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Yes. That's how I use it at the moment, since I no longer have a paid Sling subscription. The Sling guide includes your OTA channels along with a few Sling channels. But there are also options to filter the guide to show only, e.g., OTA channels.

Some of the Sling channels are free and some are a la carte paid channels that you can subscribe to without subscribing to one of Sling's $25/mo. "base" packages. I don't subscribe to any of the a la carte channels either, but one (Curiosity Stream) sounds interesting to me.
 

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Thanks. For the heck of it I signed up for a Sling account, added it to Roku, and signed in. I see about 20 "Sling channels", with 4 or 5 free shows on each. Guide is quick. Looks like what I want once I buy there Airtv. I couldn't find a way to edit the channel list, but maybe once I import ota there's a way. Look like this beats paying for a guide with a Tablo!

Yes. That's how I use it at the moment, since I no longer have a paid Sling subscription. The Sling guide includes your OTA channels along with a few Sling channels. But there are also options to filter the guide to show only, e.g., OTA channels.

Some of the Sling channels are free and some are a la carte paid channels that you can subscribe to without subscribing to one of Sling's $25/mo. "base" packages. I don't subscribe to any of the a la carte channels either, but one (Curiosity Stream) sounds interesting to me.
 

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There are two ways to edit the guide:


  1. When you first set up your AirTV (I did this on an Android tablet), right after you scan for OTA channels, you'll see the list of channels it found. At that point you can uncheck any OTA channels you don't want. But AFAICS there is no way to change your selections unless you rescan. :(
  2. After it's set up, there are four buttons at the top of the guide. One says "All Channels" but if you click it, you'll see a "Channel Lists" dialog. Once you have the AirTV set up, one of the selections is "Over The Air Channels." Click that and you'll only see the OTA channels, not the Sling ones. However I don't think your selection "sticks" after you exit the Sling app. :(
A non-guide option is also available. You can flag certain channels as "Favorites;" they will then show in the guide with a heart icon, and they will be listed on the "My TV" page under the "My Channels" heading.
 

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Thanks. For the heck of it I signed up for a Sling account, added it to Roku, and signed in. I see about 20 "Sling channels", with 4 or 5 free shows on each. Guide is quick. Looks like what I want once I buy there Airtv. I couldn't find a way to edit the channel list, but maybe once I import ota there's a way. Look like this beats paying for a guide with a Tablo!
Just be aware the issues with this thing:

- You cannot pause or go back on LiveTV - you have to set it up to record, then play back the recording. This isn't too bad for an expert, but not family friendly at all.
- You cannot add any buffer time to recordings to start X minutes early, end X minutes late
- Even though the Sling compresses LiveTV when sending it to your end devices, it records the MPEG2 stream raw - meaning it takes up a lot of HD space

xnappo
 

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Curious, if "ota channels" selection doesn't stick, do you get a lot of advertising to sign up to Sling? Just don't know why ota channels wouldn't stick if you're not a Sling customer.

Is there much lag in switching channels? I'm also considering a Tablo Dual lite, and have read it takes like 5 seconds to change a channel. It seems the Table and the Airtv are almost identical in function.

I currently have Dish Flex pack and am testing the cut the cord waters.
 

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Even though the Sling compresses LiveTV when sending it to your end devices, it records the MPEG2 stream raw - meaning it takes up a lot of HD space
Well, Tablo and some Magnavox SD DVRs are the only ones I know of that transcode before recording; pretty much all the rest record the raw transport stream from the tuner.

Any HDD over 2.2 TB, which is all the AirTV supports at present, will give you about 370 hours of recording time. The 2.2 TB limit is surprising since I checked and the AirTV uses a GPT (GUID partition table), which can support HDDs of unlimited size. So why is there a 2.2 TB limit at all? :confused:
Curious, if "ota channels" selection doesn't stick, do you get a lot of advertising to sign up to Sling?
Not really; there's a sign-up banner on the "My TV" page (the page that comes up when you first start the app), but that's about all.
Is there much lag in switching channels? I'm also considering a Tablo Dual lite, and have read it takes like 5 seconds to change a channel.
The AirTV is much quicker than that. These kinds of devices are a bit slower than locally-attached tuners because the Roku, Fire TV, etc. has to relay the "change channel" command to the AirTV, Tablo, Recast, HDHR, or whatever; but in my experience it only takes about a second or two, not much slower than locally-attached tuners. It may depend on the network connection (wired or wireless) between the Roku and the AirTV though.

