One more reason to love Vizio TVs

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Whenever someone tells me they need a new TV, but they don’t want to pay through the nose for above-average performance, features, and size, I steer them towards Vizio.

Another reason to love Vizio smart TVs: They replicate a lot of the functionality of Google’s remarkable Chromecast.  This is something I first noticed when I did my Chromecast review, but I didn’t realize just how extensive this functionality was until last night, when I found myself able to “fling” Youtube content from my iPad directly to the TV.  Here’s how it works:  Mobile apps like Netflix and Youtube now have a “cast” button — the button you’re supposed to use to send audio and video to a Chromecast device. But Vizio has smartly used the same “casting protocol” that Chromecast apparently utilizes.  So if you’re watching a movie on Netflix or a video on Youtube and you want to continue watching it on your TV, just hit the “Cast” button and select “VIZIO DTV” (see above screenshot of the Youtube app for the iPad).  The Vizio’s built-in Netflix/Youtube app will kick in and pick up right where you were on your smartphone/tablet. You can then use your mobile device to control the video on the TV.

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This is the iPhone Netflix app. Notice the “VIZIO DTV” option.

Note: I’ve only done it with Netflix and Youtube, but I’ll try some more apps next time I get a chance. I’m guessing that any service built-in to the TV will work, so long as there is a corresponding mobile app.

Oh, and, of course, the TV and the mobile device need to be on the same wifi network.

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65 thoughts on “One more reason to love Vizio TVs

  1. How come I can get my iPad to connect to my brothers tv in another room but it won’t connect to mine? We have the same exact TVs except his is a 42″ and mines a 60″.

    • Hmm. You’ve presumably got two Vizio smart TVs on the same home network, but your iPad only recognizes one of them. The first thing I would do is check that your TV actually is on the same wifi network as your iPad. If it is, then I might try turning off your brother’s vizio (and unplugging it) just to see if that changes anything. I suppose it’s possible two Vizios on the same network is confusing things… I’d test it myself, but I’ve only got one.

      • I had him disconnect from the wifi on his tv and shut it off and it didn’t work. I know mine is connected to the same network.

      • Assuming your 40 incher is fully functional, I suppose it’s possible the 60 inch model has a protocol that the 40 inch model lacks. If this is something you really want to get to the bottom of, compare the model numbers of your two TVs. (the model #’s are on the back of the set). For example, my 50 incher is the E500d-AO.

        If you two really do have identical models (other than size), all the letters would be the same, the only difference would be the numbers (a 40 incher would have a 4 instead of a 5, etc.). If all the letters are exactly the same, then yeah, I’d totally expect your TV to be able to do what his does. In which case, I’d google the specific model number to see if any other owners have the same issue. Sorry I can’t offer more help!

  2. I am trying to connect my galaxy s4 to my vizio e – series smart tv through netflix… When in the Netflix app on my phone, I click the screen mirroring icon, which displays the option to play through my vizio dtv. When I click it netflix opens and logs in on my tv, but the video does not play. No matter how many times I click play it does nothing. I should point out that netflix plays on my phone and on my tv, but not when I am trying to control the tv with my phone. Do you have any ideas why and how to solve them?

    • “screen mirroring” might use different protocol such as WIDI or something. Vizio smart tv doesn’t support that as far as I remember (Cnet mentions that in its review of 2014 vizio tv). On the other side, the “cast” icon mentioned by eric, probably uses “chromecast” protocol which will work.

      Just my humble opinion.

  3. Do i need some type of APP to get this to work? I have always been able to stream to apple tv or whatever, but i can’t get my phone to recognize or find my Vizio.

    • If you’re using the official Netflix app for the iphone, you should see a little icon on the bottom row with a box and a triangle after you’ve loaded up a movie. If your TV and your iphone are on the same wifi network, simply pushing that icon should bring up the option to share the video with the tv. If you’re using the official netflix app and everything is on the same wifi network, but you still don’t see the option, then it’s possible that the specific model of TV you have doesn’t support it. Or it means your TV is off.

