Not long after Disney+ made its epic debut on November 12, a significant number of its new customers found that they were unable to access the service. It turned out that if you owned a Vizio smart TV, there was no native Disney+ app for the SmartCast platform, and you couldn’t even resort to the usual plan B: Using Chromecast to flip Disney+ content from a mobile app to your big screen.
Instead, all Vizio customers could do was leverage AirPlay 2 — if their TV supported it and if they also owned an iOS device or a Mac. If they only had Android devices lying around, they were out of luck entirely. Outraged Vizio customers took to social media to let the company know what they thought of being left out of the Disney+ party, with most placing the blame on Vizio itself.
Clearly, if you’re Vizio, you want to get on top of this situation ASAP, which it now has. Kind of.
The company announced on November 20 that it was working hard on a fix for the Chromecast problem and promised that a software update would begin rolling out to Vizio SmartCast TVs in “early December.” There was no mention of when or if an actual Disney+ app would appear on the smart TV platform. That timeline sadly misses the Thanksgiving weekend, when most Vizio/Disney+ customers would rightfully expect to be able to watch the content they’ve paid for during their time off from work.
On the same day, Vizio also announced the rollout of its SmartCast 3.5 update. The new version of the software brings improved speed and responsiveness to the Vizio SmartCast platform, according to the company. Among the activities that get a speed increase are input switching, remote control responsiveness, scrolling, and overall app performance.
Faster software and a fix for the Disney+ casting problem are welcome news, especially for the many Vizio customers who are still stuck without a way to watch The Mandalorian on their big screen. But one question remains: How did this happen?
We’ve known that Disney+ was coming for years. The Mickey Mouse hype machine has been in overdrive mode for months. And Vizio is the number two seller of smart TVs in U.S., right behind Samsung. We’re not sure which company deserves more of the blame for this situation, but one thing’s for sure: If this doesn’t get fixed before Vizio owners want to gather around the TV over the holidays that land at the end of December, it won’t be a happy new year for Vizio.