Google announced that its new connected TV device dongle, Chromecast with Google TV, will start supporting the Apple TV app starting “early next year.”
Google also said that Apple TV support would expand to the Android TV platform devices “in the future.” It’s unclear as to whether Apple TV compatibility will eventually extend to Android-powered mobile devices.
Notably, Apple TV app content will be integrated into Google TV, the UX with personalization features that sits atop Android TV, surfacing algorithmically selected shows and movies from the services the viewer uses.
“With Google TV, you’ll be able to see Apple originals in your personalized recommendations and search results, making it even easier to find your favorite shows and movies. And, you’ll be able to save them to your watchlist to catch up on later,” said Jonathan Zepp, head of media and entertainment for Android and Google Play, in a statement.
The Apple TV app houses Apple’s 13-month-old subscription streaming service, Apple TV Plus, as well as Apple TV Channels, the subscription re-selling service that disaggregates services like CBS All Access and Showtime. The app also provides access to sales and rentals of movies and shows through the iTunes store.
The fact that Google would integrate the latter service, which has transactional components that directly compete with the Google Play Store, speaks to the “thaw” that’s occurred of late between the two FAANG companies.
But it might speak more to Google’s newfound will to compete for the global connected TV device market, currently controlled by Roku and Amazon.
As these incumbents increasingly find their neutrality challenged by interest in ad sales and “channels” disaggregation of third-party apps, they’re increasingly involved in “carriage disputes” with streaming service providers. The HBO Max app is notably still unavailable on Roku, for example, and Amazon Fire TV still doesn’t support NBCUniversal’s Peacock.
Roku, meanwhile, just disabled the ability of its users to download cable operator Charter Communications' Spectrum TV app.
Google, however, seems intent on keeping friction low for Android TV, which supports every major streaming app at this point.
And it's going beyond mere support with Google TV. Google, for example, has already announced 25 direct integrations of third-party streaming apps into Google TV, the latest being Peacock.
This allows Chromecast with Google TV users to see one interface that includes content from every service they use when they fire up their TV.
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