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iHeartRadio turns your TV into a holiday-themed music photo frame

iHeartRadio has a suggestion for Vizio smart TV, Samsung smart TV, and Comcast X1 owners this holiday season. Instead of flipping your TV to the fireplace channel — which may not have a very inspiring music soundtrack — why not fire up the iHeartRadio app and tune in to one of the streaming music company’s “visual playlists“?

iHeartRadio Holiday Visual Playlists

The new feature combines curated music playlists with holiday photo imagery for a continuous festive slideshow set to music. Holiday compilations like iHeartChristmas and iHeartChristmas Classics are the most obvious choice for those looking to get in the holiday mood, but they’re not the only options. If you’d prefer to see visuals accompanied by fewer Burl Ives and Mariah Carey tunes, you can also choose from Top 40, Country, Kids & Family, 80s, Classic Rock, and other stations.

To find these experiences, open the iHeartRadio app on your Comcast X1, Vizio or Samsung smart TV and select the Visual Playlists category. If you find one you really like, you can save it to your library and watch/listen to it again any time.

The imagery in the Christmas playlists includes fairly typical scenes like roaring fireplaces with stockings hung on a mantel, but there are also fun variations on the idea, like a pickup truck with a freshly cut tree in the flatbed. Each image appears on-screen for about 12 seconds before fading into the next one, so even TVs that have a tendency toward image-retention should be fine.

Visual playlists feature is a clever way for iHeartRadio to fend off the big streaming giants like Apple Music and Spotify during the holiday season. These streaming services have smart TV apps too, but they (so far) don’t marry music and slideshow-like visuals in a single experience. An Apple TV 4K will default to the devices’ built-in aerial screensavers when no action has been taken inside of a music app for a while, but this isn’t quite the same thing.

Using a visual playlist on your TV may not be quite as warm and cozy as an actual roaring fire, but it’s way easier, and it’s a much cheaper way to give your holiday festivities a hi-tech vibe than splashing our for a smart Christmas tree.

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