It appears that Amazon's Recast can support larger HDDs, but you're locked into using Fire TVs for that DVR; Rokus aren't supported.
 

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Well, Tablo and some Magnavox SD DVRs are the only ones I know of that transcode before recording; pretty much all the rest record the raw transport stream from the tuner.
Yes, mostly comparing to a more complex solution involving a server - aka HDHomeRun + Plex or HDHomeRun + Emby.

xnappo
 

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I think it was mentioned that AirTV doesn't currently have an option to "pad" your recordings by a minute or two (so you don't miss the start or end of a show because the DVR's clock and the station's clock are slightly out of sync). I'm hoping they add that option soon; if they do, that would be a good time to introduce a 4-tuner AirTV like the competition: AIUI there's a new 4-tuner Tablo out now. Amazon's Recast also has a 4-tuner model*, and I'm growing envious.

Reason is, you often need extra tuners when recording back-to-back shows with padding. Otherwise the DVR has to drop the padding to avoid a conflict.


*Note that four tuners let the Recast record up to four shows at once, but it can still only stream two shows (live or recorded) at once, because of the CPU horsepower required for transcoding. I assume a 4-tuner AirTV would be similar, if they ever make one.

The Tablo may avoid that problem though. Since it transcodes during recording instead of playback, a 4-tuner model has to have the horsepower to transcode four shows at once.
 

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I just bought the new Tablo Quad. So I will have HDHomeRun Extend, extend and the new Tablo Quad. I will let y'all know what I think of it.. Then two of three are going to eBay :)
 

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I'm think of getting Sling Blue and Airtv. Airtv dual allows 2 streams, Blue allows 3. How integrated are the two? Can I be recording 2 local channels (not included with Sling), and watch 2 Sling channels? Can I also cloud record 2 extra Sling channels, and watch a third (ie: 5 streams)?
And, is most Sling channel content available on demand?

Current on Dish with pretty much unlimited recording and wife friendly.
 

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OTA recording doesn't use a stream. The data goes straight from your TV antenna to a tuner in the AirTV black box, and thence to the attached disk drive. Your home network isn't even involved. So you can record one or two OTA shows without using any streams. The two-stream limit only applies to OTA (live or recorded) content you're watching at the time.

I'm less sure about Sling's cloud DVR (for recording Sling channels) since I never used it myself, but I think it doesn't use a stream either. It all happens on Sling's servers. Again, I think the 3-stream limit applies only to content (live or recorded) you're watching at the time.

I don't know if, if you have a good enough home network and five TV's, you can watch five things at once (two AirTV streams and three Sling streams). The Sling app might limit you to three simultaneous logins; if so, you could only watch from three TV's at once, two of which could be from the AirTV box.

The only downside is, on-demand content and policies vary from channel to channel. Some channels (e.g., TBS) are pretty good; others (e.g., MSNBC) aren't so good.

You can give Sling a 7-day trial before you buy the AirTV, to see whether the channels you watch have the content you want on demand, and whether using the cloud DVR counts against the 3-stream limit.
 

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Thanks. But the 2 recordings use 2 tuners, so can't use Airtv for 3rd channel watching, right? But Sling has 2 of my locals live, so can watch 2 through Sling, and record 2 locals on Airtv.

I was actually thinking of buying the Airtv before Sling to make sure it picked up the same stations as my TV. My TV picks up 20 stations good quality, so Airtv should pick up the same 20 if I don't touch the antenna, right? The TV is a cheap DVD combo thing in a remote room, but with a router/access point in the room.
 

