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YouTube and Netflix launching AirPlay competitor DIAL to connect TV and mobile apps

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Netflix and YouTube have teamed up to offer a second screen tool similar to Apple's AirPlay. Called DIAL (or "Discovery And Launch"), the system allows mobile devices running a DIAL-enabled app to find other compatible devices, primarily smart TVs or set-top boxes, on the same network. From there, it will automatically open the app on that device as well. In practice, that means you can start up Netflix on your phone, connect to your TV, see the app open there, and start browsing for movies to play.

DIAL was shown off briefly at CES, but GigaOM has extensive details on the service. Among them are the ways it's different from competitor AirPlay. Unlike AirPlay, DIAL won't directly mirror content, instead relying on having the same apps on both devices. It will, however, direct users to the respective app store automatically if an app isn't found, and it can launch web apps if they're supported by the box or TV. Overall, though, it seems based more on the remote control than the streaming model, a more sophisticated version of the Netflix or YouTube control apps already offered on the PlayStation 3 and elsewhere.

Unlike AirPlay, DIAL relies on launching apps rather than directly mirroring content

Netflix says it partnered with YouTube because "having two major video services define and promote DIAL would help get it more widely adopted as a common solution to a common problem." The two companies are also working on other partnerships. DIAL is apparently already supported by Google TVs, and GigaOM has been told by developers that some other Samsung and LG TVs have partial support. Netflix has said that several device and app makers will have DIAL-compatible tools rolling out over "the next several months."