As the COVID-19 pandemic increases reliance on digital streaming entertainment to help weather the viral storm, two of the world’s largest television manufacturers announced this week additional new capabilities now available to owners of some of their smart TV sets.

On Wednesday, Samsung revealed that the previously announced PlayersTV channel, offering in-depth profiles of major sporting figures and related stories, is now live exclusively within the free ad-supported Samsung TV Plus app on Samsung smart TVs. Then on Friday, LG said it is the first smart TV manufacturer to offer the Movies Anywhere app — a digital movie locker service — as part of a built-in TV streaming platform covering LG webOS-based smart TVs from 2017 and later.

The free PlayersTV channel is included as a channel within the Samsung TV Plus app included as an exclusive part of many Samsung Tizen OS-based smart TVs. PlayersTV provides a much-needed fix for sports junkies jonesing for their favorite games, events, leagues, teams and even seasons, in the wake of the coronavirus social-distancing imperative.

Samsung said the new channel provides “an ideal outlet for players to connect with their fans during this unprecedented period when live sports are on hold due to COVID-19.”

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PlayersTV has been added to a growing roster of over 100 free ad-supported channels on Samsung TV Plus. The channel provides a look into athletes’ passions, interests, and off-the-field pursuits, and blends a variety of formats (reality shows, comedies, documentaries and podcasts) centered on sports, culture and lifestyle.

PlayersTV’s exclusive content is developed by the athletes themselves, and includes a dynamic roster of talent including NBA’s Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony, the NFL’s Vernon Davis, and many others.

LG announced Friday that it is the first manufacturer to offer the Movies Anywhere app as part of a built-in smart TV platform. It has been available previously on mobile devices and streaming video adapters like Apple TV, Chromecast, Fire TV, Roku and others, but is now also part of LG’s webOS-enabled TVs dating from 2017. Older models will not receive it.

Movies Anywhere is a streaming digital locker service supported by multiple Hollywood studios allowing viewers to aggregate purchased digital movies and content from disparate app services and even some discs in one secure location. Movies Anywhere incorporated the Key Chest encryption system advocated by Disney and effectively displaced the similar Ultra Violet initiative last July.

Movies Anywhere connects to other streaming services including Amazon Video, Apple TV (iTunes), FandangoNow, Google Play Movies, Microsoft and Vudu to present purchased movie content in one convenient location. Movies Anywhere includes participation from studios including Disney, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Bros. Content from Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount are not yet part of the participating libraries.

Movies Anywhere now supports up to 4K Ultra HD video resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR), including the Dolby Vision premium HDR profile supported on many LG 4K TVs. The service is also adding a Screen Pass feature enabling users to share movies with friends and family members at no additional cost.

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By Greg Tarr

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