Netflix and YouTube have designed a new system for turning that second screen you're poking at in front of the TV into a remote control for your TV, set-top-box, etc. The protocol is called DIAL.

GigaOm reports that DIAL ("Discover and Launch") has been in the works for sometime and that it's been quietly debuted over the last few months. The new protocol isn't exactly AirPlay—In fact, it lacks a few of the core AirPlay features like the ability to beam the image on your second screen to the big screen. Instead, DIAL will let you launch an app on your TV, and, in the event that you don't have the selected app, DIAL will send you to the store where you can buy it.

Details are vague about what you might use this for, but an interactive remote for your Netflix and YouTube seems like a pretty obvious application. According to the report, current generation Google TVs already have some DIAL functionality built-in, as do Samsung and LG connected televisions. More devices will be on the way soon. [GigaOm]