AirTV vs. AirTV Player: Which do you need?

And then there were two. It may be hard to tell them apart by the name, but there are now two members of the AirTV family. I’ll be honest with you folks — I don’t know why they didn’t give them more distinct names, but so be it. There are two products named “AirTV” in our catalogue, and I’m going to tell you how to tell them apart.

AirTV Player (“the white one”)

This is the original AirTV, the one we’ve been talking about for almost two years. DISH announced it at the 2017 CES show. Here’s the skinny.

What it is: An Android TV box with custom software on it.

What it’s similar to: It’s most like an AppleTV or other streaming player, but there’s more to it.

What makes it special: It does all the stuff a normal streaming box does like run Netflix and Hulu, but it also lets you connect an antenna using an external dongle.

Who would buy it: People who want to watch TV in the living room. People who have cut the cord, use an antenna, and still want a traditional TV experience.

AirTV (“the black one”)

This is the one that was just announced not that long ago. Let’s dig deep.

What it is: An adapter that takes your antenna signal and puts it on the internet or your home network.

What it’s similar to: It’s like a Tablo or HDHomeRun. It doesn’t connect to a TV. It lets you use any streaming box or your phone to watch TV.

What makes it special: It’s super easy to set up, has optional DVR features, and can integrate into the Sling App so you have a very “pay-TV-like” experience without paying as much for TV.

Who would buy it: People who like to watch TV anywhere. Since it puts your local channels on your phone, you can watch your home channels from anywhere in the world. Travelers will love it.

Choosing the right AirTV for you

If you have only one TV or if you mostly only use one TV, choose the AirTV Player (“the white one.”) You can watch TV pretty much the way you always have and it has features like voice search and Google Assistant to make things easy for you. I think seniors will like the AirTV player because it’s the most TV-like.

If you watch a lot of video on your phone, choose the AirTV (“the black one.”) This gives you the option of watching on your TV using a streaming box or watching on your phone from anywhere. This is a very “modern” solution so younger people will probably like it. It takes free TV and integrates it into the smartphone experience we all want.

Having both?

It’s not impossible to have both, but I’m not sure it’s the right move. If you have the black AirTV, you don’t need a separate antenna input into the white AirTV Player. Both of them will work, but they really work separately and there’s not a lot of integration there. If you have the black AirTV, I’d recommend going with a more mainstream streaming device like a Roku Streaming Stick.

If you’re looking for the best price on an AirTV product, you really need to check out Solid Signal. There are special deals there that make the white AirTV Player the lowest-priced full-function streaming box on the market. And, if you’re looking to travel, that black AirTV makes watching TV a breeze.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.