An unexpected news came Sunday from Samsung Electronics ahead of CES 2019 as the South Korean conglomerate announced that its Smart TV sets will soon pick up support for Apple’s AirPlay 2 media streaming technology, as well as a new iTunes Movies and TV Shows app.

Support for the iTunes Movies and TV Shows app and AirPlay 2 will be included out of the box in 2019 Samsung Smart TV models released beginning this spring. Support on 2018 models will be made available via a firmware update.

AirPlay 2 support will be available on Samsung Smart TVs in 190 countries worldwide while the iTunes Movies and TV Shows app will debut only on Samsung Smart TVs in 100+ countries.

“Bringing more content, value and open platform functionality to Samsung TV owners and Apple customers through iTunes and AirPlay is ideal for everyone,” said the Galaxy maker.

With AirPlay 2, users will be able to wirelessly stream audio or video from their iPhone, iPad or Mac to their Samsung-branded Smart TV set, without needing an Apple TV for that.

Additionally, AirPlay 2 will also bring support for multi-room audio to Samsung’s Smart TVs.

Another aspect of the Apple TV experience—the iTunes Movie and TV Shows apps—will permit Samsung customers to rent and stream Hollywood entertainment in 4K HDR through iTunes, as well as access their existing iTunes library, all from their Smart TV.

“iTunes Movies and TV Shows will work seamlessly with Samsung’s Smart TV Services, such as Universal Guide, the New Bixby and Search, to create a consistent experience across Samsung’s platform,” noted the South Korean company.

In tvOS, these are separate apps so it’s interesting that they’re been merged into a single app on Smart TVs. Maybe a future update will do exactly the same for Apple TV owners?

Eddy Cue, Apple’s content chief, was quoted as saying:

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.

This is for sure a peculiar but not totally unexpected development.

iPhone sales have peaked in 2015 so Tim Cook & Co. have been relentlessly talking about services, services, services, services. The company’s increasing focus on the Services segment, which among other things includes iTunes and App Stores, has obviously softened its stance so now it feels comfortable offering media services on non-Apple platforms.

That’s how we have gotten to the point where rival Samsung is announcing an unlikely partnership with its frenemy Apple. This’ll benefit consumers of all stripes, regardless of where their allegiance lies. One can only hope this is New Apple and we’ll be seeing more of it.

Vizio also announced support for AirPlay 2 (no iTunes video streaming, however). Additionally, Apple has indicated in a refreshed support document on its website that other leading manufacturers will integrate support for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit in their Smart TV sets.

Were you taken aback by this announcement?

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