In an industry first, Samsung Electronics announced today it will offer iTunes Movies and TV Shows as well as Apple AirPlay 2 support on 2019 Samsung Smart TV models from the first half of this year. It will roll out support for 2018 smart TV models through a firmware update later.
The move will give Apple another revenue source for people who purchase movies and TV shows through iTunes, and signals another potential slot for the company to place its long in the works original video content service, which is plans to introduce as early as this year.
The app, which is launching in more than 100 countries, will be available on current-gen Samsung TVs in the first half of 2019.
And if that service is limited to Apple-made hardware, it's not going to get adopted by many, especially since the majority of TV owners in the world probably don't own an Apple TV. The content will be available through a dedicated app which will debut exclusively on Samsung's TVs.
This is not exactly the type of announcement that you would expect the day before CES 2019 but it appears that the relationship between the two rivals is improving. The TVs will also include support for AirPlay 2, Apple's wireless streaming standard. Samsung is calling it an industry first and it is indeed a very big deal. Can we expect iTunes and Airplay 2 to show up in TVs from LG, Sony, TCL, and others?
Update: Apple confirms that Airplay 2 is coming to other "leading TV manufacturers", too, referring to it as "Airplay 2-enabled TVs".
Owners of these televisions will be able to access their existing iTunes movie and TV show library from within this app.
"With services a key part of the Apple flywheel and one of the only silver linings in an otherwise dark period of growth, Cook & Co. need to double down on content and distribution partners going forward", according to Dan Ives, an analyst with Wedbush Securities.