News & Events, Tech

TikTok launches its TV App

The future of video streaming is here.

words by: Sahar Khraibani
Jan 1, 2022

TikTok is increasing its living room footprint just in time for the holidays in the United States. In conjunction with Amazon Fire TV, the company debuted its TV app in North America at the end of 2021. TikTok’s TV app is now available on a wider range of TV platforms in North America, including Google TV and other Android TV OS devices, as well as some LG and Samsung Smart TVs.


What is it?

The TikTok TV app is a reimagining of the famous short-form video app for larger screens. When logged in, the app provides access to a user’s “For You” and “Following” feeds, as well as a “Discover” tab with some of the most popular material from throughout the service, including humor, gaming, food, travel, sports, and animals, among other categories. However, unlike TikTok for mobile, where users must swipe vertically to move through the available videos, TikTok TV has an AutoPlay mode that provides a continuous feed without pauses.


Instead of utilizing black bars to fill in the screen space to accommodate vertical videos on the larger TV screen, the app displays a dimmer version of the movie in the backdrop to make the experience more visually engaging.


The company has previously offered a TikTok TV app for Google TV and Android TV in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, but had yet to make it available to consumers in the United States and Canada. TikTok also debuted its TV app on Samsung TVs in the United Kingdom last year. Samsung said the app would be available on most of its 2021 smart TVs in the United States later this year.


TikTok has also confirmed that the new TV app will work with LG Smart TV models running webOS 4.0 through 6.0 from 2018 to 2021.


What it means for the market

TikTok’s expansion could place it in direct rivalry with YouTube for user attention and this is a tremendous new advantage for the Chinese-owned video streaming app, as more than half of U.S. YouTube watchers, or 113.1 million individuals, currently watch using a connected TV device.


Many of those users, though, may not be interested in short-form content. Last year, the business reported that in a 12-month period, the watch time of YouTube material over 30 minutes climbed by more than 90%. This could indicate that TV viewers are more interested in longer-form video material than mobile users. TikTok’s decision to increase the maximum video length to three minutes earlier in 2021 could have been influenced by this.


TikTok boasted in its introduction that it has over a billion monthly users, although that number excludes several areas where the TikTok TV app isn’t yet available. The new TV app is already available on supported platforms.


In other news, TikTok is testing AR developer tools for creators.


Photo via TikTok