Android smart TVs are getting the TikTok app

(Image credit: Future)

Android smart TVs are getting support for the TikTok app, as the fast-growing social media platform – so beloved by teens, influencers and dance choreographers – announced its expansion across the UK and Europe, with the US possibly close behind.

We first saw the smart TV iteration of the app launch on new Samsung TVs in late 2020, and it looks like TikTok isn't stopping there, with televisions sporting the Google TV and Android TV operating systems set to get the app from February 4. 

That means everything from the UK's Cello Smart Android TV to the Sony A8H OLED should be getting the app, bringing TikTok's unique brand of viral videos to home cinemas all over Europe. Both TCL and Philips make use of the Android TV platform too.

There's still no word on it coming to the US, where tensions over Chinese technology companies may be preventing TikTok from expanding as readily – but we expect to see it happen in North America eventually.

A press release states that "The new TV app has been specifically created for a TV home-viewing experience, allowing people to view content from TikTok's ‘For You’ and ‘Following’ feeds, as well as the most liked and viewed content on TikTok. This content covers everything from gaming and comedy, to food and animals. People can also view #LearnOnTikTok videos so they can get the latest cooking hacks, fitness tips, and fun facts that TikTok has to offer."

Tick tock...

What's most fascinating about the move is how little it has to do with the rotating Samsung Sero, which was designed to move into portrait mode to best show off TikTok videos and their ilk when casting from a smartphone or tablet, but hasn't been part of the TikTok platform's expansion into the world of TVs. (The app is set to come to the Sero later in 2021.)

We were underwhelmed in our Sero review, though, citing the lack of native smart TV apps for the likes of TikTok and Instagram as a major user experience hurdle.

TikTok's rollout to other smart TV brands makes it abundantly clear that it isn't wedded to Samsung in particular – and the fact that the TikTok app still isn't available on the Samsung Sero, the only social media-first television on the market, suggests that the main development for social on televisions is going to be in mass software solutions, rather than niche reinventions of the underlying hardware. 

While the Sero's been on the market for less than a year, it seems like the future may be pulling away without it.

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.