DISH Network had a lot of exciting announcements at CES 2017, from improved Hopper features to a new piece of flagship hardware: the AirTV. The AirTV was DISH’s major hit at CES and had many consumers eager to get their hands on one. It was pitched as a new set-top-box with Sling TV and an over-the-air (OTA) antenna to allow its user to pull in live television channels as well. However, the AirTV’s that have already shipped to customers has left many consumers upset as the product shipped without the touted, and much anticipated, OTA integration.
For many customers, the lure of an all-in-one piece of hardware for all their digital content needs is what is so exciting about the AirTV. Never before has there been a service that provides premium on-demand content and OTT integration at such a reasonable price. The lack of OTT support in the initial shipment of AirTV’s has many consumer feeling as though DISH Network hit them with the classic bait-and-switch.
Many users took to Twitter to air the grievances with Sling TV CEO Robert Lynch, who replied to one user saying “The version shown at CES had beta software where the locals are integrated. That feature will be rolled out soon”. AirTV told FierceBroadcasting that the Netflix integration is now live via a ribbon on Sling TV’s “My TV” tab. The company also confirmed that a software update with OTA channel integration would be rolling out automatically in February.
AirTV attributes the hold up to what they are calling an “overwhelming initial response” which has caused a shipping backlog of about two weeks.
“It’s been an exciting launch and we’re pleased that AirTV Player and AirTV Adapter are appealing to consumers trying to fill a need by combining OTA and OTT. We are working to get devices out as quickly as possible and appreciate the patience of our customers,” an AirTV spokesperson told FierceBroadcasting.
While backorders due to overwhelming customer support may seem like a good issue for AirTV to be dealing with, it could harm the product down the line if the problem doesn’t get resolved quickly. The concept behind AirTV is sound, but its success is predicated by DISH handling these first few hurdles appropriately.