VIZIO SmartCast Turns Your Phone into a Cast-Enabled Remote

The electronics company Vizio has an interesting vision for smart TVs. Their new 4K TVs have no smart TV features beyond supporting Google Cast. Both iOS and Android devices will be able to find and throw content onto the TV without any extra work. It’s a great feature that reduces a lot of friction that previously existed around playing content.

Another feature comes through their remote. There is none, at least not a traditional remote. The physical buttons are replaced by a tablet which is included in the TV running a remote control app. This app, VIZIO SmartCast, combines a remote control and a content discovery system. Vizio published this app on Google Play, meaning that you can also load it on your phone.

VIZIO SmartCast

The app supports voice search. It doesn’t do a search on the TV. Your search will find content that Vizio has integrated within the app: movies, TV shows, and music are all available options. Movies can be casted to the Vizio TV in 4K, although it’s not certain if 4K content can currently be casted to other devices like the NVIDIA Shield. Additionally, there are options to control playback of casted content on the TV in addition to things like volume controls.

Being available in the app store, users should get access to future updates as bug fixes are made and new features are added. It’s free for anyone to download, although it won’t be too useful unless you have a Vizio TV.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker)Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop.Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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  • I don’t understand the point of this. Why not build Android TV into the TV? How much money can they be saving by not including it but shipping a tablet with it and having a dev team working on the remote app?

    • Vizio would need more powerful and expensive hardware to run the Android OS for apps and games: RAM, processor, GPU, storage, Bluetooth, and maybe hire more engineers to build a custom embedded remote. It’s a large investment when smart TVs may not necessarily a guaranteed seller in many markets.