AirTV: Which app should you choose?

The AirTV is my new favorite device. I’ve been wanting something like this for years. It gives me all my local channels on every connected device I have. It doesn’t matter if I’m at home or halfway around the world. If I have a data connection, I have local TV.

The AirTV connects to your antenna and your home internet. It then sends local channels out to you wherever you are. In order to receive them, you will need one of two apps. Both are free, both are available on pretty much every platform, and both look and act pretty much identical. So which one do you choose?

Let’s take a look.

AirTV app

The AirTV app makes sense if you’re never, ever going to use the Sling service for streaming channels. It works on all platforms and devices including iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, Android and Roku.

The AirTV app doesn’t support DVR function on any device. That means you can’t set up recordings or pause live TV.

However, the AirTV app gives you local channels on your AppleTV which the Sling app does not.

Sling app

The Sling app is designed to give you access to the Sling streaming service as well as your antenna channels. You can still use it even if you don’t have a streaming plan by creating a free account at

The Sling app supports the DVR function of the AirTV. That means you can set up recordings and pause live TV.

However, even though you can run the Sling app on your AppleTV, you can’t get local channels through it. If you have a Roku, you can get local channels on your TV that way.

If you plan on combining your antenna with a streaming package, the Sling app is the best one to choose.

Switching between apps

You can have both apps on your device but the AirTV can only be attached to one of them. You can choose to set up the AirTV with either app and if you decide to change your mind, you’ll have to set it up again.

In order to do that, you need to “hard reset” the device. You’ll need a paperclip. The process takes less than 15 minutes.

First make sure the AirTV is plugged in and that the front panel lights are on.

Then, push a paperclip into that little hole you see above. Push it in until it won’t go any further and hold it there for about 15 seconds. You’ll know it’s done when the “network” light on the front blinks twice.

Then, pull out the paperclip and allow the device to restart normally. This takes 2-3 minutes.

When the front panel power light is solid, you can then go into the app and set it up again.

What’s the best choice?

Here’s the bottom line, folks. If you have a Roku, use the Sling app. You get DVR, local channels, and you don’t have to sign up for Sling if you don’t want to.

If you don’t watch on a TV, if you only watch on your phone, use the Sling app. Again, you get DVR function and you don’t have to sign up for Sling.

If you have an AppleTV, use the AirTV app. While you won’t get DVR function — yet — the Sling app doesn’t give you locals so the AirTV device is useless.

Of course you can get AirTV now at

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.