  4. Has this stopped working for you? I used to use it on our Vizio and then one day the app on the TV updated and the functionality was gone.

    • You know what? Your comment got me to try it out again over the weekend — it’s been awhile since I’ve actually used the feature. It didn’t work! I tried it on both my iPhone 6 and an older iPad Mini (both running iOS 8). The Netflix App still has the option to “cast” content to the Vizio TV, and when I use it, the Netflix App in the TV opens automatically… but that’s it. The movie doesn’t load up. In fact, the smart TV app frequently quits while trying to open the movie. R.I.P. a good feature. Maybe it’ll restore itself with a future software update…

  5. You can also pair your moto g with apps on your Xbox360 and xbox1. YouTube is the best example of the way a true paired device app should work, it makes it super easy to search for and watch videos. I’ll post any more true pairable apps.

  6. Just got this TV for a business conference room. When hooking up a new MacBook Air via HDMI the Vizio shows a 4:3 aspect ratio with black on the sides and part of the computer screen is still missing on the Vizio (overcast?). I can change the Vizio picture mode to Wide and it fills the screen but still with the overcast issue meaning some of the computer display is cut off the Vizio screen, which isn’t good when doing powerpoint presentaions. Any ideas of how to properly mirror the MacBook screen? The screen is beautiful so hope we can make it function well for powerpoint. Thx

    • I would start with the MacBook’s settings. There should be a preset resolution for you to choose that will fill the Vizio screen (though, the offshoot will be that the MacBook will be cropped, but it sounds like that will be preferable). Note: You’ll only have the cropping issue if you “mirror” the two screens. If you set up the Vizio as an “extension” of the MacBook’s built-in display, you can keep both screens at their native resolutions (and aspect ratios). Just note that the screens will have different content — so you’ll have to do a little more planning for your presentation. I think Powerpoint can handle multiple monitor set-ups, though.

  7. Can the feature be turned off? My 4 year old finds it extremely funny to cast the YT video he’s watching onto the tv everyone else is watching :-/

    • On my TV, I don’t see a way to turn off the feature, but there are some tricks you can do to disempower your tech-savvy 4yo. If you don’t need the TV to watch youtube or netflix at all (like, say, if you have a roku or a blu-ray player with those apps built-in), you can just take the TV off your wifi network. Or, if you still need the TV’s built-in apps to work, your home wifi router might have a feature to create a “guest network.” If so, create one, and have your TV access that, while your other devices use the main network. That’ll keep your mobile devices from talking to the TV…

    • You can remove the cast extension from the browser (or the chromecast app on the tablet). Ideally you will set up a different login on the computer for him to use, and not set up the cast extension on his Chrome instance (or just have him use Firefox).

  8. I use to be able to cast from my iPhone 5s to my Visio and roku, but all of a sudden the cast button doesn’t show up on my phone anymore….Netflix

    • The cast button “should” appear whenever your phone is on the same wifi network as the device you want to cast to. I say “should” because like all new technologies, nothing is ever guaranteed to work as advertised, but the first thing I would do is check to make sure the wifi networks match. Sometimes devices — particularly smart phones — lock onto the wrong wifi network, and the only way to tell is go to Settings and double check things.

  9. We recently purchased a 40″ and a 32″ vizio smart tv’s. My teenager likes being able to change his tv using his smartphone. Only problem is, is that he cannot tell the difference between the 2 tv’s showing up on his phone. They both just say vizio (something).

    Is there a way to ‘rename’ the tv so that he can tell which one he is changing instead of having my husbands tv suddenly change channels or pop over to youtube?

    • Okay, I’ve gone through every single menu on my own Vizio TV, and I couldn’t find any setting anywhere to change “VIZIO DTV” to something else for network purposes. I turned to Reddit, found a couple threads there with people with the same problem — but no solutions. Further searching via the web — which I’m sure you have done as well — has turned up nada. Vizio’s own support pages had nothing to address the issue.

