Today at CES, Amazon announced the launch of Matter Casting, a new feature and open standard for its Fire TV and Echo Show devices.
This technology allows users to easily “cast” or send content from their phones directly to their TV screens, using apps like Prime Video (which now already supports this standard in the UK and around the world).
With this move, Amazon enters into direct competition with existing casting solutions like Google’s Chromecast and Apple’s AirPlay, offering customers an alternative way to stream their favourite content to their TVs.
Amazon is also planning to add support for more devices and streaming apps (such as the popular Plex). Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is Matter Casting?
Matter, an open-source connectivity standard for smart homes and other internet-connected devices, was developed to improve interoperability and compatibility among different manufacturers.
Originated in December 2019 by key industry players including Amazon, Apple, and Google, Matter aims to simplify the development of smart home products and enhance compatibility for consumers.
“Casting” technology offers the convenience of selecting programs on various apps on their phone and then casting them to their TV without navigating through menus with a remote.
However, with both Apple and Google already having their own popular casting standards (AirPlay and Chromecast), Amazon was left behind, with its own casting options being quite limited – which is where Matter Casting comes in.
“Amazon is a long-time supporter of using open technology standards to give customers more choice over the devices and services they use in their homes”, Amazon said today. “That’s also why Amazon is a founding member and key contributor to the Matter Standard.”
Currently, Prime Video is the only smartphone app supporting Matter Casting on the Echo Show 15 and Fire TV devices, but Amazon plans to extend this feature to other apps and Fire TV devices in the future.
Amazon’s Echo Show 15 is Amazon’s largest (to date) Echo device, which serves as a smart assistant display – but also supports the Fire TV standard, letting users use it as kitchen TV, for example – to watch streaming apps.
According to Amazon, the company is working with Plex, Pluto TV, Sling TV, STARZ, and ZDF to add Matter Casting support to their apps later this year.
“We are excited to work with Amazon to bring Matter Casting to the STARZ app”, said Alison Hoffman, STARZ President of Domestic Networks.
“Matter has been easy to integrate and will provide even more options for customers to enjoy our extensive collection of original series and popular films on their device of choice”.
While the Starz app and service are not available in the UK (its sister app – Lionsgate+, is being shut down next month), Plex and Pluto TV are very much present on our side of the pond.
With apps like Plex supporting the new standard, this could also make it easier to cast your own home videos and photos from your phone – to your Fire TV or Echo device.
It remains to be seen whether there’s a great need for a new standard – but it can certainly be good news for those in the Fire TV camp, as opposed to Apple or Google’s devices.