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Vizio opens beta sign-ups for SmartCast 3.0 with AirPlay 2

As announced at CES 2019, several smart TV makers are getting AirPlay 2 compatibility. Vizio is among them, and has promised support for AirPlay 2 via its SmartCast 3.0 platform, which will be available on many of its models going as far back as 2016. On Monday, January 28, Vizio announced that if you can’t wait for the automatic roll-out of the feature — which is scheduled to happen in Q2 of 2019 — you can get your AirPlay2 on much sooner if you sign up for the SmartCast 3.0 beta, on the company’s website. The update will be available to compatible Vizio models in the United States and Canada, though at the moment, the beta sign-up page is only working in the U.S.

SmartCast 3.0 brings with it a host of new features, including AirPlay 2, and support for Apple’s HomeKit. With AirPlay 2, iOS and MacOS users will be able to cast videos, music, and photos from their devices, without the need of a separate Apple TV. Better yet, this will work even if the content is in 4K, with Dolby Vision HDR. Screen mirroring is supported for these devices too, making it easier to display presentations while still being able to see the content on the source devices.

AirPlay 2 also supports multiroom audio. With the update, a compatible Vizio TV will be treated similarly to other AirPlay 2 speakers, like Apple’s HomePod, and will be able to be controlled from an iOS or MacOS device, either as its own discrete playback speaker, or in sync with other speakers in the home.

With HomeKit, SmartCast 3.0 TVs can be controlled from within the Apple Home app. Functions like power, input switching, and volume levels become part of the Home’s available scene and automation modes, and can also be called up via Siri.

Vizio has been on a tear recently. Last year, it debuted the P-Series Quantum TV, a quantum dot display that came in hundreds of dollars cheaper than the QLED models offered by Samsung. It also delivered on a Dolby Atmos 5.1.4 soundbar that impressed us greatly, once again showing that the company knows how to deliver leading-edge tech at a reasonable price. Seeing Vizio now taking a rapid approach to its rollout of AirPlay 2 support, doesn’t surprise us — it’s proof the company is determined to upset the competition on features as well as price.

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Simon Cohen
Contributing Editor, A/V
Simon Cohen covers a variety of consumer technologies, but has a special interest in audio and video products, like…
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