      As far as I can tell, there’s simply no way to change it, which sucks. I’m sorry.

      I can only speculate that Vizio would rather keep that function limited in the name of simplicity — but for people in your situation, it’s very frustrating indeed.

      • Thanks again for looking into it

        I think what I can do is set up the secondary TV’s on a guest wifi network, and the main TV on my main wifi network. Then I just have to switch the wifi connection on my iPad or iPhone based on which TV that I want to stream to

      • @Eric: I’m impressed that this topic is still lively almost a year and a half since you wrote it. I was having some ‘inconsistent behavior’ with various wireless connections, and I also noticed that the TV created what looked like a new Wi-Fi access point named DIRECT-PR-VIZIOTV. Since updates happen in the background without notice to the user, I called Vizio support to ask if I had the latest update, what was with the new access point, and how to know when or if I have the latest update.

        Support wasn’t much help. The rep confirmed that I had the latest update, but I’d have to call every time to confirm future updates – they don’t publish the latest version, and the reps aren’t aware of, or won’t talk about what changed. Also, the rep told me that although she didn’t know exactly when, but I should receive the RF remote upgrade “in the next few months”, even though I had already received it(!). Coincidentally, they told me there was no way to rename my TVs so that I could tell them apart.

        I’ve got an “M-Series” M601D-A3R Razor LED TV with an XRT-510 Infrared/RF remote and an older, smaller Vizio E241I-A1 Smart TV with an infrared-only remote. Sometime in the past few months, Vizio pushed an update that enabled RF from the remote (Woo-hoo!) It turns out that is the reason for the new pseudo-Wi-Fi access point. The TV and remote use the Wi-Fi band, but that protocol is proprietary (i.e., it is only for the remote you can’t connect to it from a Wi-Fi device.)

        The bottom line is, apparently Vizio recently made some significant changes (and maybe bug fixes) to the modules in the firmware that control the radio(s) in the TV. I am betting that they incorporated the same updated modules in the firmware of other models, too, and that’s the root of the problems people are reporting.

        The best way to handle these kinds of problems is to reset the TV to factory defaults and disassociate (forget or delete the settings of) anything that connects to the TV via RF. Then methodically reconnect everything.

  10. I have the same question as Nancy. Is there a way to rename each of my three vizio TV’s so that I know which one I am connecting to?

    Thanks

    • Per my response above to Nancy, sadly, I cannot find anything to address that issue… My Vizio E-series has no such option, Vizio’s support pages had no info on it, and other help threads on the web regarding the issue didn’t offer any solutions either. Sorry!

      • Thanks for looking

        I think what I can do is connect my alternate Vizio’s to my guest wifi network, and my main TV to my main wifi network

        Then I can switch between wifi networks on my phone or iPad to connect to the TV that I want to connect to

  11. Hi Eric I’m trying to connect my iPad minu and iPhone 5s to my Vizio smart tv Is there anyway to play the movies I downloaded from the iTunes store on my Vizio?

  12. I used to cast Netflix,u tube ,pictures on my Visio tv from my iPad. Now I don’t see the option in my iPad to do it. Why.

    • The number 1 reason for casting to stop working is that the TV and iPad somehow fell off the same network. iPads and iPhones can sign onto the wrong wifi network and you might never know. So that’s the first thing I’d check. To find out what wifi network your TV is hooked up to (assuming it’s still hooked up to anything), hit the menu button the remove and navigate to the “Network” option. (If you’re TV is hooked up your home’s router via an ethernet cable, I would swap out the cable for a different one, as that sometimes is the problem)

      If the wifi network listed there is the same as the one on your iPad and it’s still not working, then you’ve got a bigger issue…

  13. I used to be able to cast from my moto x (1st gen) to YouTube, but it no longer shows my TV (Vizio 42″ m series) as a service to cast to. I can cast to Netflix, but casting to YouTube isn’t an option. Ideas?

