Amazon is trying to fix content casting with an open standard

Amazon is trying to fix video casting with an open standard

Amazon, one of the founders of Matter, is the first to add support for Matter casting, a feature of the Matter smart home standard that allows you to control TVs and streaming devices strait from a connected app. At CES this week, Amazon revealed that Matter casting support is coming to its Prime Video app so that you can cast content to Amazon hardware devices.

The feature is available now for the Echo Show 15 — Amazon’s biggest smart display that’s also a Fire TV — and Amazon says support is coming soon to Fire TVs, including smart TVs from Panasonic with Fire TV built in. Just open the Prime Video app on your phone or tablet, tap the cast button, and alongside other casting options, you will now see the chance to cast to an Echo Show 15 (if you have one). Amazon says more apps are adding support for Matter casting later this year, including Plex, Pluto TV, Sling TV, Starz, and ZDF.

Matter casting is an open protocol that doesn’t require special hardware, only that the app on your personal device and the app on the device you’re casting to have the feature enabled. It’s essentially like Apple’s AirPlay or Google’s Chromecast but open to every app or hardware maker to implement and not limited to specific phone OSes or partnerships.

Amazon has enabled it on its Prime Video app and says it’s trying to get other platforms on board. “We’ve been developing this over a few years, and we want to put Matter casting everywhere,” Chris DeCenzo, a lead engineer at Amazon who works on Alexa devices, tells The Verge.

DeCenzo says the Prime Video experience works using app-to-app connection, so you have all the same controls on your phone as you do on the app on your TV. If other hardware makers add Matter casting support to their products, you’ll be able to cast Amazon content to supported apps on them, too.

However, while Amazon is the first to adopt Matter casting, it may well be the only of the big three leaders of Matter to implement it. Google and Apple already have good, popular methods for casting content that don’t look like they’re going anywhere soon. At CES this week, Google announced its Chromecast feature will be built into all new LG TVs but made no mention of Matter casting.

But for Amazon, which has not had a proprietary way to cast video from a phone or tablet to a TV or display, Matter casting is a big deal. “Customers can begin watching a movie or browse for their next favorite show from Prime Video on their phone and cast it to their compatible Fire TV device or Echo Show 15. This is an industry-first demonstration of implementing Matter Casting,” said the company in a blog post published today.

DeCenzo says that if all the big companies adopted Matter casting, it would be better for the industry, as app developers would only have to build for one protocol — one of the founding principles of the Matter smart home standard. “We believe in open standards,” he says, “because it simplifies things for developers.”

Additionally, it would make things easier for buyers. Casting from apps would work with every streaming box, TV, and smart display, and you wouldn’t have to think about what hardware you have in order to show your content. That sounds great in theory, but — as with Matter in general — it looks like it will be a long journey to get there.

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