Matter is a new connectivity standard, with support from Amazon, Apple, Google, and others, to make smart home interoperability possible across devices from different manufacturers. One aspect of Matter is a TV and streaming standard that has the potential to replace proprietary casting protocols, like Apple’s AirPlay and Google’s Cast, so that any streaming device can receive playback instructions from any other device, regardless of who makes it. Amazon, without a popular casting standard of its own, has the most to gain from the widespread adoption of Matter’s TV capabilities and is leading the effort behind the new standard.
Chris DeCenzo, Principal Software Development Engineer at Amazon, told The Verge that Amazon is working with streaming industry leaders, including both device manufacturers and content providers, to help them adopt Matter. In an ideal world, an Apple iPhone should be able to cast content playback to an Amazon Fire TV and that content should be controllable by voice through a Google Assistant smart speaker, or any combination of devices from those tech manufacturers. Matter’s specification of one protocol for all device communication can make that a reality.
Amazon is expected to integrate Matter into its Fire TVs and Echo smart speakers next year when the standard is set to officially launch. TV manufacturers like LG, Samsung, TCL, and Panasonic are expected to do the same for their smart TVs, as they are all part of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) that is creating Matter, along with Amazon, Apple, and Google. That should provide widespread coverage for Matter receiving devices, but that leaves Matter senders, like streaming app makers, to also get behind the new standard. Amazon’s Prime Video and Google’s YouTube are expected to be ready with support for Matter at launch, but support from other streaming services is foggy.
While Google and Apple are on board with Matter and have approved the TV aspects of Matter, neither of them, nor any other company, is obligated to adopt all Matter protocols as a whole. This means Apple and Google can play nice with the smart speaker and smart home aspects of Matter, while completely ignoring the TV and streaming aspects. Considering both Google and Apple have put so much effort into keeping and controlling their own proprietary casting protocols, Google Cast and Apple AirPlay, it’s unlikely they’ll adopt Matter casting out of the gate, like Amazon is expected to. We can only hope that Matter lives up to its hype and that support for it grows to the point that Google and Apple will be left on the sidelines if they don’t play along.