Table of contents:

4 Smart TV operating systems in comparison
4 Smart TV operating systems in comparison

Video: 4 Smart TV operating systems in comparison

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Video: Android TV vs Samsung Tizen vs LG webOS: What's the difference? 2023, January
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How smart and comfortable Smart TVs really are is not first a question of screen resolution, hardware and other technical parameters, but above all of the operating system used. In comparison, we tested the most important operating systems for you.

Table of contents Table of contents: Smart TV operating systems in comparison: Tizen, WebOS, Android TV and Co.

  • How important is the operating system?
  • Criteria for selecting the operating system
  • Overview of Smart TV operating systems
  • The most popular operating systems: strengths and weaknesses
  • Samsing Tizen
  • WebOS
  • Android TV
  • The conclusion

Table of contents Table of contents: Smart TV operating systems in comparison: Tizen, WebOS, Android TV and Co.

  • How important is the operating system?
  • Criteria for selecting the operating system
  • Overview of Smart TV operating systems
  • The most popular operating systems: strengths and weaknesses
  • Samsing Tizen
  • WebOS
  • Android TV
  • The conclusion

The time when TV sets are only used for watching TV and for a cozy video evening is long gone. Today, modern software programs turn TV screens into multimedia all-rounders whose usage options are constantly growing.

How important is the operating system?

Your television is huge, has an ultra-sharp 4K resolution and comes with the best LED imaging technology? Not bad. However, your Smart TV can break so many records - you will hardly enjoy it if the operation itself is complicated, restricted and impractical.

Nobody likes to spend hours on the user manual of the Smart TV just to be able to use it. But the operating system of the Smart TV is not only important in terms of intuitive usability. Because the operating system also determines how multifunctional and compatible your TV set really is in everyday life. If, for example, new devices can only be connected with a lot of effort, or if the selection of information and entertainment apps is limited or the installation is cumbersome, this can significantly reduce the enjoyment of your TV set.

In this respect, you can definitely compare a modern TV set with a smartphone or computer. Even these may be powerful, in the end you can only enjoy them if you can operate the device easily, conveniently and quickly.

What you should pay attention to when choosing the operating system

As with an operating system for computers, there are also various factors in the operating software of Smart TVs, which ensure easy operation, good clarity and a high level of system compatibility:

  • Clarity : Almost all operating systems today use the tile look familiar from the Windows PC, in which the individual apps are arranged on the screen like small tiles. In general, this optic offers a good overview. However, if the manufacturer thinks too well, it can sometimes be too much of the tiles and symbols.

    As with a computer desktop, the clarity of the TV operating system ultimately also depends heavily on the subjective perception of the respective user: while some love their desktop clean and tidy, others like a colorful collection of different icons on the PC surface. Smart TV software can also be perceived as slim or overloaded.

    Therefore, the best thing to do is to test the various operating systems in specialist shops and also make sure that the systems allow you to customize the menu interface.

Smart TV-Betriebssystem: Leichte Bedienung
Smart TV-Betriebssystem: Leichte Bedienung

The Smart TV operating system primarily decides on the user-friendliness of the Smart TV.

Photo: Samsung

  • Available apps: How functional your smart TV really is is determined by the number and versatility of the apps that are available in the app store of the respective operating system. Basically, the number of apps offered is constantly growing. In addition to pure entertainment apps such as YouTube or Netflix, more and more social media apps such as Facebook or Twitter are being offered. The number of gaming apps has also increased in recent years, as the ever better processors of the TV sets make a good gaming experience possible.

    Important: You should not rely on the fact that large and well-known apps are available on all operating systems. The reason for this is the partly lacking cooperation agreements between the manufacturers or compatibility problems between the systems. For example, the Maxdome app was long missing on Samsung's Tizen, and Panasonic still lacks the ARD and ZDF media library.

    Our tip: Before you buy, make a list of the apps that you particularly enjoy using. This means that you can find out whether your desired apps are available on your favorite Smart TV before you buy them online or at specialist retailers.

  • Search function: Even with an operating system, however clear and well sorted, there will be moments when the menu navigation of the system reaches its limits. For example, if you are looking for a less well-known app that is not easily found in the manufacturers' common chart lists, or if you call up an older episode of your favorite series that is no longer displayed in the current playlists. Then it is important that the operating system of your Smart TV has a good search function with which you can search for apps or content yourself.

    Also important: Make sure that the search function is easy to use. Or would you like to laboriously type long film titles into your system by remote control? In this case, control via the voice assistant is of course always helpful.

  • Control: The different operating systems show clear differences with regard to the control options. In addition to the known control via the remote control, some manufacturers also offer new controls in which the Smart TV can be controlled with an arrow (for example LG - Magic Remote), via a mobile app or via a voice assistant (for example Samsung).
  • Configuration: Your friends are back from vacation and want to show you the best snapshots directly from the camera on your Smart TV? Would you like to lock apps for your children with parental controls or program an automatic shutdown of the TV? These examples show how important it is to be able to make simple and uncomplicated settings on your Smart TV. These situations also show how well the operating system and TV hardware are interlinked.

    Our tip: It is best to check the settings directly on site in specialist shops using specific examples, such as the connection of a camera or a cell phone described above, the setting of an automatic switch-off time or the setting of the child lock. This gives you a feel for how to operate the Smart TV.

Steuerung
Steuerung

Most operating systems can now also be controlled by voice.