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Thanks. But the 2 recordings use 2 tuners, so can't use Airtv for 3rd channel watching, right?
Right. If you're recording two OTA shows at once, you can only watch:


  • Sling (or other streaming apps)
  • Prerecorded shows
  • One of the two channels you're recording
IOW, it's just like any other 2-tuner DVR, except it has two independent "outputs," so to speak (you can stream from it on two TVs at once).
But Sling has 2 of my locals live, so can watch 2 through Sling, and record 2 locals on Airtv.
Not sure about that. When you add the AirTV, the many locals it finds OTA replace the few locals Sling carries OTT in the Sling guide. Each of your local stations only appears in the guide once; those two stations don't appear twice, so there's no way to stream the "Sling" copy.
My TV picks up 20 stations good quality, so Airtv should pick up the same 20 if I don't touch the antenna, right?
I would think so, yes. In fact, you might be able to do even better. The AirTV doesn't have to be near a TV, so if you can get more stations by putting the antenna elsewhere, go ahead and move it and put the AirTV where you can hook it to the antenna.
 

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Howdy @tcat - The two are very integrated and the recording between antennae and Sling proper are totally separate.

The limitations are no pausing live TV without setting up a recording, and no padding recordings.

Since you are in Austin too(I am in South Austin) I would be willing to let you borrow mine to try for a bit and you can then buy it if you want to keep it.. I have had the new Tablo Quad for a week now and am going to go with it as our solution as it fits our needs better.
 

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I just bought the new Tablo Quad. So I will have HDHomeRun Extend, extend and the new Tablo Quad. I will let y'all know what I think of it.. Then two of three are going to eBay :)
I have had the new Tablo Quad for a week now and am going to go with it as our solution as it fits our needs better.
Excellent! If you'd like, let us know what you think.

I know it's OT for this thread, but it'd be a perfect post for the thread at https://www.avsforum.com/forum/42-hdtv-recorders/3042552-tivo-bolt-ota-vs-fire-tv-recast-vs-tablo-vs-channel-master-stream-new-post.html
 

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Thanks! And assuming you don't mind, I'll quote the AirTV section of your comparative review here as well (Everyone: for all reviews follow xnappo's link above):
Hi Guys,

I wanted to drop in and do a little review of three solutions I have tried.

Some background - I was doing the HTPC thing for a long time using cable TV with a Ceton card and WMC. My HTPC died, and I moved to NVidia Shields for both my living room and home theater. I have FireTV stick for the bedroom.

I will never go back to having multiple boxes - I love just having the ShieldTV being the ONLY thing to control.

I use SlingTV Blue for my cable now after trying Hulu and YouTubeTV - the interface has the highest family acceptance and the price is right - of course there are no locals.

Third solution: AirTV 'black box' with Sling App

Pros:
Integration with Sling App (obviously)
Very simple setup
Free guide data (with Sling subscription anyway)

Cons:
No 'trick play' - you can't pause and rewind live TV (you can go through several clicks and start recording, but this is annoying)
No way to set early/late start times for recordings
No way to transfer recordings off drive
Picture quality slightly worse than other solutions
Pretty much zero online presence from Sling for feature requests/status etc (please let me know if I am missing something!)

Hope this is helpful.

xnappo
I agree with those - especially the first three "cons." Any competent DVR should be able to pause/rewind live TV, adjust start/end times, and allow OTA recordings to be copied off. Even "cheapo" iViews and HomeWorXes can do those things! And the last con makes it hard to get the other cons addressed.

AirTV's slightly worse PQ is probably a result of transcoding. Of course the Tablo does that too, but its more powerful CPU lets you choose higher PQ (at the expense of HDD storage). I guess that's one reason the Tablo costs more.

Also, I still think AirTV needs a four-tuner model. The AirTV allows two streams for two TVs, so it's typically going to record more than a one-TV DVR, meaning there will be more recording conflicts. And conflicts will get worse if they fix it to let you adjust start/end times, since that can make recordings overlap at the starts and ends.
 

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FYI from Facebook:

Chris: Please add ability to pause live tv, and to add buffer to beginning and end of recordings!

AirTV: Hey Chris! We do have an firmware update to improve the DVR features forthcoming. Stay tuned!
 
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