Originally Posted by Matt McRae
Now that things are public... I thought I would take some time between press meetings and give you some more background on the UX announcement.
First, you will continue to see major improvements and additions to the SmartCast app for iOS and Android. We are now calling that app SmartCast Mobile. Lots of new features, a new remote control layout, a way to navigate onscreen menus, and more content are all coming over the next couple of months. For many, including myself, this will still be the primary way to interact with our SmartCast displays because of the ease of use, ability to navigate while watching content on screen, touch navigation, and ability to use the iOS/Android native apps for services when I choose.
Second, we announce SmartCast TV which is the new UX on the TV screen. However, it would be wrong to think we are porting a bunch of native apps to the screen and doing an about-face on Cast. SmartCast TV is just SmartCast Mobile built for the 10ft experience. Meaning the UX is actually driven from the cloud and the same backend servers as SmartCast mobile. There is no native app running... which means we can add features, improve design, add content, etc without having to do an app or firmware update. Also, the apps "running" in the TV are actually cloud based HTML5 interfaces that also can be updated without downloads or firmware updates.
Whats more... when you kick off a Crackle stream for example from the 10ft UX on the TV... it actually sends a Cast stream request to itself. Meaning the playback is Cast underneath which means it remains controllable from SmartCast Mobile apps, native apps, and even Google Home (even though you selected that stream from the TV UX). This is a completely unified Cast infrastructure and architecture with a new front end running on the TV that you can navigate via IR (or the SmartCast Mobile app).
I won't go into the major advantages this provides not only for app/service providers but the ecosystem in general. Suffice it to say this is a really different approach to enabling multi-screen navigation across services and "apps". So this is not a return to traditional ported apps to proprietary TV OS platforms... it is the extension of SmartCast (and all of the benefits associated with it) to the 10ft user experience.
The press isn't picking up on all of this... and it may take a while since we won't send them firmware to test until it is final form. The above may confuse some here as well. But basically we have the best of both worlds running in a unified user experience that can be updated and refined over time without custom code or major firmware deployments. It also allows us to synchronize the UX across Mobile and TV - you have seen us do this with sidebar settings already.
What does this mean for owners that bought before these changes were incorporated? Will firmware updates get us up to speed with the on-screen menus and apps?
I bought my P55 last month. It has since updated the firmware to 22.214.171.124. As you all know, the remote that came with is quite limited. But I have been able to activate two on-screen menus using the multi-component remote from my cable/DVR. The first menu drops down from the top, displays some basic info regarding current settings, then turns off after a few seconds. The second menu slides in from the left and displays the TV SETTINGS menu very similar to the one within the SmartCast app. I can scroll up and down through the menu, but cannot select anything; not very useful. And as previously mentioned, I can only access them with my cable/DVR remote.
And I doing something wrong? Do I have to get the new remote to access the on-screen menus and apps?