Google’s Chromecast is one of the best (and cheapest) ways to turn a TV into a bonafide media-streaming beast. It’s fantastic, except for one thing: It’s yet another thing you need to plug into your TV.
Vizio’s new P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display TVs (holy moly, that’s a mouthful) come with what is essentially Chromecast built right in.
Using the included 6-inch Android tablet remote,
couch potatoes voracious content consumers can "cast" content directly from it to the TV.
The new P-Series 4K TVs, which start at $999.99 for 50-inch and shoot up to $3,799.99 for a 75-inch, pack in the latest picture technologies like High Dynamic Range with Dolby Vision and improved brightness and contrast, first seen in Vizio’s super high-end Reference Series.
"One of the biggest complaints we’ve heard from consumers and from reviewers is that [smart TV platforms] are proprietary — the apps that are there are typically older versions of the app that don’t get updates as much," Matt McRae, Vizio’s Chief Technology Officer, told Mashable. "Or in many cases the app never gets ported to the television because that app or service is focused on their iOS or Android versions. By integrating Cast, a user will always have the latest and greatest applications."
The tablet remote isn’t anything particularly special. It’s powered by an octa-core processor, runs Android 5.0 Lollipop, has a 1080p resolution full HD display and comes with 16GB of internal storage.
"[The tablet remote] is also a great media device, so if you want to use it as a portable TV around our house, it works beautifully for that as well," says McRae.
The Vizio SmartCast app is pre-installed on the tablet remote. You can think of this app as a kind of a universal Cast app. Vizio says you’ll be able to search for content across apps from within the SmartCast app. This way you’re not constantly switching between apps.
The app also serves as a handy remote control — perfect for those times when you misplace the TV’s remote control.
Including Google Cast in its TVs isn’t such a bad idea. Other TV makers like TCL are wising up, too. TCL sells TVs with built-in Rokus. With Google Cast, Vizio’s making a huge gamble on mobile being an integral part of the TV watching experience. Time will tell if Google Cast is the future.
“Right now we’re just focused on launching this P-series but we’ll be able to come back and tell you more about the ecosystem and how it moves through our roadmap at a later date," says McRae.
Karissa Bell contributed to this report.