact that it takes advantage of the Sling Tv set app and menus, you don’t require to be a Sling Tv set subscriber to use it. 


Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

Let’s get this out of the way first: like the Recast and other modern-day networked about-the-air DVRs, the AirTV 2 doesn’t join to your Tv set at all. Alternatively, it connects to your house community via Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet and sends reside about-the-air Tv set from a linked antenna to your cell or smart Tv set system. To really enjoy the Tv set courses, you can use the Sling Tv set app on one particular of people gadgets, for instance a Roku or Apple iphone. 

The unique AirTV was an Apple Mac Mini-measurement system embossed with what seemed like a sneaker’s tread. The AirTV 2 is a finish redesign that will take up less house and has a sleeker visual appearance to boot. It sits vertically, like a modern-day cable modem, but it’s a great deal smaller — it tapers out to 2.three inches extensive, five inches high and 6.five inches deep. 

Connections include USB, Ethernet, coaxial antenna and 802.11ac wi-fi. The system has two onboard tuners so you can report or enjoy up to two channels at when. 

It is really value noting that the proprietary electric power connector is type of funky — it clips in like an Ethernet cable. So, if the electric power adapter will become dropped or harmed, this guidelines out third-occasion replacements. Entire disclosure: we did misplace the competitive Fire Tv set Recast’s adapter and locating a alternative for that has proved to be hard. 


It can be applied purely as a reside Tv set tuner, and our overview of the unique AirTV overview was centered exclusively on that capacity, but incorporating an external really hard travel adds the ability to report. The firm doesn’t stipulate any distinct necessities for the form of travel besides that the external system have to be between 50GB and 2TB in measurement.

In contrast to the Fire Tv set Recast, which has an integrated really hard travel, there is continue to a good deal of stuff you require for the AirTV 2. I applied a moveable really hard travel — a WD 2TB Elements Portable ($fifty seven at Walmart) — that means no further electric power brick. However, the travel, the interior antenna and its USB umbilical continue to require to be placed somewhere.  

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AIrTV is developed to do the job with apps for Roku, Amazon FireTV, Android Tv set, iOS, Android or AirTV mini or AirTV player. Be informed that the neighborhood channels will not load if you are looking at on a world-wide-web browser or an Apple Tv set ($179 at Apple) you can only see the regular Sling Tv set channels.

Also continue to keep in thoughts that the AirTV are unable to report streaming channels, just neighborhood kinds, so if you are a Sling subscriber you are continue to minimal to that service’s cloud DVR — and its 10-hour or 50-hour recording limit — for non-antenna streaming channels like TNT, ESPN, CNN and the relaxation.

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Like a standard human male, I didn’t use the Quick Set up tutorial incorporated in the box. That was a miscalculation. The AirTV 2 set up was contrary to the unique edition in one particular important way: it doesn’t use the AirTV app. Alternatively, set up is performed via an straightforward-to-overlook selection in the Configurations tab of the Sling Tv set app known as Above the Air Channels. To folks like me who stumble into this, if this selection was known as AirTV 2 set up or even Above the Air Channels Set up it would have been a great deal additional simple.

With a $10 antenna and my moveable travel linked, the relaxation of the set up was simple. The device will let you tune in to all of the readily available neighborhood channels in your place. In my exams in New York, for instance, I was equipped to see and report seventy six unique channels. 

Making use of the AirTV 2


Remote streaming neighborhood channels from the AirTV 2 on an Apple iphone

Screenshot: Ty Pendlebury/CNET

A good deal of the AirTV’s good results or deficiency thereof is dependent on how you experience about the Sling Tv set app itself. It is really not as striking as Hulu with Stay Tv set or impressive as YouTube Tv set, but it does what you require it to — allow you to enjoy Tv set. I predominantly applied the Roku app at house and the iPhone ($699 at Apple) app although roaming the streets of New York Metropolis, streaming Tv set from my antenna at house. Accessing the reside neighborhood channels is performed via the Channels menu selection, and you can pick out Above the Air Channels precisely via the “hamburger” menu button in the corner.

Whilst accessing the channels about my cellular phone it took all around 6 seconds for most channels to load, and up to eight seconds for kinds at the very finish of the spectrum. In comparison the streaming channels took any where from to five seconds, but bear in thoughts exams like these are dependent on so several variables including your house add pace. Until you have a ninja house community connection, it’s very likely that streaming channels will load a lot quicker than people from the AirTV 2 in most circumstances.

The locals’ picture good quality was indistinguishable from that of the streaming channels for the most element, and this was immediately after deciding upon the Greatest Good quality selection in the Apple iphone app.

Air TV 2

Sarah Tew/CNET

The AirTV 2 does have its restrictions, as beforehand reviewed, and these could be the offer-breakers for some folks. Supplied that you can pause (on most) streaming channels applying the cloud DVR, the incapability to pause reside neighborhood Tv set is a tiny frustrating. Also, if you are someone who likes to leave a browser open up and pay attention to a sport although doing work you can rule that out now. No make any difference regardless of whether you are on a cellular phone browser or the desktop you will not be equipped to see any of the OTA channels or enjoy any of the recordings provided by AirTV 2. You’ll see the streaming channels only. The identical goes for Apple Tv set.

Need to you get it?

If you are, or system to be, a prolonged-time period Sling Tv set person, then the AirTV 2 is a very fantastic worth. In contrast to the $fifty five value of Hulu with Stay Tv set, the AirTV 2 will fork out for itself in four months. The simple fact that the AirTV will continue to do the job without having a Sling membership would make this device a super-low-priced DVR, nevertheless the deficiency of reside pause and browser support is limiting. At $ninety nine, in addition about $50 for the really hard travel, the AirTV is nevertheless an great worth for wire cutters who want to stream their antenna Tv set. But having to pay a bit additional for the Fire Tv set Recast is a far better shift for most wire cutters.

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