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Samsung and Apple are making nice -- at least when it comes to video.
Samsung's [cnet.com] on Sunday said its 2019 line of smart TVs [cnet.com] will offer support for iTunes [cnet.com] movie and TV shows beginning this spring. The launch could coincide with the expected unveiling of Apple's long-rumored video streaming service [cnet.com], which is expected to make an appearance early this year.
The iTunes support will allow Samsung TV owners in more than 100 countries to access their iTunes library or buy and rent iTunes video content through their TVs. The support marks the first time iTunes movies and TV shows are being made available on a streaming video device that isn't made by Apple or isn't a PC.
The capability will also be made available to 2018 models through a firmware update, Samsung said.
Now playing: Watch this: What to expect from Apple in 2019 7:35
Samsung TVs will also support AirPlay 2 [cnet.com], Apple's [cnet.com] upgraded Wi-Fi audio streaming technology, allowing customers to stream videos, music and other content directly to their TV from an Apple device. Samsung said AirPlay 2 support will be available in 190 countries.
"We look forward to bringing the iTunes and AirPlay 2 experience to even more customers around the world through Samsung Smart TVs, so iPhone [cnet.com], iPad [cnet.com] and Mac users have yet another way to enjoy all their favorite content on the biggest screen in their home," Eddy Cue, Apple's chief of internet services and software, said in a statement.
Samsung made the announcement ahead of the start of CES in Las Vegas. The company uses the massive electronics show as its venue for unveiling new TVs, appliances and other devices. It will host an event Sunday to show off TVs, as well as a press conference Monday to talk up its strategy for the next year [cnet.com].
As for Apple, the move to expand iTunes beyond its own Apple TV demonstrates its heightened emphasis on software and services. The company has long used its services as a way to sell more of its devices, but as smartphone sales slow [cnet.com], it's pushing things like Apple Music and iTunes even more. It's expected to introduce several revamped and new services in 2019.
Over the past year, Apple has deployed a $1 billion budget [cnet.com] to develop content from high-profile film and television stars, including Oprah Winfrey [metacritic.com], Reese Witherspoon [metacritic.com], M. Night Shyamalan [metacritic.com] and Steven Spielberg [metacritic.com]. The company has hired two top executives from Sony Pictures Television [cnet.com] to lead the effort. Apple's also hinted that there's something big in store [cnet.com]. It may be a streaming video service that would rival Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime, or some other model, like a big package of services that includes Apple Music.
For that service and others to really take off, Apple will have to make them work with products from other companies. Even for many diehard Apple fans, it's still a mix-and-match world -- with many buying TVs [cnet.com] from Samsung or LG, computers from Lenovo or Dell, and smart speakers from Amazon [cnet.com] or Google [cnet.com].
Samsung is the world's largest TV vendor, so working with the company -- despite past patent litigation related to smartphones -- makes sense for Apple, especially as it gears up to introduce its own video streaming service.
"It makes total sense," Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi said. "Samsung has the biggest share in TV across the people Apple would want to subscribe to their upcoming service."
And for Samsung, "there is no real downside in allowing this," she added.
Originally published at 10:23 a.m. PT
Update at 11:20 p.m. PT: Adds background and analyst comment.
CES 2019 [cnet.com]: See all of CNET's coverage of the year's biggest tech show.
CES schedule [cnet.com]: It's six days of jam-packed events. Here's what to expect.
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- • All the cool new gadgets at CES 2019 [cnet.com]
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