Until now, using Apple's services on your TV has meant... well, buying an Apple TV. No more: Samsung has revealed that its 2019 smart TVs (plus updated 2018 sets) will offer both iTunes Movies and TV shows as well as AirPlay 2 casting. Yes, you can buy or rent videos from iTunes and watch them in 4K HDR glory without buying extra Apple hardware or otherwise bending over backward. The iTunes app will even play nicely with Samsung's ecosystem, too, supporting the Universal Guide, search features and the latest version of Bixby.
AirPlay 2 support, meanwhile, is more straightforward -- you can play audio, photos and videos on sets as if they were just another AirPlay target.
The feature will be available beginning this spring on the 2019 sets. Samsung didn't say when the firmware update for previous-year sets would arrive. Both features will be widely available, though. iTunes will be available on TVs in over 100 countries, while AirPlay 2 will be available in 190 countries. Samsung said the features will "debut only" on its sets, but they're not necessarily exclusive. Apple's AirPlay page now hints that "leading TV manufacturers" are already planning AirPlay 2 support.
It's a huge move for Apple, which has long insisted on tight control of its living room experience. It only just started to branch out by offering Apple Music through Alexa devices. It's not as surprising a play as you might think at first, though. Apple is increasingly turning to services for revenue as its hardware sales cool off, and making iTunes available on one of the most popular smart TV brands could boost its bottom line. And remember, this is coming the same year as Apple is poised to launch a new streaming video service with original content. If it's going to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon, it needs to be available in many of the same places as its rivals.