Starting May 13, all 2019 Samsung TVs, and a select group of its 2018 models, will be updated with support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 content casting and screen mirroring technology, plus access to the Apple TV app, including iTunes rentals and purchases, and Apple’s upcoming Apple TV Plus streaming video subscription service.
The update makes Samsung TVs the first non-Apple TV devices to support these key Apple services and technologies. It’s a partnership that has been on the horizon since the news was announced ahead of CES 2019.
The Apple TV app will work in more than 100 countries, according to Samsung, while AirPlay 2 support will be available in 176 countries. Samsung’s smart TV services, such as Universal Guide, Bixby, and Search, will all be interoperable with the Apple TV app, which should make for a seamless experience when using these Samsung features.
Apple TV 4K boxes start at $180 and top out at $200, making them a fairly pricey add-on for those who want access to Apple’s content, as well as AirPlay 2. But with iTunes, the Apple TV app, and AirPlay 2 built into Samsung’s TVs, Apple fans who own select 2018 or newer Samsung smart TVs can now skip the additional box and cables needed to connect an Apple TV and stream directly from the TV.
Another advantage to using built-in Apple apps rather than a separate streaming box is that Samsung has control over its own hardware, allowing it to make 4K HDR streaming a more seamless experience while optimizing picture quality, all without any interference from Apple’s hardware.
One of our chief complaints about the Apple TV 4K box when it first arrived was that it would force HDR to be delivered to TVs by default, whether the TV was HDR-capable or not. Though Apple has since remedied that issue, there is still an advantage to Samsung having control over how iTunes movies and TV shows are displayed. Samsung’s processing can determine how to handle low-light shading and peak brightness levels for an HDR experience it has worked very hard to develop.
In addition to iTunes access, Samsung smart TVs now support AirPlay 2, allowing iPhone and iPad owners to stream any content they want — videos, podcasts, music, and photos — directly to the TV without any cable connection.
This development is of considerable note considering everything that lives within Apple’s walled garden is closely guarded. The fact that Samsung has managed to broker such a deal with a company it considers an arch rival (iPhone versus Galaxy phones, anyone?) serves to prove that both companies see the partnership as mutually beneficial. We know that Samsung isn’t the only manufacturer to offer the Apple TV app and AirPlay 2 in its smart TVs — in fact, here’s the complete list — but being first is still a big win for Samsung TV owners.
Updated on May 13, 2019: Added information about the launch of Apple services and technologies on Samsung TVs.
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