Photo: Samsung

The most well-known Smart TV operating systems at a glance

While many manufacturers "experimented" with their own operating systems in the early days of Smart TV, a few top dogs have now established themselves on the market. The best known among them is Android TV from Google, which is used by several brand manufacturers. Other systems such as Tizen, WebOS or My Home Screen are still only available as exclusive operating systems from individual manufacturers:

Tizen webOS Android TV MyHomeScreen
developer Samsung LG Google Panasonic
Supported

Manufacturer

Samsung LG Sony, Philips, Grundig, Sharp, Hisense Panasonic
control Remote-

service/

pointer

Magic

Remote

control

k. A.

(Manufacturer-

dependent)

Remote-

service

(Touchpad) /

App

Voice

control

available

Yes

Yes

("ThinQ")

Google

Assistant

Yes
Alexa-

compatible

Yes* Yes* Yes* Yes*

* Alexa compatibility is not only dependent on the operating system used, but also on the year of manufacture of the Smart TV. Therefore, please inform yourself about the possibility of voice control with Alexa before buying.

The most popular operating systems: strengths and weaknesses

First of all: No operating system has only strengths and no operating system only weaknesses. Instead, almost every system has its own focus. For example, some systems score with great clarity, while others offer a larger selection of apps or personalization options.

Tizen Samsung
Tizen Samsung

The Smart TV operating systems differ among other things in structure and control.

Photo: Samsung

Samsing Tizen

The Samsung operating system is a slim and fast Smart TV operating system, which impresses with its clear menu navigation. A small bar at the bottom of the screen is sufficient to navigate through the individual menus.

All apps can be started, new apps installed and settings made on the central interface of the operating system, the Smart Hub. Popular apps can be pinned on the surface, but the clarity suffers greatly if more than nine apps are pinned there, since the most recently used apps are then no longer displayed. For newer TV models, Samsung also offers its own control via voice assistant and an infrared-independent Bluetooth remote control with pointer control.

The number of apps available is high. Due to the unlicensed open source software, it can be expected that the number of apps will increase even further.

+ Extremely fast - Clarity is important

Lost use of many apps

+ Many apps available (OpenSource)
+ Simple operation thanks to the Smart Hub

WebOS

The similarities of the operating system WebOS, which was initially developed for smartphones, to Samsung's Tizen are clearly recognizable. WebOS therefore also scores with a good clarity. Thanks to the simple menu navigation, even smart TV newbies can quickly take over control of the device. Only the app store seems full and overloaded, which is somewhat offset by the good search function. In addition to the classic button control with the remote control, the LG operating system can also be controlled with the so-called Magic Remote. This offers the option of operating the TV via an arrow that appears on the TV screen - similar to the controller on the Nintendo Wii. The ThinQ voice control, which has been integrated since version 4.0, also makes it easy to operate the TV.

+ Smart control (Magic Remote + ThinQ) - Comparatively few apps
+ Very clear - Overloaded app store
+ Simple menu navigation
+ Good search function

Android TV

The Android TV operating system used by most manufacturers in comparison is based on the well-known smartphone software from Google and scores with a clear structure that ensures a high level of clarity. Favorite apps can be placed in the upper area of ​​the screen with just a few clicks. Videos of popular channels and services can be stored in the watchlist below. However, this function does not work for all services (e.g. currently not for Netflix, Amazon Prime). The so-called channel function also offers app-specific recommendations, which the system determines based on the TV behavior of the user. The selection of apps is almost limitless thanks to the link to the Google Playstore. The voice control is carried out - as it should be different with the Google system - via the Google Assistant, but according to a test by the magazine "ComputerBild" is occasionally a bit bumpy. Very practical: Thanks to the integrated Chromecast function, videos from a smartphone or PC can also be played on the TV via Google Chrome. Other control options depend on the hardware of the individual Smart TV manufacturers.

+ High clarity

through watchlist and channel function

- Some features are not from

supported all providers

(e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime)

+ Largest selection of apps in comparison
+ Chromecast built-in

Panasonic MyHomeScreen

The user interface of the Panasonic operating system, also known as Firefox OS between 2015 and 2017, may not seem very innovative to one or the other user. However, the optics should not draw any conclusions about the performance of the system. In many areas, MyHomeScreen is on par with systems from other manufacturers, for example in terms of speed. The control of the system is possible by remote control (partly with touchpad) or app. A special plus: The multi-line start menu can be adapted to the needs of the user almost as desired. Unfortunately, the selection in the so-called "Apps Market" is very limited with around 150 apps, well-known and large apps such as the media libraries of ARD and ZDF or the streaming service Spotify are completely missing. The search function also performs poorly in comparison - it rarely achieves hits and is therefore of little use.

+ Good way to personalize the start menu - Design sometimes looks outdated
+ Fast control - "Apps Market" only has

over 150 apps

- Known apps are missing
- Search function not very useful

Smart TV operating systems in comparison: the conclusion

A "smart" TV experience is possible with all of the operating systems shown. Only Panasonic shows clear weaknesses due to the stale look, the few apps and the poor search function, so that the system only seems recommendable for users who value a very high level of personalization of the surface.

Tizen Samsung
Tizen Samsung

The operating systems have many similarities - nevertheless it is worth testing before buying a TV.

Photo: Samsung

Overall, Samsung's Tizen is the winner in terms of clarity and speed, webOS impresses with its original control options and Android TV with the largest selection of apps.

Since no system leaves the others far behind, the question remains which of the large operating systems you should consider or whether the system of a smaller manufacturer (e.g. Smart Portal from Toshiba) might be the best choice for you - in the end it is a question of your personal preferences.

Alina Günder / Norbert Becker

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