It probably hasn’t been since the announcement of the iPhone in 2007 that CES has been as abuzz with Apple news as it is this year. And no, we’re not talking about the big Apple billboard that’s received so much attention here. Two announcements—one from Apple and one from Samsung—have stolen some attention from television manufacturers’ otherwise largely incremental product updates. Sure, sure, everyone’s showing 8K, but nothing that consumers are going to be buying a anhytime soon. What are you doing for TV now?
Apple announced earlier this week that Samsung and other manufacturers will support AirPlay 2 on their TVs. We now know that those other manufacturers are LG, Sony, and Vizio. Samsung will include the feature in its 2019 TVs and provide an update that adds it to existing 2018 models. LG and Sony will include it in their 2019 models, and Vizio will offer the most broad backward compatibility, with support on some models back to 2016!
AirPlay 2 will allow consumers with Apple devices to easily “cast” content—both audio and video—to their TVs. It should also allow you to use external speakers, like a HomePod or a newer Sonos device, to listen to the sound for that content through remote speakers around the home.
Sony, LG, and Vizio will also support HomeKit, though it’s unclear exactly what that will mean. It may just be for voice control through Siri, or it could entail additional functionality that Apple has yet to reveal.
Additionally, Samsung announced at its CES press conference that its 2018 and 2019 smart televisions will sport a new iTunes Movies and TVs app. Many outlets are reporting that “Samsung TVs will have iTunes.” No. That’s not what this is. This is better…simpler.
When you see it lined up with all of the other streaming services, it makes sense. You’ll be able to access the iTunes marketplace to play movies and TV shows. This includes purchases you’ve made from iTunes. So if you’ve been buying or redeeming movies or shows through Apple, now you have another way of watching them on your biggest screen without needing an Apple TV device.
Why does this matter? We know that Apple is planning some original content that will be exclusive to its own services. This will help Apple extend the reach of its new shows.
Keep an eye on all of our CES 2019 coverage right here.