A year after the introduction of the world’s first TV sets that ditched all the on-screen apps for built-in Chromecast functionality, Vizio is all set to get back on part of that premise. The company announced this week that its 2017 M-Series and P-Series TVs will once again come with Tv based apps that can be used with a remote control.
The company is also going to send out a firmware upgrade to its 2016 Ultra HD TVs and all other 2017 models later this summer that will add apps to the big screen. All the devices of 2016 and 2017 models will still offer Chromecast built-in as well, so consumers will continue to be able to control them with their phones and launch playback of videos from within mobile apps like YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix.
Vizio took the radical step to ditch all the on-screen apps in the early 2016 and even shipped some of its TV sets with tablets instead of a traditional remote control. The company also developed its own program guide app, dubbed Smart Cast, for those tablets and other mobile devices in an attempt to simplify casting for its customers. However, the decision of ditching the onscreen apps altogether didn’t go well with all consumers. For example, just scan the reviews for Vizio 2016 TVs and you will find a plenty of reviewers complaining about the need to download apps to their phones, with some of them mentioning that it was the reason they ended with the return of the device. The reviews of the customers were like this one: We did not realize that the TV does not have its own preloaded apps that run without a smartphone. This is especially frustrating if you have sufficient space left on your phone. The only way of using the smart features if through a phone or tablet via separate apps for each in addition to the Vizio app you must have. Amazon Prime does not work at all on this TV. We loved our previous Vizio smart TV but this Smart Cast is terrible.
Vizio released only limited details on its new Tv apps platform. A release promised apps for Crackle, Vudu, iHeart Radio, and XUMO. Netflix was not mentioned notably, but a spokesperson told Variety that the company will reveal additional apps in the coming weeks. The decision of Vizio to once again add apps to its TVs could be seen as a setback for Google and its efforts to make Chromecast the default interface for Tv based streaming. The company stuck the first partnership with Vizio to add Chromecast to directly to TVs last year and has since forged similar alliances with a number of other TV brands including Toshiba, Polaroid, Philips, and Skyworth. Vizio is the first among these companies to integrate the Chromecast with a built-in app platform that is not made by Google.