Operating Systems in TVs – Explained – Operating Systems that are used exclusively for televisions weren’t mainstream until just a few years ago. But nowadays every major TV brand like Samsung, LG and even Apple have their native Operating Systems that come pre-installed on their Smart TVs. These Operating Systems include AndroidTV OS from Google, TizenOS from Samsung, WebOS from LG, Fire TV from Amazon and tvOS from Apple. These Operating Systems like on any other platform have their own strengths and weaknesses. Some of them have extensive libraries of Applications, some have better User-Interfaces and some of them provide more compatibility overall. In this article, we will explore different operating systems that are used in modern smart TVs and explain how they differ and affect you as a customer in India.
Different Operating Systems in TVs
Android TV OS from Google
Android TV’s biggest advantage over its competitors is its vast library of millions of Apps. Granted, some of the Apps won’t really work that great on your Android TV OS [mainly because of lack of optimization by the developers and hardware limitations like RAM, etc]. There exists a Separate Section of the Google Play Store which has Applications optimized specifically for Smart TVs but the collection on there is limited.
A better way is to just sideload the Android Apps from the main Google Play Store onto your TV. Sideloaded Android Apps work just fine [sometimes even better] on an Android TV. There are too many possibilities of entertainment while you own an Android TV. Following are the steps you can follow to sideload any Android App on your Android TV within just a few minutes [note that you have to follow these in order].
- First download the APK of the app you want to install on your PC or phone, transfer the APK file to your TV using USB or cloud and install using any file manager that you can find on the default system.
- Make sure you have allowed the installation of Apps from unknown sources in your Settings first.
- One more thing, the sideloaded Apps will not appear in the default Android TV launcher. You’ll first have to install the Sideload Launcher app from the inbuilt Play Store for that. And that’s it! You have unlocked the full potential of your Android TV!
Another good thing about Android TVs is that they come with built-in Chromecast which makes streaming from Android devices [and even computers with Google Chrome installed] a breeze. You also get support for Google Assistant which enable you to voice control your TV [and other connected devices] from your Voice-Enabled remote. Remember that these features [Chromecast and Google Assistant] only come with original Android TVs and not the makeshift Android-based TVs manufactured by brands like Xiaomi and Kodak.
TizenOS from Samsung
Samsung Smart TVs come with TizenOS inbuilt as their proprietary Operating System. The UI of TizenOS is really admirable and stylish which matches the TV’s aesthetics. While the choices are not that extensive [as compared to Android TV] in terms of apps on TizenOS, almost all of the most popular apps [such as Netflix and YouTube] are available on the TizenOS App Store. The ‘Smart Hub’ feature of the TizenOS displays all of the available content on your TizenOS TV on one fluid dashboard. Connectivity is implemented in a similar fashion on TizenOS. Whenever you connect a compatible device to one of TizenOS TV’s HDMI/USB ports, the TV auto-detects what device it is and displays its contents on the screen. As you can probably tell by now, better UI is TizenOS’ main advantage over other operating systems like the Android TV OS.
The Remote that comes with TizenOS TVs automatically detects the various devices connected to the TV and works as an Universal Remote across all of them eliminating the need to switch Remotes every other second. Tizen TVs also do come with a feature similar to Chromecast called Smart View. The Smart View App lets you stream Photos, Videos and Music from your devices to the TV. The only difference [kind of a big one actually] between Chromecast and Smart View is that Smart View cannot stream online content on the TV. The Smart View app can also work as a Remote for your TizenOS TV. There is also an App on Tizen TVs that lets you play games over the internet without even having a Gaming Console. All you need is a Game Controller and stable internet connectivity and you are set. The collection of Games is not that extensive yet, though.
WebOS from LG
WebOS is the proprietary operating system that comes pre-installed with LG’s Smart TVs. Much like Tizen, user-friendly and beautiful UI’s this Operating System’s Advantage. This UI’s designed similar to Tizen with a launcher bar on the bottom of the screen that houses all of the Apps and content on the TV. Since its launch in 2014, LG has been steadily upgrading the WebOS to meet their customers’ requirements. WebOS also has Bluetooth Compatibility, so you can connect wireless keyboards, mice and other peripherals to your WebOS TV without any problems. This OS also supports MiraCast [which is basically a wireless rendition of HDMI]. And for the collection of Apps, the library is not that extensive but it mostly gets the job done as it includes most of the popular streaming apps like Netflix, Youtube, Amazon Prime, etc. that you might want.
Fire TV Edition from Amazon
Although Fire TV Edition is not that popular at the moment, we believe that it has good potential to flourish in the Indian Market. At the time of writing this Article, Fire TV Edition is only available on Onida and some Toshiba TVs. With Fire TV Edition, you get support for Amazon’s Alexa which enables you to voice control your TV [and other connected devices] from your Voice-Enabled remote and can even just act an assistant in general. Although Amazon’s App Store has a limited collection of applications, nothing is stopping you from sideloading Android Apps on your Fire TV as the Fire TV Edition is an Android-based Operating System.
tvOS from Apple
tvOS is the Operating System that comes pre-installed on Apple TVs. At the time of writing this article, there are more than two thousand Apps available on the App Store for tvOS which is really impressive considering how young the platform really is. This user interface is similar to other TV Operating Systems like Tizen i.e. the viewers can navigate using the touch-based Remote or an iOS/watchOS App, and even some Siri Voice Commands. tvOS 13, the latest version of tvOS [as of April 2020] has made some significant improvements like discovery-centrical home screens, Apple Arcade [which even adds support for PlayStation DualShock 4 and Xbox One S Controllers], Apple Music and Apple TV [monthly subscription-based], multi-user support [multiple profiles] and an impressive picture-in-picture capability.
And that concludes our post listing the different Operating Systems in TVs. We hope you liked it! If you have any further queries you can ask them below in the comments or you can contact us via email.