TikTok for Android TV is weirdly good

I had no idea TikTok had launched an app for TVs. Who would expect a horizontal short-video platform to be available on huge rectangular screens? But yesterday, the company expanded support of their TV app to LG, Samsung and Android TVs. You can now stay glued to your TV watching TikTok videos.

It’s a crazy thing! Especially given something like Instagram is yet to support Tablets – all these years! Some decisions really go a long way in affecting how platforms reach audiences.

In September, the platform hit a milestone of over 1 Billion active monthly users. It has also reportedly beat YouTube in terms of watch time in the US. And there are about to be many more people accessing the app on their TVs when chilling at home.

TikTok for Android TV is weirdly good

Installing TikTok on Android TV:

In Kenya, the app is not yet available on the Google Play Store for Android TV as of this writing. (Press release says launch is for North America) So I side loaded it by downloading the APK from APKMirror.

Once installed, I was pleasantly surprised that the app already supports a couple of features:

  1. The log-in process is easy
  2. You will use your remote control for all the tasks you may want to undertake
  3. TikTok has different categories of topics including the FOR YOU and FOLLOWING tabs.
  4. You can choose to loop or let videos continuously auto-play
  5. You can view comments (hello YouTube…)
  6. You can like videos
  7. You can go to content creators’ channels to see their other videos.

I really didn’t expect all these features. I thought it would be a bad experience. But it is okay. Actually, it is a good experience…

Yes, you don’t use a big portion of your screen – especially with the mostly horizontal content – but that’s fine. Yes, video quality isn’t 4K and the audio quality can be wanting with certain videos. But it’s alright.

Honestly, the good thing is that it feels like a better pastime to engage in than skipping ads on YouTube.

The only things remaining are perhaps accessing different sounds as you would on the phone, and clicking on hashtags. Those might come later on.

Is it a good decision:

Of course it is. There are very many people with smart TVs and internet connections in their homes. And many more people will be getting smart TVs in the coming years. TikTok is preparing itself to capture this audience.

Unlike YouTube which is now full of ads, and weird design choices on to what you can do on TV vs what you can do on phone, TikTok gives users a lot of features from the get go – and without ads (at least in this market).

It will be interesting to see what TikTok eventually becomes in the future. Their growth has been surreal – making everyone try and copy their technique. Instagram introduced and forced Reels on everyone. YouTube is currently forcing Shorts on everyone. Even Pinterest of all site, has joined the bandwagon! Let’s see what comes next…

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