Samsung's Smart TV platform is considered one of most comprehensive and, since 2015, it's Smart TV features have been built on the Tizen operating system platform.
Here is how the Tizen operating system is implemented in Samsung smart TVs.
The Smart Hub
The key feature of Samsung smart TVs is the Smart Hub onscreen interface. It is used for feature access and app management. On Tizen-equipped TVs, the smart hub consists of a horizontal navigation bar that runs along the bottom of the screen. Running from left to right the navigation icons include (follow along with the photo at the top of this page):
- Gear Icon – When you select this icon, the quick settings menu is shown just above the main bar. You can go to any setting you see, select it, and make picture adjustments. If you go back and select the gear icon it will take you to a more extensive settings menu that covers most of the screen.
- Box with Arrow – When you highlight this icon, an input selection menu is displayed above the main navigation bar. From there, you can then select any of the inputs. The selection even includes a PC, provided it is connected to the same home network as the TV. This allows you to access any compatible audio, video, or still images you might have stored on the PC. If you go back and click on the gear icon, a more traditional input selection menu is displayed on the top left corner of the TV screen and you can make your selection there if you prefer.
- Magnifying Glass – This is the Search Menu. When selected, you will see the comment "Search for TV programs, movies, TV channels, or applications". When selected, you will be taken to a full-screen search display that includes a virtual keyboard. You can type in search terms by scrolling through the keyboard using the TVs remote (the TV remote does not have any number or letter buttons), or you can plug in a standard Windows USB keyboard and scroll or type.your entries.
- Square With Four Small Boxes – If you see this icon on your TV, clicking on it takes you directly the full apps menu. This icon is not included on all Tizen-equipped TVs.
- TV Plus –This feature is sponsored by Fandango Now. When you select it, you will see a sampling of movies and TV shows that you can rent or buy from the Fandango online service. You then follow any needed rental or purchase instructions for viewing.
- App Management and Navigation – The rest of the bar to the right of the previous icons feature any pre-loaded apps, as well as those you have added. As you highlight each app, you will see a display of highlighted content or functions for each app. In addition, as you scroll through the horizontal navigation menu, you will see a box that says "Apps". If you select this you will be taken to the main apps menu (just like the previous "four box" icon) which lists all the apps you have downloaded and others that are available to download. If you don't see an app you would like, you can also click on the search icon in the top corner of the apps menu page and see if it is available. The apps menu also always to "pin" or "unpin" any apps you would like to see displayed on the navigation bar (just like you might do when pinning apps to a PC start menu).
- The navigation bar also features a selection labeled "Web Browser". Selecting this, you are taken to a full internet web browser that provides similar search capabilities as one PC or smartphone (easier if you plug in a windows keyboard).
- As you explore the navigation bar further, you may notice some duplication with the input selection menu. However, integrating both input and app selection together really makes things quick as easy.
Additional Support For Samsung's Tizen-Equipped TVs
The Tizen operating system provides synch for Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth. Samsung allows sharing audio and video content from compatible smartphones and tablets using Wi-Fi Direct or Bluetooth via its SmartView app. You can also use your smartphone to control the TV, including menu navigation and web browsing.
If you have a compatible device (Samsung indicates their own branded Smartphones and Tablets - which run on Android) that are in use, the TV will automatically search and lock on it for direct streaming or sharing. Also, with the TV and mobile device sharing a direct "connection" viewers can watch live TV content on their mobile device anywhere within range of their home network. As an added bonus, the TV doesn't have to remain on.
In addition to navigating the Tizen-based smart hub using traditional remote control point-and-click functions, select Samsung TVs also support voice interaction via voice-equipped remote controls. Some remotes use Bixby. However, Bixby voice control is proprietary and not compatible with other voice assistant platforms, such as Alexa or Google Assistant.
Select Samsung TVs also provide the ability to control other smart home devices using compatible smartphones and tablets via the Smart Things App.
The Bottom Line
Tizen has enabled Samsung to improve the look and navigation of its Smart Hub onscreen menu system. You can use either the interface as displayed, or you can the remote control to access a more traditional menu layout for more comprehensive operation or setting options.
Samsung first incorporated the Tizen system into its TVs in 2015. Firmware updates have added features, so there may be some variation in the look and function of the smart hub display you might see on their 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 models, with additional variations possible going forward.
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