Vizio TVs have been around for a while, and throughout all that time, they have undergone various improvements as any other brand would. Particularly Vizio TVs have changed operating platforms to fit the growing market needs and ensure users have the best experience. At one point, Vizio even allowed people to download apps on their TVs when the TVs were using the VIA+ platform.
You might wonder if you can still download apps on your VIZIO TV, especially if the remote does not have a V button. Read on to find out more.
Older VIZIO TVs allowed users to download and install apps, but only a limited number of apps were available in VIZIO’s app store.
The latest SmartCast VIZIO TVs do not allow their users to download or even update the apps. All the apps are immediately available, and you can’t add new ones. Only VIZIO can add new apps.
If you want to use apps that are not available on your VIZIO TV, you could try casting or mirroring your phone/tablet/laptop via AirPlay or Chromecast. Also, you can connect your external device to the TV via an HDMI cable. Finally, you can buy an additional streaming device and install the apps onto this device.
Vizio Platforms Over the Years
To understand the intricacies that govern whether you can download an app on a Vizio TV, you first have to understand the platform developments through the years. That is because Vizio smart TVs did not always use the Smartcast platform; they used different platforms before settling on Smartcast.
The previous platforms used by Vizio include:
Vizio Internet Apps (VIA)
Vizio TVs released from 2009 to 2013 used the Vizio Internet Apps platform. This platform used the Yahoo store to source the Apps, allowing one to download and delete select apps from the app store.
The developer maintained the apps; however, the platform has been deprecated and does not receive updates from Vizio anymore.
Vizio Internet Apps Plus (VIA+)
After the VIA platform, Vizio shifted to the VIA+ platform (still Yahoo based), which was an improvement of VIA. Vizio used the platform between 2013 and 2017, and like the VIA platform, it allowed users to download and delete apps at will. However, users could only download apps available on the connected store.
VIZIO VIA+ Apps
SmartCast Without Apps
Also, between 2016 and 2017, VIZIO released a SmartCast without Apps platform on some of their TVs. This platform did not come with any apps and did not allow users to download or sideload apps on the TV. The TV was essentially made to work as a display device; therefore, it did not even have a signal tuner meaning you could not watch local channels.
To use the TV, you must connect it to external devices or cast content from your phone.
SmartCast with Apps
Finally, Vizio settled on their server-based platform SmartCast with apps, now simply known as SmartCast. The platform is available on all Vizio TVs produced since 2018 and 4K Ultra High-Definition panels produced between 2016 and 2017.
The platform comes with pre-installed apps and does not allow users to download additional apps. However, Vizio occasionally adds new apps and features to the platform.
Why the V Button?
The letter V has been VIZIO’s go-to label for the home button for most of their TVs. On older models like TVs using the VIA or VIA+ platforms, you would press the V button twice (also called the VIA button) to get to the platform’s home screen that displayed all the apps available on the TV.
And if you wished to download more apps that were on the connected app store on the VIA+, you would follow the steps below:
- Press the VIA button twice to go to the platform’s home screen.
- The TV will display currently installed apps under the My Apps tab.
- Scroll through the other tabs, i.e., Featured, All Apps, Latest, and Categories, to find listed apps you can download.
- Once you see an app you want, highlight it and press OK, and the TV will notify you that the app has been added to the My apps list when the installation is complete.
For VIA platform TVs, you have to press the V button, navigate to Connected TV Store and select any of the following tabs Featured, All Apps, Category, or Latest. Once you see the app you want, highlight it and click OK, then select Install App.
However, note that some apps like Netflix and YouTube have stopped offering support for their apps on older TVs since the TVs cannot meet the current hardware requirements to run the apps efficiently.
Unlike the older Vizio TV remotes, the newer ones do not have a V button. Instead, they have a Smartcast Home button labeled with a house icon.
TVs with this icon use the Smartcast platform, which explains why it can be hard to download apps on the TV.
