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Vizio updates its SmartCast software for much-needed speed improvement

Vizio SmartCast operting system

Source: CordCutters (Image credit: CordCutters)

We're big fans of Vizio TVs here, with their great mix of display quality and price. But one nagging hangup has been the built-in SmartCast operating system. It is, to put it succinctly, not great. Or fast. In fact, we've never recommended a Vizio TV without also saying that you need to have some other streaming hardware connected to it, like an Apple TV or Roku or Fire TV.

That may finally begin to change.

Vizio today announced an over-the-air update is headed to its TVs — and we're talking elligible TVs as far back as 2016 — that will improve the speed and performance and responsiveness of the SmartCast platform.

Says Vizio:

The SmartCast 3.5 update includes quicker startup and load times, faster input switching, and improved remote-control responsiveness while using SmartCast. Users can more seamlessly scroll through the SmartCast platform, making it easier than ever to find their favorite content. They can also quickly jump into and out of their favorite apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube. Switching inputs from Apple AirPlay or VIZIO WatchFree™ and returning to SmartCast home is now also significantly faster. SmartCast 3.5 brings users an improved content discovery experience, just in time for the holidays.

Vizio's updates are available over the air, so it'll download in the background while the TV is off, and update when you're not watching, as to not interrupt you actually watching TV.

And we're still expecting an update sometime in December that will make Vizio's built-in Chromecast feature actually work with Dizney+, so stay tuned for that.

VIZIO Updates SmartCast™ TVs with Faster Performance and New Features Ahead of the Holiday Season

Starting today, SmartCast TVs will receive an over-the-air upgrade to make it even easier for users to access the entertainment they love

Irvine, CA – Nov. 20, 2019 – VIZIO, Inc. today began the rollout of SmartCast 3.5, the newest upgrade to its smart TVs, bringing improved speed and responsiveness to the VIZIO SmartCastTM platform. Thanks to VIZIO's ability to provide software updates over-the-air and across product lines, millions of VIZIO SmartCast TV owners with models dating back to 2016[1] will benefit from the latest update.

The SmartCast 3.5 update includes quicker startup and load times, faster input switching, and improved remote-control responsiveness while using SmartCast. Users can more seamlessly scroll through the SmartCast platform, making it easier than ever to find their favorite content. They can also quickly jump into and out of their favorite apps including Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and YouTube. Switching inputs from Apple AirPlay or VIZIO WatchFree™ and returning to SmartCast home is now also significantly faster. SmartCast 3.5 brings users an improved content discovery experience, just in time for the holidays.

"We know consumers want to upgrade their entertainment experiences this holiday season," said Bill Baxter, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. "These SmartCast performance updates, paired with award-winning picture quality, rich smart home integrations, and competitive holiday pricing, make VIZIO SmartCast TVs the best all-in-one value purchase this holiday season."

A range of VIZIO SmartCast TVs are discounted for Black Friday and Cyber Monday at retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Target, and Walmart. In addition to great holiday deals, VIZIO is making Pandora, the music streaming app used by tens of millions of consumers, available on the SmartCast platform. As part of the launch, VIZIO SmartCast TV owners will also be eligible to receive a 90-day free trial of Pandora Premium by going to VIZIO.com/Pandora. Users can also pair a VIZIO sound bar with their SmartCast TV to bring an enhanced sound experience to any holiday gathering.

VIZIO continues to deliver the ultimate customer value this season with the latest smart home features and integrations built-in to the SmartCast platform. Not only are VIZIO SmartCast TVs compatible with voice assistants such as Siri, Google Assistant, and Alexa-enabled devices, they also come enabled with Apple AirPlay 2 and Chromecast built-in. Users can stream thousands of their favorite movies, TV shows, music, and photos directly to their TVs. In addition to these rich integrations, VIZIO provides users with even more value through their free-to-use streaming service, WatchFree. With WatchFree, consumers have access to more than 150 channels, powered by Pluto TV, featuring news, sports, movies, TV shows, music and more.