Rakuten TV has tripled its footprint from 12 to 40 European countries, with more to come in 2020. Like Apple iTunes, Rakuten TV is offering movies in up to 4K Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
Rakuten TV in Europe
Rakuten TV (née Wuaki.tv) is competing with the likes of Apple iTunes and Google Play Movies by offering movies and TV series for rental and purchase. The company is currently partnering with some of the biggest Hollywood studios, including 20th Century Fox, Disney, Sony Pictures, and Warner Bros.
Last week, Rakuten TV significantly expanded its footprint from 12 to 40 European countries, including the Nordics and big parts of Central and Eastern Europe. The service was already available in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, and the UK.
- “This is a major step that our company is undertaking within a plan of expansion which aims at making Rakuten TV the first choice of entertainment for Smart TV owners,” said Jacinto Roca, CEO and founder of Rakuten TV.
The company claims to have “the widest 4K HDR movie catalogue in Smart TVs in all the 40 European countries involved in this expansion”, including titles in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. The keywords here are probably “in Smart TVs” because browsing Rakuten’s library seems to suggest that iTunes offers a wider catalog of 4K HDR titles. Disney movies are not available in 4K on Rakuten in any of the regions that we checked (update: Disney's 4K HDR is available in Rakuten's UK store). Nevertheless, Rakuten TV is prepared to take on the big players with an aggressive expansion plan.
Support pages confirm that Rakuten’s 4K streaming is supported on Samsung Smart TVs (2015+ Tizen), LG Smart TVs (2016+ webOS), Hisense Smart TVs (2016+ select models) and Panasonic TVs (2018+). Dolby Vision and Atmos are supported only with LG TVs. The rest of the platforms should support 5.1 surround. The app is also available on Android TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Roku, PC/Mac, iOS, and Android – at least in some regions.
Rakuten on your TV remote
With the expansion, Rakuten has partnered with major TV manufacturers such as LG, Philips, Samsung, and Hisense. Besides carrying the app, these TV makers will put a dedicated button on their TV remote control.
TV makers will get a share of revenue from Rakuten while consumers will get easier access to the service, the company said. TV owners who are not using Rakuten will have to accept even more clutter on their remote control. Amazon, Google and Netflix already have dedicated buttons on many remotes.
- “Having a remote control button directly connecting to the platform aims at empowering users to access the best movies in the best quality just with one click, dramatically increasing our number of users. The collaboration with Premium partners Samsung Electronics, LG, Philips and Hisense is a seal of quality in offering the best service to our users around Europe,” said Jacinto Roca.
Rakuten TV is now available in 40 European countries – some in beta. More information can be found on rakuten.tv/