Two and a half years after launching a 4K Android TV box called the AirTV Player, AirTV is back with a smaller, cheaper solution.
The AirTV Mini is a dongle that you can plug directly into the HDMI port of any monitor to turn it into an Android TV-powered smart TV. It sells for $80 and comes with a $25 credit for Sling TV, allowing you to watch live TV over the internet.
Or you can pair the AirTV Mini with an $80 AirTV networked TV tuner to watch local channels for free.
While the company is obviously pushing the live/recorded TV experience, it’s an entirely optional one.
What interests me about the AirTV Mini is that it’s one of the first Chromecast/Fire TV Stick-sized media streamers to ship with Google’s Android TV user interface.
That means you can use it to stream content from YouTube, Google Play Movies, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, or dozens of other sources. It also has access to the Google Play Store, so you can install third-party apps and games.
The AirTV Mini comes with a remote control featuring Netflix and Sling buttons as well as a microphone and Google Assistant button for voice searches and other commands. The remote can also control power and volume “on most TVs and audio receivers.”
You can also use the AirTV Mini as a Chromecast, which means you can use your phone or PC to find content and start playing it on your TV.
And the system supports Bluetooth headphones, game controllers, and other accessories.
AirTV says the dongle’s hardware features include:
- Amlogic S905Y2 ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core CPU
- ARM Mali-G31 MP2 graphics
- 2GB of RAM
- 8GB of eMMC flash storage
- HDMI CEC support
- HDR support
- VP9, H.264 and H.265 support
- 802.11ac WiFi
- Bluetooth 4.2