Dish has outed a new Sling TV set-top box, dubbed the AirTV Player, via its website, with no official word from the company that the device has been announced. It’s possible that someone somewhere flicked the big red “go live” switch a little early, but the appearance of the device does end long-running rumors of its existence.

So what does the AirTV offer that existing Sling options do not? Well, as you might expect, the normal features are all present and correct, including support for Sling’s own services. That means users can stream live cable content via the internet, so long as you have a Sling TV subscription, which has long been a staple feature for the company. Where things start to get a little more interesting with regards to the AirTV however, is its support for over-the-air programming via an optional antenna.

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Assuming your antenna is already capable, anyone with an AirTV will be able to catch content from the likes of ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC and there’s support for Netflix as well, just to round out the full complement of content sources. It seems we can’t have anything connect to a TV these days without it supporting Netflix, and the AirTV is certainly no different.

Sling TV itself does offer separate packages, which also include content from all of the big providers, but things can start to get complicated quickly. In fact, things get very complicated very quickly indeed. As The Verge points out, Sling’s color-based tiers all offer differing levels of content depending on which provider you favor.

Sling TV separately offers live programming from ABC (an extra $5 add-on to its “Orange” subscription tier) or Fox and NBC (both available in select markets as part of the $25/month “Blue” tier) programming, but currently there’s no way of getting them all together. And CBS is absent entirely. If you choose the orange route, you also lose other Disney-owned networks like ESPN — but gain channels like USA and the NFL Network.

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The current AirTV FAQ, available via the website, which we’re not even sure should be live, suggests that no Sling TV subscription is required for the AirTV to be functional, though things like warranty etc do require the device be linked to a Sling account, so bear that in mind.

Oh, and from the Google button on the AirTV’s remote, we’re going to go ahead and assume this thing runs Android TV. Whether that’s a positive or a negative point, we’ll let you decide for yourself.

(Via: The Verge)

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