Airplay 2 and HomeKit are coming to TVs from LG, Sony, Samsung (not HomeKit), and Vizio, but only the latter two companies are planning to add support retroactively. Owners are now petitioning LG and Sony to do the same.
A symptom of a larger problem
On average, consumers replace their TV every 6-7 years, according to estimates. For how long are the TV platforms in those “Smart TVs” getting updates? It varies but in many cases the answer to that question is, sadly, not even one year.
So when Apple and partners at CES 2019 announced that Airplay 2 and HomeKit will get implemented in TVs it was disappointing but not surprising to see that support would be limited to the latest and some current TVs. Samsung will update its 2018 models but it should be noted that many of these TVs will continue to be sold for many months into 2019. Only Vizio will update TV models that are no longer sold.
Samsung will bring Airplay 2 to its 2018 and 2019 Tizen-based TVs while Vizio will be bringing it to SmartCast-based TVs from 2016 and later. Sony and LG will reserve the features for its 2019 models. Here is the full list.
Owners petition LG & Sony to follow suit
Since CES 2019, owners have expressed disappointment in the decisions to not update existing TVs. First, a petition calling on LG to bring Airplay 2 and HomeKit support to previous OLED TVs was started. At the time of writing, 4526 people have signed it.
- “We, owners of recent (2016, 2017 & 2018) LG webOS Premium OLED TVs, kindly request LG Electronics Inc. to bring the AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support announced for 2019 OLED TVs to our models as well,” said Doney den Ouden who started the petition.
A little later, a similar petition – same wording used – was started calling on Sony to bring the features to 2016, 2017, and 2018 TVs. At the time of writing, only 31 have signed it.
- “Show customers of your Premium TVs, and indeed the world, that LG [Sony] televisions are also supported with major software updates for multiple years, and thus are a wise investment compared to other brands,” both petitions said.
There is even a petition calling on Samsung to bring the features to 2017 and 2018 “premium OLED TVs”, which is a little more difficult. Samsung does not sell OLED TVs.
Of course, Airplay 2 and HomeKit are already supported in the Apple TV 4K box that receives regular tvOS updates but some people prefer to have such features built-in.
This is certainly not the first time that TV makers have disappointed owners by refusing to update TVs. At CES, FlatpanelsHD was told that Airplay 2 and HomeKit for TVs is a software implementation – no special Apple chip required – so why are these companies willing to test the loyalty of their customers only to sell a few new TVs? We suspect that, increasingly, it will come back to bite them.