Air power in the living room

It’s too to know whether the early hype around Chromecast will evolve into a real business for Google. But the $35 DIAL-based dongle has already raised the stakes in the evolving battle for air supremacy in the living room.

At the Next TV summit in San Francisco Wednesday, CEO Anthony Wood announced that Roku will be adding DIAL support to its set-top streaming boxes that will provide some Chromecast-like functionality, such as increased second-screen support for Netflix. The next refresh of the Apple TV software, meanwhile, reportedly scheduled for next week, will add an update to Apple’s AirPlay system that will allow users who purchase content from the iTunes store to play that content back through someone else’s Apple TV device. Currently, AirPlay users must download content to their iPad or iPhone and fling it to the Apple TV set-top.

AirPlay is not based on DIAL, which was developed by YouTube and was launched in partnership with Netflix. But the update will bring its functionality more in line with Chromecast.

As I’ve argued here before, connecting the TV to a mobile device-and-content ecosystem will be a crucial technology to staking a meaningful claim to the living room and, ultimately, to TV advertising budgets. ┬áThere are now three leading technology contenders: AirPlay, Microsoft’s SmartGlass, and DIAL, and the competition is heating up.