Samsung greatly expanded its Free TV offer to smart TV owners from 2016 onwards. The South Korean company has partnered with Rakuten TV to bring 166 new channels to Samsung TV Plus.
For those who don’t know, Samsung TV Plus is a free ad-supported video streaming service integrated into Samsung Smart TVs. While Samsung has a very strong set of streaming apps, including Apple TV, Disney +, Netflix and more, supported on their TVs, most of these apps require a paid subscription every month. If you’ve just emptied your wallet on a 4K TV or a shiny new QLED TV, that might not be very tempting.
The ability to watch free movies and box sets is a great feature of Samsung TVs. With the latest deal with Rakuten TV closed, TV owners are about to open dozens of more channels. During April and May, 166 new channels will be launched in 16 markets in Europe, including the UK, through Samsung’s TV Plus service.
There are actually a number of Rakuten TV channels available in the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Austria, and Switzerland. So while viewers in the UK will not see as many newcomers as those in Sweden and the Netherlands, who have never enjoyed any of these channels and got a full 166 channels.
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As part of the new barrage of channels, Rakuten is launching its own genres, from Rakuten Action, Rakuten Comedy, Drama, Spotlight, Rakuten Documentaries and Family. There is also Rakuten Movies and Rakuten Stories – a channel designed to bring in original and exclusive Rakuten TV content.
Other international channels, such as Africanews, Bloomberg TV, Bloomberg Quicktake and Euronews, are also included in the Samsung TV Plus service.
If you want to spend some extra cash, Rakuten TV will of course be happy to keep up with that. The company, which is headquartered in Japan, allows Samsung Smart TV owners to rent some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters, independent movies, and more. Rakuten also provides access to Starzplay, which does not have its own streaming app, but is available on Rakuten, Apple TV, and Prime Video.
According to the official announcement, from 2016, you will need a Samsung Smart TV to access Samsung TV Plus and the new ad-supported channels. You must also live in the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Italy, Austria or Switzerland.
The drop in new content for Samsung TV Plus is part of a wider free-to-play campaign for ad-supported channels in response to £ 10 per month live streaming options like Netflix and Disney +. Roku is known for its easy-to-use set-top boxes, and it has acquired the rights to a number of exclusive ads for the Roku Supported Channel, which are available on its own hardware (obviously) in addition to the NOW and Sky Q boxes.
Meanwhile, Plex – originally designed for viewers to bring their home media to the big screen – now also has an ad-supported streaming service, showing movies from major Hollywood studios thanks to a recent deal. Samsung is the most famous TV manufacturer in the world so it is very well positioned to compete with these competitors.
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