Updated 02/04/20: LG has announced that the Apple TV app is now available on many 2019 model TVs. A few more will follow later this month. 2020 models will launch with support for the Apple TV app, and select 2018 models will get it in a software update later this year.
At the CES show last year, LG (along with other TV manufacturers) announced that many of its new TV models would support HomeKit and AirPlay 2. This year, the company is going much further. In a press release announcing its new 2020 TV models, LG announced that the Apple TV app is coming to the webOS smart TV platform.
That means customers who buy LG’s 2020 OLED or NanoCell TVs will have access to the Apple TV app, which has only been a part of Samsung’s smart TV platform until now (as well as streaming devices like Roku and Fire TV). What’s more, the release mentions that LG customers with 2018 and 2019 models will get an update to their webOS smart TV platform that includes the Apple TV app.
An Apple press release about its services states that the TV app will be “available on LG, Sony, and Vizio smart TVs later this year.” It does not state which specific models (new or old) will get the app, nor when. But by the end of this year, the TV app—not just HomeKit and AirPlay 2 support—should be included on TVs from the four largest smart TV manufacturers as well as the most popular streaming devices.
The Apple TV app is not quite the same on smart TVs as it is on the Apple TV hardware. It will allow you to watch Apple TV+ originals, other Channels you have subscribed to through the Apple TV app, and you can watch (or buy and rent) additional content from iTunes. It does not, however, integrate with other streaming apps like Amazon Prime Video or Hulu to keep a continuously updated Up Next section on the Watch Now page.
So, while having the Apple TV app on your smart TV isn’t at all like having a built-in Apple TV hardware, it’s a huge benefit for those that have lots of iTunes movie and TV content or want to get started watching those Apple TV+ originals.
You can find a list of current devices that support the Apple TV app on Apple’s site.
I have written professionally about technology for my entire adult professional life - over 20 years. I like to figure out how complicated technology works and explain it in a way anyone can understand.