    • Having the same issue. Pairing my galaxy with the vizio YouTube app used to work perfectly but over the past few weeks my phone isn’t even recognizing the tv as an option for devices to pair with.

  14. Mine stopped working a few weeks ago to, I think that Google upgraded something to make it incompatible in the Android 5.1 update I have a n5

  15. E32-C1 In warranty…
    This set turns itself on and the remote loses all control. If you unplug it and, power back up all is well until IT wants to watch something again! There is no pattern, and the set is connected to coax and wifi.
    2 other Vizio;s are also connected and there is no problem.. Tech supports says ‘maybe’ wifi is turning it on, or bad karma or moon phases…..all nonsense! If I still had the box it would go for an exchange since the set is great otherwise. (Is there some way to set it so it turns on for the programs WE like (!-)

    Also on the YouTube APP, you can’t exit the screen after changing settings like closed captions. If you start another app, from the remote, it will exit and save the settings! It’s NOT a remote control issue since the button works on other apps

    Comments, thoughts incantations!

  16. YouTube Works on my 70″ Visio from my iPad mini on iOS 9.0.2 but I’m not signed into my YouTube on the iPad. Is cast suppose to work without being signed into the app?

    • It should totally work without being signed in. So long as the app (iPad) and the TV are on the same wifi network, the app should see the TV and offer it as an option to cast to. (Of course, that’s easier said than done, as judging by all the people who come to this page because things aren’t working like they should be… When you’re dealing with an app made by Youtube, a device made by Apple, and a TV made by Vizio — not to mention whoever made the wifi router — incongruities can too-easily pop up that keep everything working right)

  17. Having the same issue Nancy mentioned back in feb. I have 4 Vizio tvs and when trying to cast all i see is 4 VIZIO DTV’s. No way to tell the difference! That is flat out just aggravating! Makes me wish I purchased different brands. HOPE VIZIO FIXES THIS!!!

  18. Eric,

    Is there anyway to stream directly from the browser on the Vizio smart tv? I have an Apple TV, which I connected to the TV and the picture was very grainy. On the IPad the picture is perfect. Any thoughts?

  19. I stumbled across this feature just this morning (new to Netflix). When I went to the TV to check it out, the ‘cast’ option was no longer available on my iPhone Netflix app. Any clues?

  20. Great tv if you do not mind paying a subscription fee each month.
    Limited apps with NO way of loading any outside apps for FREE programming.
    You are stuck with only a hand full of apps of which almost every one of the are pay to.
    If you have Amazon Prime or Netflix then you will be happy with the tv but if you think you will be watching FREE tv then thing again. The only way you will get free tv is using cable or a dvd player or hook up a Ruku box.

  21. Just bought a Vizio for my grandmother. She has an iPad and wifi. But can’t figure out how to “pair” Or is it possible that you actually have to print something first (based on the app for iPad).

  22. I have a 48 inch Vizio D series smart T.V with built-in wifI including apps. It’s connected to my private home wireless network via my belkin N300 wireless N router. So far i can only cast media from my nexus 6 using Amazon, YouTube. Crackle and pluto TV either skip during play or fail to load normally. So basically unless your phone and smart TV share the same app casting is not available. chromecast, dlna/upnp, miracast, or screen mirroring are andriod apps i’ve tried of which none have worked.

  23. Hi! I’m thinking about purchasing a D-Series Vizio 43″. Everything looks great, however I havent found info about compatibiity with my Macbook Pro’s Airplay feature. I’d like to extend my desktop via WiFi. I know this can be done with an Apple TV connected to the Vizio, I was just wondering if the built-in connectivity would do the trick. Thanks!

    • No not on a D-Series, it has to have SmartCast which is on E-series and above. I have a D-series it only connects with apps such as netflix and youtube.

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