HomeTech Takeaways: AirTV's Novel Plan to Bring Local Channels to SlingTV

Can a Hyrbrid Hardware / Software Approach Help Bring Regionalized Networks Into the Fold?

Dave Zatz, of ZatzNotFunny, released a post this week outlining a bold new plan from Sling TV known as AirTV. Through the monitoring of trademark applications, combined with what Dave cites as a well-timed tip from a "trusted source", his article outlines a "novel end-around" circumventing many of the challenges involved with licensing over-the-top content. 

AirTV is essentially a re-tooled SlingBox with a built-in OTA tuner. The goal appears to be the incorporation of large national networks (think ABC, NBC, CBS, and Fox) into the SlingTV streaming service launched back in January of 2015.

The box features little more than an antenna hookup and an ethernet port. The assumption is that by installing this device in their homes consumers would then have access to local OTA broadcasts of their regional affiliates included with the paid channels currently available on SlingTV's $20 a month service.

Details on the hardware cost and / or additional monthly fees are not currently available. There is also no word on whether the AirTV product will offer any sort of cloud DVR service for local OTA channels, or if it will serve to offer live broadcasts only. 

The Takeaway: 

No one covers the evolving OTT landscape quite like Dave Zatz. In typical fashion he does a great job dissecting the multiple facets of this story.

It is noted that most of the challenges involved with large-scale OTT offerings are not associated with on-boarding cable channels, but rather with getting the national networks to play ball. This is due to the scale and complexity of their collective relationships with regional affiliates, whose business relies in large part on keeping the status quo in place. AirTV's approach would effectively negate their concerns by serving regionalized  "versions" of the national networks amongst SlingTV's various OTT channels. 

We've seen that OTT is hard. Reports widely indicate that Apple has tried, and failed. Sony appears to be struggling with their Vue service. And existing services that have gotten off the ground are limited in their offerings. AirTV's hybrid hardware / software approach is novel and no-doubt makes the product one to watch.

Read the whole ZatzNotFunny piece here...

- Jason Griffing