It's official: Samsung's 2019 smart TV range will provide inbuilt access to iTunes movies and TV shows as well as Apple AirPlay 2 support. This means there's no longer any need for an Apple TV peripheral. Hurrah!
For the first time ever, iTunes fans will be able to access movies and shows directly through their TV using a new "open platform" app. The only catch is that you'll need to fork out for a Samsung model (for now).
The app, which is launching in more than 100 countries, will be available on new Samsung TVs in the first half of 2019. Last year's TV models will also be granted access via a firmware update.
The app will allow users to access hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodes, including 4K HDR content - either by using their existing iTunes library or by purchasing new content through the app. The inclusion of AirPlay 2 support means you'll be able to beam content to your TV directly from Apple devices too.
Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services said that the move will provide existing iPhone, iPad and Mac users with a new way to access content on the biggest screen in their home. But you'll also be able to use the app even if you own no Apple devices.
“We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TV," Cue said.
If you're an iTunes user on the lookout for a new TV, this is an exciting proposition - especially if you have lots of gizmos hooked up to your television. No Apple TV means one extra HDMI port for your PVR, Blu-ray player and/or video game console.
The timing of Apple's new iTunes app coincides with the impending launch of a new Netflix-style streaming service that has reportedly cost the company over $1 billion to develop. We're sure this is no coincidence - if Apple doesn't provide access to this service on third-party TVs soon, we'll eat our hats.
There's no word on whether Apple will be partnering with other TV manufacturers. LG is rumoured to be announcing AirPlay 2 support at CES this week - but the iTunes app appears to be a Samsung exclusive for the time being.
With any luck, we'll be seeing a bunch of smart TVs with inbuilt iTunes apps in the near future.
There has long been rumour of Apple starting its own video subscription service to challenge Netflix. Until recently, it had been lumped in the same speculative basket as Apple HDTVs and Apple self-driving cars.
Now, a report from CNBC has cast a spotlight on the rollout plan - which will apparently include HBO content and free original programming beamed directly to iOS devices.