In a radical departure from Apple’s customary exclusivity, select 2018 and 2019 Samsung Smart TV models will soon receive an application that provides access to iTunes movies and TV shows, as well as AirPlay 2 compatibility. [Includes news about other brands]
Samsung stated that the iTunes app will be preinstalled on 2019 TVs, while 2018 models will receive a firmware update. People will be able to purchase or rent any title, including 4K HDR options, in more than 100 countries. The application will also incorporate Bixby, Samsung’s proprietary voice assistant.
Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, wrote: “We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, giving iPhone, iPad, and Mac users yet another way to enjoy their favorite content on the largest screen in their homes.”
Until now, Apple has restricted access to iTunes video almost exclusively to its hardware, with Windows PCs being the sole exception.
The company may be making preparations for the launch of its upcoming streaming service, which is expected to debut this year with at least $1 billion in original programming. Assuming the company implements rumored subscription plans, limiting access to Apple devices would likely make it difficult to generate a profit. Apple-owned programming may be accessible for free on the company’s platforms.
Samsung explained that with AirPlay 2, users will be able to push photos and videos to TVs in addition to audio. Third-party AirPlay 2 support has primarily been limited to speakers and receivers to date.
Apple has announced that AirPlay 2 will be “coming soon” to TVs from other manufacturers, enabling Siri commands such as “Play ‘Blade Runner 2049’ in the Living Room.” Samsung plans to introduce support this spring.