Amazon announces an AirPlay alternative that'll be open to everyone with a Fire TV

Amazon Fire TV QLED showing Alexa Widgets on screen
The Amazon Fire TV QLED (Image credit: Amazon)

At CES 2024 Amazon has announced that its TVs and smart screens are getting support for a Google Chromecast and Apple AirPlay rival called Matter open casting, and it could finally simplify the confusing world of exclusive video casting standards.

If you have a Google Pixel phone you can only cast video to a Google Chromecast-enabled display, only iPhones and other Apple gadgets can cast via AirPlay, and this annoying exclusivity can mean you don’t get the most out of your tech if you don’t stay exclusive to one ecosystem. 

Amazon is taking a step toward unifying these systems by bringing Matter casting to its Prime Video app and several Amazon gadgets. So when you boot up the Prime Video app and tap the cast icon no matter the phone you have you should see a wider selection of compatible hardware you can beam video to. Matter casting can bypass hardware restrictions because it’s using app-to-app communication according to Chris DeCenzo, a principal engineer at Amazon (via The Verge).

Fire TV now on Amazon Echo Show 15, it's hung on a wall

The Echo Show 15 (Image credit: Amazon)

The feature is first rolling out to the Echo Show 15 smart display, and Amazon saying Fire TVs should soon get access to Matter casting too. Later this year other streaming platforms including Pluto TV, Plex, Sling TV, Starz, and ZDF will follow Prime Video in adding support on the software side – not the biggest hitters from our best streaming services list, but a start nonetheless.

If the Matter name rings a bell that’s because it’s more than just an open-source casting standard – it’s an open-source everything smart home standard. But don’t expect Google and Amazon to rush to support Matter casting as they have other Matter interconnectivity.

What is Matter?

Matter is an open-source smart home protocol that’s being backed by a huge swathe of companies – including Amazon, Apple, and Google – that aims to make your smart home easier to set up and make interconnected.

Previously you’d have some smart home gadgets that interfaced exclusively with Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assitant, or Apple Homekit. This made finding the right products needlessly confusing, and sometimes meant you were locked out of the best smart home appliance because it was only compatible with an ecosystem you’re not a part of.

With Matter all of your smart home gadgets (well, the ones that support it) can be integrated into one unified system. Unfortunately, we don’t expect Apple and Google to play nice with Matter casting like they have with other Matter systems.

The LG C4 TV in a hotel room, demoing a movie

The LG C4 will have Chromecast support built-in (Image credit: Future)

In its CES announcements Google revealed that all new LG TVs will have Chromecast capabilities built in – and be general Matter smart hubs too – but didn’t mention Matter casting specifically. Apple has always preferred its walled garden approach and is unlikely to want to give up its exclusive AirPlay compatibility with gadgets like Sonos speakers.

Never say never. The companies have played nicely in the past, and with Matter casting being a mostly software thing if enough third-party apps enable it Google and Apple might eventually have to buckle to the standard’s popularity.

We’re covering all of the latest CES news from the show as it happens. Stick with us for the big stories on everything from 8K TVs and foldable displays to new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets, and the latest in AI.

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Hamish Hector
Senior Staff Writer, News

Hamish is a Senior Staff Writer for TechRadar and you’ll see his name appearing on articles across nearly every topic on the site from smart home deals to speaker reviews to graphics card news and everything in between. He uses his broad range of knowledge to help explain the latest gadgets and if they’re a must-buy or a fad fueled by hype. Though his specialty is writing about everything going on in the world of virtual reality and augmented reality.