One huge advantage that Apple has over many other electronics, especially when it comes to television, is AirPlay compatibility. Any iOS device, like an iPhone or iPad, will discover any AirPlay-compatible device, like Apple TV, printers, and speakers and let them communicate with each other without needing a cable connection.
YouTube and Netflix want their share of the second screen compatibility market and have decided to collaborate on new software technology that hopes to compete directly with AirPlay.
According to GigaOm, YouTube and Netflix were both, separately, working on second screen apps. They decided to collaborate in order to make a bigger impact in the industry. That is where DIAL comes in.
DIAL (DIscovery And Launch) is a protocol that allows second screen apps to automatically discover DIAL-enabled devices on the same network and launch the apps on them. So, if Netflix is using DIAL for its second screen app and you have a DIAL-enabled smart television, when you launch the app on your phone or tablet, it will automatically do the same on the television’s app and you can communicate both ways.
DIAL offers a bit more in the way of usability than AirPlay. For example, AirPlay doesn’t automatically launch apps like Netflix on Apple TV. DIAL also detects whether an app is installed on a smart TV and redirects the user to the app store if it is not.
The app launching protocol is getting support in the industry from some big names. In addition to Netflix and YouTube, Pandora, Hulu, and Flingo have all signed on for future connectivity. However, this doesn’t automatically mean that DIAL will turn AirPlay into obsolete technology. If anything, it will push Apple to do more to improve upon their current service.
It is more likely that DIAL will be just another service on smart TVs that people can use to connect a second screen app. Besides, it doesn’t sound like DIAL is going to be developed for anything other than media streaming services. AirPlay lets you turn your iPhone into a game controller, play music from any iOS device, and print documents without getting off of the couch. Can DIAL do that?