Some Smartcast TV remotes still use the V button to reach the Smarcast home screen.
Can You Download Apps on a Vizio TV Without the V Button?
The V button does not determine whether you can download an app on the TV or not; instead, it depends on the platform the Vizio TV uses. However, if a Vizio TV remote does not have a V button, that is a likely indicator that the TV uses the Smartcast platform.
Thus, if a TV uses the Smartcast platform, you cannot download additional apps apart from those pre-installed on the TV, but there are other alternatives.
What Options Are Left?
You can still view your favorite streaming apps through the TV without downloading them. Vizio TV has connectivity features that help users mirror the phone screen to the TV. Therefore, if you wish to use an app on the TV and find it is not available on the Smartcast platform, you can download it on your phone, tablet, iPad, or laptop and mirror the screen to the TV.
The sections below describe how you can do this.
Using Apple Airplay 2
Airplay is Apple’s connectivity feature that allows Apple products to form peer-to-peer connectivity. The feature can also mirror your iPhone, iPad, or Mac screen to the SmartCast TV.
To use Airplay, you must first ensure it is activated on the TV. You can do this by pressing the Smartcast Home button and then observing whether you can see the Airplay icon on the top right of the screen next to the cast icon.
If you cannot see the Airplay icon, that means Airplay is deactivated, and you can activate it through the steps below;
- Press the Smartcast Home button on the remote, then use the left/right navigation buttons to scroll to Extras and click OK.
- Select the Apple Airplay option, then highlight On and press OK.
Enabling AirPlay on a VIZIO TV
- Next, ensure your iPhone is on the same Wi-Fi network as the TV.
- Go to the Control Center on your iPhone, tap Screen Mirroring, and select your TV.
- The TV will display a code, enter it on the phone when prompted, and you should see your phone screen on the TV.
To mirror your screen from a Mac, click on the control center icon > Screen Mirroring, and select the Vizio TV.
Using AirPlay on a VIZIO TV
Alternatively, you can buy a USB-C to HDMI (Check On Amazon) adapter and connect the Android device to the TV using a wired connection. Simply insert the USB-C end of the adapter into your phone and use an HDMI cable to connect the adapter to the TV.
Anker USB-C to HDMI Adapter
Once the devices are connected, put the TV in the correct HDMI input source, and you should see the phone screen on the TV.
iPhone users can also get the Lightning Digital AV Adapter that works the same for iOS devices as a USB-C to HDMI adapter for android.
Lightning Digital AV Adapter
USB-C Digital AV Adapter
Use a Streaming Device
You could also purchase a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV and download available apps. Such streaming devices allow access to a select number of apps you can download and enjoy on your Vizio TV. The devices also have an added advantage, as you can connect your TV to your phone.
|Best Streaming Devices to Try|
Roku Express 4K+
Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen
Unfortunately, there is no way to download apps on Vizio TVs without the V button. That is because Vizio only allowed downloading apps on the VIA and VIA+ platforms they no longer use. However, Smartcast users can still enjoy apps that are not on the platform by downloading them on their devices and mirroring those devices to the TV.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: How do you add apps that are not listed to Vizio TV?
Answer: Unfortunately, you cannot add apps not listed on the TV platform. This also goes for older TVs that still use the VIA and VIA+ platforms.
However, you can download said apps and mirror the phone to the TV.
Question: Does Vizio TV have apps?
Answer: Vizio SmartCast TVs have pre-installed apps regardless of the platform the TV uses. However, some Vizio TVs produced between 2016 and 2017 might not have apps if they use the Vizio SmartCast platform without apps.
Question: How do I update apps on my Vizio TV?
Answer: You can update apps on your Vizio Smartcast TV by updating the TV’s firmware. To update the firmware, press the Menu key and navigate to Admin & Privacy > Check for Updates.
However, Vizio TVs automatically download and install updates, so you only need to manually check for updates if the TV malfunctions.