Currently, if you want watch movies or TV shows through iTunes on your TV, you also need an Apple TV. But with a new video streaming service in the offing, Apple has finally decided to knock a few bricks out of its walled garden to extend its reach. Samsung has announced that alongside AirPlay 2 support, an iTunes Movies and TV Shows app will debut on its 2019 Smart TVs to be revealed at CES, while 2018 models will gain these capabilities through a firmware update.
Apple has long been highly protective of its ecosystem, which is a double-edged sword for consumers – it helps ensure things work smoothly across Apple devices, but locks them into Apple's services and devices. Perhaps recognizing that viewers have a plethora of options when it comes to accessing movies and TV shows and that it needs to provide access to its content services beyond its own hardware if it wants to compete, Apple has opened the doors to Samsung's latest Smart TVs.
Samsung says the new iTunes app will be available on TVs in more than 100 countries, while AirPlay 2 support, which will allow users to play media from Apple devices directly on their TV, will be available in 190 countries. The iTunes app will give users access to their existing library and, more importantly for Apple, allow them to browse and rent or purchase movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store. The app will also be compatible with Samsung's Smart TV platform, working with Samsung's Universal Guide, Bixby and Search features.
"We pride ourselves on working with top industry leaders to deliver the widest range of content services to our Smart TV platform," says Won-Jin Lee, Executive Vice President, Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. "Bringing more content, value and open platform functionality to Samsung TV owners and Apple customers through iTunes and AirPlay is ideal for everyone."
Coming in the wake of Apple bringing Apple Music to Amazon's Echo speakers, Samsung Smart TVs may be the first to get an iTunes app and AirPlay 2 support, but they're unlikely to be the last. Samsung's new iTunes- and AirPlay-2 compatible TVs will be available in (Northern Hemisphere) spring, while the timing of the firmware update for 2018 TVs is yet to be announced.
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