SlingTV and AirTV - Getting Ready to Cut the Cord

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We've been huge fans of DirecTV and its Genie product.

Our original review - back in 2012 - was an unqualified rave.

At the time, DirecTV was offering the only HD interface, and the only whole-home DVR. We could store a massive amount of programming on the internal hard drive, and access it from every room.

But next month, we're moving on entirely.


Do we still need a DVR?

In fact, our next TV provider may have no DVR at all.

It's funny how things have changed - I had the first Tivo, and for the last 15 years, I couldn't imagine living without a DVR.

But over time, we've stopped relying on locally-stored recordings, and have started streaming more and more content.

I don't think we're alone.

With Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, Amazon Prime, and dozens of channel-specific AppleTV apps with the entire run of multiple series available, we simply haven't bothered to record much on the DVR.

Is recording even necessary in a world where every program is available at all times, instantly?

We'll soon find out.

Why drop DirecTV now?

The primary driver? Price, of course.

DirecTV requires a 2-year contract, and over the course of those two years, your monthly cost gradually increases.

We started at around $84, then around $100, then $120... and for the last 6 months, we've been paying $142.

I could get the price lowered again... by restarting the cycle and engaging in another 2-year deal. But it's getting tiresome.

There's also the issue of additional charges for additional TVs, and for additional equipment.

We're up to 3 TVs in the house, but I never even looked into a Genie Mini for the basement, because I really don't want to pay DirecTV any more than the $140 (!!) per month I already am.

It's time for a change.

We may wind up with Xfinity, or even WOW.

But first, we're going to give SlingTV a shot.

Is SlingTV Ready for Prime Time?

That's the real question. 

The answer, thankfully, is "it doesn't matter". There's basically no risk here.

We aren't signing on for any contract, and SlingTV uses the equipment we already have. 

You may remember from other AAAD articles that we have current-gen AppleTVs, hardwired with Ethernet, on each of our TVs. 

SlingTV will work natively on the AppleTV, essentially making the AppleTV our cable box. 

Sling has a pretty great slate of channels, and even though we're going to be losing a few in the transition from DirecTV, 

One major addition - NFL RedZone. 

I've wanted this channel for years, and DirecTV will NOT sell it to you unless you're a Sunday Ticket subscriber. 

Can You Get Local Network Affiliates?

Sort of. 

You can always throw up an OTA antenna and pull down your local networks that way. 

But it's so inelegant! I hate the idea of switching inputs to see different channels. 

SlingTV offers Fox and NBC in certain markets - and Chicago is one of those markets. So we're set there. 

CBS is a total holdout, for now. 

Sling offers ABC for $5 extra... certainly worth considering. 

Or at least it would be, if AirTV wasn't just around the corner. 

Wait, What is AirTV? 

AirTV is an add-on box for SlingTV, and it's the final ingredient that makes SlingTV a palatable option.

It's been rumored for months, but yesterday Dave Zatz noticed it had a page up on Amazon and B&H - this is a real product, that is right around the corner.

An AirTV is small box that puts OTA channels into your SlingTV channel guide. It will retail for $150.

You plug the AirTV into your router, and plug an antenna into the AirTV.

And just like that, you'll be able to watch local networks from your SlingTV app.

What About That Satellite Dish?

Aw, geez. I still have a satellite dish on my roof. 

And a bunch of cables running down the side of our house. 

That's gonna have to go. 

Fortunately, there are companies that specialize in removing satellite dishes... I'm not going up there. 

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