Television sets made and shipped by Chinese brand TCL could become one of the first non-Samsung models to get access to the free, ad-supported streaming service Samsung TV Plus, according to a report published last week.
In a newsletter, former Protocol reporter Janko Roettgers cited an unnamed source who reportedly told him that Samsung and TCL have held discussions about putting the free streaming service on Samsung TVs in the future.
Roettgers said the move “seemed unthinkable not too long ago,” though The Desk reported exclusively in 2021 that executives at Samsung were weighing the possibility of making Samsung TV Plus available on third-party electronics.
Late last year, Samsung said it would start licensing its Tizen operating system to third-party manufacturers, a move that would include built-in access to Samsung TV Plus. Responding to a social media comment, Roettgers clarified his report went beyond that licensing announcement, in that it could make Samsung TV Plus an app that sits on top of TCL’s own operating system.
Samsung and TCL executives aren’t confirming last week’s report, and there are still questions about how Samsung TV Plus would exist on TCL’s operating system without the inclusion of Tizen. With the exception of a web-based service, Samsung TV Plus is exclusive to the company’s Tizen-powered TV sets and Android-powered phones and tablets. Some TCL TVs are powered by Android TV (Google TV), though the majority of TCL TVs sold in the domestic market are powered by Roku’s operating system.
The apparent discussions come as consumers have been quick to embrace free, ad-supported streaming services like Samsung TV Plus as part of their overall streaming experience, with the app supplementing subscription-based services like Netflix, Disey Plus, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.
The business of free, ad-supported television is booming as well, with companies like Fox Corporation, Roku and Vizio all reporting customer and revenue growth attributed to those services over the last few years.