For those of us who do not have a Samsung TV or mobile device like yours, the offerings from the company’s TV Plus streaming service have been a mystery – until now. It turns out that Samsung launched a web version of its free, ad-supported TV Plus a few months ago, but just did not tell many people about it.
According to a new report in Protocol, it seems that the web service for TV Plus has started softly in May. In addition to making TV Plus available to almost everyone, Samsung also updated its mobile app with the ability to project its streaming service to Google Chromecast devices in July. Given the isolated nature of TV Plus so far, these features represent the company’s major, though fearful, steps into the free streaming wars.
A spokesman for Samsung told the outlet that TV Plus was actually launched in Q2, but did not specify a date.
Samsung TV Plus offers free live TV and linear programming, which is what traditionally scheduled television is called. The company explains on its website that the service does not require a subscription, introduce new fees or ask for a credit card. It’s not exactly new either. Samsung launched the service, similar to what one would expect from cable TV, in 2016. This gives users access to TV networks and TV Plus offers, Protocol noted.
Users in the United States can access about 170 channels from various genres, from news and game shows to, among other things, games and reality TV. There’s even a channel of South Korean dramas, called AsianCrush, which is my current bread and butter.
TV Plus has been a hit among Samsung users, said leaders last year, which accounts for billions of minutes seen each month. It is one of the five most used apps on Samsung’s smart TVs and has been installed on almost 50 million TVs worldwide.
Whether TV Plus will be a success with users outside Samsung’s ecosystem is an open question. It enters a crowded space with free competitors like Peacock, Roku Channel, Pluto TV and Tubi. While TV Plus’ channels are eye-catching, it reminds me of how I felt when I was younger and walked into a Forever 21 store – overwhelmed, exhausted and happy to hold on to what I was looking at.