DISH Networks (DISH) Greets '17 with Latest AirTV Device

The Cable Television industry in the U.S. seems to be having an exciting beginning to the New Year with fresh deals and updated product offerings. On Jan 1, Comcast Corp. CMCSA , a leading cable multi-service operator (MSO) in the U.S., inked a new pact with Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. FOXA after resolving their 13-month old battle over carriage of the YES Network in the New York City area. And now, DISH Network Corp.DISH , the second largest satellite TV operator in the U.S. has begun the year with a bang.

According to a recent report by The Business Journal , DISH Network's subsidiary, AirTV launched its latest streaming device, AirTV Player.

Air TV Player is a 4K Android-based streaming device which supports ultra HD (high definition) and is pre-loaded with Netflix Inc. NFLX , SlingTV and YouTube apps and that work with an over-the-air antenna for broadcast TV. Hence, AirTV marks "a single unified" platform for on-demand streaming, internet TV, and over-the-air (OTA) local channels.

The AirTV Player allows Sling TV customers add free, live local broadcast stations into their guide using an external antenna. The media streamer is featured with dual-band WiFi networks and a Bluetooth voice-enabled remote that can be paired with an AirTV OTA Adapter and OTA antenna. The remote features dedicated buttons for Sling TV, Netflix and Google Play Store, provides voice capabilities and can control power and volume on any connected TV or sound system using infrared signals.

As far as pricing is concerned, DISH Newtorks has priced the AirTV Player with the OTA AirTV Adapter for $129.99 while a streaming-only version of the AirTV Player is available for $99.99. A standalone AirTV Adapter will be available for $39.99 if consumers choose to add OTA integration at a later date. As an add on, the purchase of any AirTV Player will include a $50 Sling TV credit, available to new and existing Sling TV users.

The cable company simultaneously announced the AirTV Pro Install service. The service offers professional installation of the AirTV Player with a TV antenna for $100 (for an indoor antenna) to $150 (outdoor), depending on the type of antenna used.

Winding Up

Shares of DISH Network have underperformed the Zacks-categorized Cable TV industry, due to multiple headwinds that hurt the stock in the past one year. The stock gained 1.12% but lagged the industry's growth of 18.35% over the same period.

However, DISH Network's efforts to diversify its business model from a pure-play satellite-TV operator to an Internet TV operator look innovative and impressive. We believe such strategic steps should help the company to counter competitive threats from low-cost video streaming operators.

We also expect the company to get back its lost subscribers reported in the third quarter earnings release. Notably, DISH Networks lost 116,000 pay-TV subscribers in the quarter compared with a loss of 23,000 in the year-ago quarter.

Such mixed outcomes and business strategies might have been the reason behind DISH Network's current Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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