Elon Musk could be coming for your smart TV

More details emerge of X TV, the app that promises to do for video what X did for social media

Elon Musk at Fallout event 2024
(Image credit: Mat Hayward / Getty Images for Prime Video)

Elon Musk, the Tesla and SpaceX owner who has never, ever ever made promises he didn't keep, announced last month that a new smart TV app for the social network X was "coming soon". And now there are more details about the app courtesy of CEO Linda Yaccarino, who has now revealed that the app is coming "soon".

This time, though, there's a bit more detail. According to Yaccarino, the app will have the following features:

  • A trending video algorithm to keep you up to date with "popular content";
  • AI-powered topics that will "organise videos by subject for a personalised experience";
  • Cross-device experience, so you'll be able to start watching on your phone before switching to your TV;
  • Enhanced video search;
  • "Effortless" casting from mobile devices;
  • and availability for "most smart TVs".

If you're thinking that sounds awfully like YouTube, you're right. And even X's biggest fans on the platform seem unimpressed, with some effectively saying: show me the money!

It's all about the money, money, money

As my editor Rik Henderson wrote last month, payments are going to be crucial here both to video creators and to X; "we wouldn't be surprised if a payment plan was introduced in some way. Indeed, it may be that longer form videos become locked behind the platform's existing Premium membership." Early adopters of the new app will include WWE, which promises to launch an exclusive show on X in the next few weeks. That's a two-year deal.

The big question is whether X can make enough money to pay for the cost of streaming video, which is much more bandwidth intensive than short text posts and the odd image, and to adequately compensate video creators so they don't just post to other platforms instead. 

One bright spot for Musk is that the US government is apparently going to outlaw one of the biggest video destinations online, TikTok; but that's more about short-form clips rather than the long-form video the X app apparently intends to prioritise. That means it's up against rather more serious rivals: YouTube, of course, but also Netflix and Prime Video too – assuming, of course, that the app both appears and delivers on all its promises. With Musk, that requires a pretty big leap of faith.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).