As if Apple didn’t have enough to worry about from the competition, Google’s YouTube and Netflix are said to be working on an AirPlay killer. The new protocol, code-named DIAL, will help developers of second-screen apps to discover and launch applications on smart TVs and connected devices, according to Gigaom.

DIAL, which is said to be an open alternative to AirPlay, is backed by Samsung, Sony, Hulu, and the BBC. As such, it could begin showing up on devices later this year.

Unlike AirPlay’s use on an Apple TV, DIAL can launch apps that are missing on your smart device. Better still, DIAL will be able to launch Web apps on your television, if the device supports it. The protocol is using UPnp multicast for the discovery piece of the puzzle, and a REST-service to launch apps.

Currently, some components of DIAL are already showing up on current-generation Google TV devices. Giagom has also confirmed that some late 2012 Samsung and LG TVs also support the protocol.

According to Scott Mirer, director of product management at Netflix, “expect to start seeing (other DIAL-enabled devices) in the next several months.”

In its present form, AirPlay offers users wireless streaming of audio, video, and photos across multiple devices. Although Apple does license the AirPlay protocol to third-parties, the technology is largely contained to Apple devices only. This limitation, and the potential a more open DIAL represents, could prove interesting in the coming months. This is especially true given the names said to be behind it.

For Apple, DIAL’s entry into the marketplace could have an affect on the timing of the company’s so-called iTV and/or next generation Apple TV set-top box.

Source: Gigaom