Looking build a full, robust pay TV feature set into its Sling TV streaming ecosystem, Dish Network today announced that it’s adding DVR functionality to its AirTV device.
The upgrade is free to AirTV users but it will require them to purchase an external USB hard drive up to 2 terabytes in size.
The new “Local Channels DVR” will let Air TV users record and watch local channels, both in the home and away, using the newly upgraded Sling TV app. Notably, Air TV users don’t have to have a subscription to the Sling TV virtual MVPD service to use the Local Channels DVR feature.
AirTV’s dual tuner lets users record up to two shows at once, with live and recorded content viewable from any device supported by the Sling TV app. The Local Channels DVR will show up next to the Cloud DVR content area of the app.
Sling TV is the most widely distributed vMVPD on the market, with more than 2.3 million users. And its $20-a-month base tier is among the least expensive, eschewing local broadcast channels.
Dish is trying to work around that with AirTV, a $120 device that sits on the users Wi-Fi network and connects to an over-the-air antenna. Through the user’s Wi-Fi network, the device streams local channels to mobile and OTT devices, both in and out of the home, that have the Sling TV app.
Dish has not disclosed how many AirTV devices it has sold.
"The Local Channels DVR rounds out the complete cord-cutting experience for those wanting to integrate free local channels and DVR with a streaming service like Sling TV," said Mitch Weinraub, director of product development for AirTV, in a statement. "Millions of Americans are embracing over-the-air antennas as part of their cord-cutting solution, and the ability to take their live and recorded content in and out of home with AirTV's Local Channels DVR is just an added bonus."