Despite Apple’s heavy investment in its dedicated set-top box, there are now even fewer reasons to buy an Apple TV, as it’ll soon be possible to access the iTunes library from a 2018 or 2019 Samsung TV. Apple’s move is being seen as a precursor to the firm launching its own streaming platform, which is gearing up to challenge the likes of Amazon and Netflix.
Through its launch on Samsung’s 2018 and 2019 smart TVs, Apple will be able to greatly expand the number of people that have access to iTunes. While iTunes has made its way onto third-party devices before, although there are only few examples such as Windows PC, the HTC One and Motorola ROKR, this will mark the first time it has made its way to a third-party TV manufacturer. What’s even more surprising, is that the first TV manufacturer to support iTunes is Apple’s arch-nemesis, Samsung.
While it may seem surprising to see Samsung and Apple teaming up, there is logic behind the madness. If Apple has any hope of challenging Netflix or Amazon Video, it knows it has to be ubiquitous on a variety of platforms. Samsung is currently the world’s largest TV manufacturer, and that gives iTunes a much bigger platform than the likes of the Apple TV, with an estimated 47.9 million TVs sold by Samsung each year.
iTunes On Samsung TVs
Samsung is rather committed to its agreement with Apple, as not only will it be bringing iTunes Movies and TV Shows to its 2019 slate of TVs, but it’ll also be rolling it out to 2018 TVs through a firmware update. It’s not known which TVs will get it first, but Samsung has confirmed that its 2019 TVs will begin shipping in the spring.
With the new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app on Samsung Smart TVs, Samsung customers can access their existing iTunes library and browse the iTunes Store to buy or rent from a selection of hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes — including the largest selection of 4K HDR movies. iTunes Movies and TV Shows will work with Samsung’s Smart TV services, such as Universal Guide, the New Bixby and Search.
Apple has been a keen supporter of the Dolby Vision HDR format, something that Samsung doesn’t offer on any of its sets. Instead, Samsung created the HDR10+ format to be a licence-free metadata-based HDR format, although it’s unclear whether Apple has any plans to add support to HDR10+ to its library of films on the iTunes store. Obviously, that would make the tie-up with Samsung make more sense, but we’ll have to wait and see.
You may also notice that iTunes on Samsung’s TVs won’t offer quite the full library of content that is available on a Mac, Windows PC or iOS device. That’s because the original thing that made iTunes so popular is missing – the ability to access millions of songs. It’s not clear why Apple left out support for music on the iTunes app on Samsung’s smart TVs, although it may be to push people towards its vast movie and TV show library, while also serving as a place to access the company’s future streaming service.
AirPlay 2 Offers A Chromecast Alternative On Samsung TVs
In addition to the new iTunes app, Samsung TVs will also be amongst the first to support AirPlay 2, Apple’s technology for casting content to a third-party device from an iPhone or Mac. While Samsung has long supported Google’s Chromecast technology, this will be the first time users will be able to beam content straight from their iPhone to their Samsung TV using the AirPlay protocol.
Support for AirPlay 2 will be available to both 2018 and 2019 Samsung TVs in over 190 countries.