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Apple Is Building iTunes Directly Into Newer Samsung Smart TVs

You'll no longer need to buy an Apple TV to buy, rent, and play back your iTunes movies and TV shows if you have a 2018 or 2019 Samsung smart TV.

Posted on January 7, 2019, at 1:58 a.m. ET


If you bought a Samsung smart TV in 2018 or are planning to get one this year, you’ll be able to play back the movies and TV shows you purchased from iTunes directly on the TV.

On Sunday, Samsung announced that it would be partnering with Apple, in many ways a fierce rival, to bring iTunes to its 2018 and 2019 line of smart TVs.

This is a big deal, simply because, so far, you’ve only been able to play back, buy, or rent content through iTunes in two ways:

1. In the iTunes app on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, or Windows computer.

2. Through an Apple TV, which costs at least $149 (or $179 if you want to play back super-sharp 4K video).

Samsung is also adding Apple’s AirPlay 2, Apple’s wireless streaming standard, to its TVs, which means you can stream videos, photos, music, podcasts, and more from your Apple devices directly to your Samsung TV.

So far, Apple has really wanted to you to buy its hardware to play, buy, or rent content from iTunes (or use iTunes on a Windows computer). In contrast, iTunes rivals like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon's Prime Video make their apps available on a variety of products like the Roku, and gaming consoles like the Xbox and PlayStation.

In a press statement, Apple’s senior vice president of internet software and services, Eddy Cue, said, “We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone, iPad and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home.”

Last week, Apple announced that it would not meet its own revenue estimates for the first quarter of 2019, blaming the business slowdown on trade tensions with China, as well as fewer people upgrading their iPhones.

However, it announced that Apple's services business, which includes purchases and rentals through iTunes, as well as its streaming music service, Apple Music, brought in $10.6 billion in revenues in the last quarter of 2018. Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in the announcement that the company seeks to double the services business from what it was in 2016 by 2020.

This helps explain why Apple started allowing Apple Music subscribers to access their music on Amazon's Echo devices last year — and why it is now letting people who own Samsung's smart TVs access iTunes content without buying Apple hardware first.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.