Netflix and YouTube have teamed up to launch DIAL, a protocol that helps developers of second-screen apps to discover and launch applications on smart TVs and connected devices. The effort is already getting support from a number of notable players, including Samsung, Sony, Hulu and the BBC. DIAL could become a key piece in efforts to establish an open alternative to Apple’s AirPlay.
YouTube and Netflix have been collaborating quietly on these efforts for months. Word first got out when some inquisitive users discovered traces of DIAL back in December. The DIAL website publicly launched with little fanfare and a brief mention on Engadget earlier this month, and now, Netflix is for the first time sharing some key details of the project with GigaOM.
DIAL stands for “discovery and launch,” which pretty much sums up what the protocol is meant to do. DIAL-enabled second screen apps will be able to discover DIAL-ready first-screen devices in the same network and launch apps on them. That may sound trivial, but it’s actually solving a big problem for second screen app developers.