TikTok lands on Samsung TVs in world-first smart TV app

TikTok app on Samsung TVs
(Image credit: Samsung)

We suppose it was only a matter of time. Samsung and TikTok have announced a partnership to bring a TikTok smart TV app to new Samsung TVs, marking a major milestone in the social media platform’s expansion beyond mobile.

Launching December 14 in the UK and Europe, and likely to release elsewhere down the line, it cements Samsung as the TV brand seemingly keenest to be the home for social media home viewing. It builds on the launch of the rotating Samsung Sero TV, which was ostensibly aimed at courting heavily social media users and influencers with its vertical (and smartphone-like) orientation.

TikTok has taken the world by storm in the past few months, becoming the world’s most downloaded non-gaming mobile app earlier this year. Its popularity among teens, and effectively viral trends – often, but not exclusively, featuring dance routines – has let it spread like wildfire across smartphones around the world.

The smartphone app comes to all Samsung smart TVs from 2018-2020, with new models next year expected to get it from launch. Users will be able to horizontally scroll through 12 different categories – “everything from gaming and comedy, to food and animals” – as well as adding reacts just as in the mobile app.

It seems the TikTok TV app will be more curated than the algorithmic chaos of the mobile app, featuring “the most liked and viewed content on the platform”, from dance videos and booping animals to DIY tutorials and more. We’re also reassured that there are “additional security settings from the outset, automatically operating in Restricted Mode, which filters out content that may not be appropriate for all audiences.”

Rich Waterworth, General Manager of TikTok in Europe, tells us that “TikTok on Samsung TV is the next extension of this experience, in the living room and on the big screen” – adding that families and flatshares can enjoy both “their favorite TV shows together, and their favorite TikToks together.”

Que Sero, Sero

Of course, we can’t talk about TikTok on Samsung TVs without talking about the Samsung Sero. This rotating designer TV from Samsung was launched in early 2020, with the aim of offering a home television solution for those wanting to scroll through social media feeds and watch TikTok videos on a comparatively bigger screen.

We weren’t overwhelmed in our review, specifically because users have to cast from mobile to get social media apps onscreen, without native smart TV apps on the Tizen OS used on Samsung screens. It means you’re forced to input on your smartphone screen, turning the TV into a distraction rather than a fully-realized social experience in its own right.

The arrival of TikTok looks set to change that, though Samsung will need to court a few more big names into making dedicated smart TV apps before the Sero (or any future iterations) start to look like sensible buys.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.