One of Vizio's biggest reveals at CES this year was a new version of SmartCast that works with Apple's AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. Now, the electronics-maker has started testing its updated smart TV platform with the intention of rolling it out to all its TVs with SmartCast Home by the second quarter of the year. Once you get SmartCast 3.0, you'll be able to beam videos, photos and music from your iPhones, iPads and Macs to Vizio's SmartCast TVs. Yes, including any 4K and Dolby Vision HDR movies and shows you purchase from iTunes. Since the platform's adding support for the second version of AirPlay, you'll be able beam media to multiple devices.
Apple may not have an official booth or presence at CES but that doesn't mean it isn't making any news at the annual industry showcase. The iPhone-maker and electronics giant has announced partnerships with Samsung, LG and Vizio to bring its AirPlay 2 streaming technology to the latter's TVs. AirPlay 2 tech was previously largely limited to Apple's own Apple TV streaming boxes and speakers from Sonos, Beats, and Bose, among others. By bringing the tech to TVs viewers who own Apple devices will soon be able to wirelessly stream what is on their iPhone, iPad or Mac screens to their big screens. This includes not only streaming videos from apps like YouTube, Netflix or HBO but also games, photos, and music.
Not long ago, I thought of smart TV software--especially from the likes of Samsung and LG--as something to ignore. Dedicated streaming devices such as Roku's Streaming Stick and Amazon's Fire TV Stick offered slicker interfaces and better app selections, which made me wonder why TV makers even bothered making subpar software. A funny thing's happened in recent years, though: Smart TV software from LG and Samsung has actually gotten pretty good. Now, I'm wondering why those companies don't take a page from Roku and Amazon, and put their software on external streaming players. To be clear, I don't own any Samsung or LG TVs, so I haven't lived with their software like I have with all the major streaming devices.
Sure, Siri can open Netflix for you and search for a George Clooney movie, but only if you spring $179 to $199 for the Apple TV accessory streamer. Now, Apple's personal assistant can turn on the TV, change the channel and find a specific TV show, on certain newer TVs from Vizio, Samsung, Sony and LG. It's part of a radical rethink on Apple's part to bring Apple outside of the ecosystem, and onto mainstream television sets. Samsung pushed out Apple's AirPlay features on new smart TVs that began shipping May 13. AirPlay lets you mirror what's on your device.
As much as we're not yet willing to admit it, the days are getting shorter by the second as August is coming to a close. We'll miss the whimsical, sunshine-filled days of summer, but as one season comes to an end, another begins and brings its own perks. What some of you might refer to as fall and winter, I like to call "chill season." Not just because it's colder, but because it's the perfect excuse to sit back, vegetate, and catch up on all of the TV series you neglected when you were too busy sipping margaritas outside. If you're gonna do it though, you need to do it right.