iHeartRadio Turns Your TV Into A Holiday Music Photo Frame

iHeartRadio has a suggestion for Vizio Smart TV, Samsung Smart TV, and Comcast X1 owners this holiday season. Instead of putting your TV on the fireplace channel, which may not have a very inspiring music soundtrack, you can launch the iHeartRadio app and pull up one of the streaming music company’s “visual playlists”.

I was listening to the radio

The new feature combines curated music playlists with vacation photo images for an ongoing festive slideshow of music. Vacation buildups like iHeartChristmas and iHeartChristmas Classics are the most obvious choices for those looking to get in the vacation mood, but they’re not the only options. If you’d rather see pictures with fewer pieces of music by Burl Ives and Mariah Carey, you can also choose between Top 40, Country, Kids & Family, 80s, Classic Rock and other channels.

To find these experiences, open the iHeartRadio app on your Comcast X1, Vizio, or Samsung smart TV and select the Visual Playlists category. When you find one you really like, you can save it to your library and watch / listen to it again anytime.

The images in the Christmas playlists contain pretty typical scenes like roaring fireplaces with stockings hanging from a mantelpiece, but there are also fun variations on the idea, like a pickup truck with a freshly cut tree in the bunk. Each image is displayed on the screen for about 12 seconds before moving on to the next. Therefore, televisions that tend to image retention should also be fine.

The visual playlist feature is a clever way for iHeartRadio to fend off the big streaming giants like Apple Music and Spotify during the holiday season. These streaming services also have smart TV apps, but they don’t (yet) combine music and slideshow-like graphics into a single experience. An Apple TV 4K defaults to using the devices’ built-in antenna screen savers when no action has been taken in a music app, but it’s not quite the same.

Using a visual playlist on your TV might not be quite as warm and cozy as a blazing fire, but it’s a lot easier and a much cheaper way to add a high-tech feel to your holiday parties than ours for a smart Christmas tree splash.

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