There are two things that most people look for when buying a Smart TV: hardware and software. So in the hardware section, we generally talk about display and audio quality. And it is of course the software which is lately becoming more and more important. Here, we exactly mean the Operating System that allows you to update and keep up with the latest applications and widgets. As you might probably know, there are three major operating systems for most Smart TVs: the WebOS for LG Smart TVs, the Tizen OS for Samsung Smart TVs, and Android TV OS for most other brands.
If you are considering buying a new Smart TV, you might be wondering what the difference between these operating systems is and which of them is the best
Most of the features in the Smart TV market are kind of similar. The only real difference that you see, is in the little intricacies of the way manufacturers make those TVs.
Android TV vs Samsung Tizen vs LG WebOS: What’s the Difference?
This article will help differentiate one Smart TV from another by explaining the main differences between the different operating systems based on 6 main criteria:
- The User Interface
- App support
- Voice control
- Screen Sharing
The User Interface
In terms of UI WebOS and Tizen OS TVs are quite similar. They have a menu bar that you can gesture up from the bottom of the screen which contains a row of content. You can scroll several minimalistic icons to find the app you want. Even if you are watching a movie or a TV show you can still watch the content and navigate around the menu.
Android TV on the other hand takes the entire home screen with categories like voice command search on the top followed by poplar apps, movies, and TV shows you are currently watching.
You can’t use the Android TV interface while watching a movie or a TV show. Although, on the bright side you can set a custom launcher on your android TV like the Halauncher which lets u customize every setting. For instance, suppose you want to launch a handheld app like a VPN app to change my location. In the regular launcher, you have to install the Sideload launcher to do it, but if you install a custom launcher you can easily move from all that content recommendations to a minimal layout that shows all your installed Android TV apps as well as the Sideloaded ones.
The UI criterion is quite subjective because some users might like their minimalistic Tizen OS and some others might like the Android TV UI.
Do you know what is not subjective? It is the number of apps that an opera
ting system can support.
So let’s try to find out the number and quality of apps that each of the three OS can provide
In this matter, Android TV is the clear winner. It allows you to install almost every application in the play store and even to sideload APKs from third-party sources like AptoideTV. There is no limit to the number or the kind of applications you can run on an Android TV OS, Streaming apps, music apps, games, launchers, browsers, and much more
On the other hand, Tizen and WebOS have only some basic apps like Netflix, Prime Video, Disney, etc… They offer options for productivity, tools, or customization apps.
What makes matters worse is that you can’t even sideload apps on Tizen or WebOS, which is a piece of cake for Android TV users. For example, if you want to use Hulu services outside the US, by default you can’t watch it on any of your TVs. However, on Android TV, you can simply sideload Hulu APK, use a VPN, and start watching. But, if the Hulu app is not available on Tizen or WebOS local stores, there is nothing you can do about it
Another important feature to look at when buying a Smart TV is the Operating System itself and see how performant it is compared to other ones.
Tizen OS has an interesting feature. If you got a Samsung smart device like note 9 you can only control your Smart TV, type on your TV with your Smartphone keyboard, and even turn on your Samsung TV with a Smartphone, and that’s something I’ve never seen on any other Smart TV.
One of my favorite features is the private listening that lets you listen to the TV sound directly on your Samsung smartphone.
On Android TV, you can use that Smart Remote to control your TV and it works quite well with options like touchpad and navigation controls or even google assistant. You can type with the voice bar too though only a few apps support that. Since we are talking about an ecosystem, you can control your TV with Google Home as well.
For the LG WebOS, you can easily connect your TV with your Smartphone. first, you have to install an app on your Smartphone called LG TV Plus. From my experience, this app works flawlessly, you know everything that you do on your TV like with a mouse pad navigation. The best part though is that you can directly play your mobile content on your TV without casting your device.
Pretty much all Smart TVs now come with a voice control system like Google assistant and Bigsby. But do they really fit?
For example, Tizen has a built-in Bigsby engine that recognizes your voice for changing TV settings and searching content. Tizen also supports Google Assistant and Alexa for voice recognition but only with external speakers.
Android TV, on the other hand, gives complete control over your TV set with Google Assistant. Most apps respond greatly to voice control. You can even type queries to search with your voice. Trust me it works amazingly well.
WebOS also supports Google Assistant but you can’t control your TV unless you have LG Magic Remote.
Another common aspect that you probably see in most Smart TVs is screen sharing.
In Tizen OS, you can easily share your Smartphone screen with your Samsung Smart TV. And if you have a Samsung device you can cast it with the Smart view feature including your content.
Android TV uses the Chromecast tech to screen mirror your Android Smartphone. You can also mirror your computer by using the Chrome browser extension. Also, you can use a third-party app like Airscreen to cast MAC screens onto your Android TV.
WebOS on the other hand uses Screen Share which normally casts your Android screen but also any laptop without having to use a separate app.
Last but not the least, gaming. Most games that are available on TVs are not exactly console-level games but they are still pretty good and some TVs come with actual games and really good ones that you can play with your Bluetooth controller.
Tizen OS and WebOS both support games but they have their own stores and options there are really limited.
On Android TV, there are bundles of games available like Asphalt, Badlands, and a bunch of other games. Also, you can sideload any game like Mario and play with an emulator like Retroarch.
You can also connect your Bluetooth controller with all systems, but on Tizen and WebOS, you don’t need any extra controller since they only have the basic arcade games.
So, which one is the best OS among the Smart TVs that we have just covered.
Firstly, make your choice based on the hardware criteria like display, audio system, and the screen size of course. And after that, if you are looking for a TV based on the OS that you like, I’d say go with an Android TV OS because it gives you the most amazing features like apps, games, and connect with other Android devices like Google Home.
That’s being said, if you already invested in a Samsung ecosystem, just go with Samsung Tizen OS for the Smart TV because it makes way more sense as it is much easier to control your TV from your Smartphone or even Samsung watch.
LG WebOS, if you already got one, just keep it, It is a decent one but if you haven’t, I am not sure if you should pick it up. That’s my personal opinion.