On this website, we talk almost exclusively about streaming devices that use the Android TV operating system because it is our preferred operating system for streaming, but it is not the only one.
Apple also has its own TV operating system (Apple TV), as does Amazon (Fire TV), and Samsung (Tizen OS).
We thought that it might be worth changing our standard programming for a minute to take a look at the Tizen operating system since Samsung devices are so prevalent, and therefore so is their streaming OS.
Here we take a deep look at the Tizen operating system, its benefits and drawbacks, and how it holds up in comparison to Android, so you can decide whether you should be investing in a streaming device that runs off Tizen OS or Android OS.
Spoiler alert! We think that Tizen is a good operating system that supports streaming on Samsung devices and most streamers will be very happy, but the Android TV box still has the edge when it comes to the availability of apps, flexibility, and personalization.
Android TV Box
Tizen TV OS
|Devices||Comes on a wide range of TV boxes, including both high-end devices (such as Nvidia) and affordable boxes for less than $30||Comes standard on all post-2015 Samsung TVs, generally higher-end/more expensive devices|
|Apps||Around 3.5 million apps available in the Google Play Store||Approximately 200 apps are available in the Samsung Store|
|Sideloading||Relatively simple to sideload apps and customize||No ability to sideload apps outside of the store|
|Navigation||OS designed for smartphones and adapted for streaming devices||Lightweight and intuitive operating system designed specifically for streaming|
|Community||Maintained and developed by Google and popular with a large community of developers around the world||Predominantly developed and maintained by Samsung|
|Smart Home||Compatible with Google Smart Assistant only||Compatible with various smart home systems including Google Smart Assistant and Bixby|
We dive into several reasons why in the following paragraphs, but long story short, we think that Android TV is superior to Tizen. Why? Flexibility. Nevertheless, we think that most streamers will be very happy with a Tizen TV.
While Tizen is an open-source operating system, very few developers are using it. This means that outside the big names, such as Netflix and YouTube, you won’t find all that much in the Tizen app store. Also, Tizen is not compatible with apps made for Android, so you can’t fix the problem by sideloading your favorite apps onto your Samsung TV that is running Tizen.
Because of this, Android still has the edge, mostly because it has been around for so long and it is so popular with developers. There are thousands of apps that you can download directly from the app store, and the operating system is flexible so you can also sideload things that haven’t been approved for sale by the Play Store.
Of course, Samsung TVs are so popular that since Tizen comes pre-installed a lot of streamers will use Tizen for the simple sake of convenience. If you want more flexibility with your streaming, though, you can simply connect an affordable Android TV box (get our recommendations here) to your Samsung TV and use it when you want to do something that Tizen doesn’t support.
Tizen OS Features vs Android TV Box
- App availability
- User Interface
- Smart Home Integrations
What Is Tizen?
While most people will know that Android OS is the operating system that runs on Android smartphones and Android TV boxes, many people will be less familiar with Tizen.
Tizen is Samsung’s operating system and some version of it is used on almost all Samsung devices from TVs to fitness trackers to smart refrigerators. Different devices use different versions, but they all have the same basis. This is not so different from Android, which has tweaked versions of its operating system for smartphones, TVs, and other devices.
The most important thing to know is that if you have a Samsung TV, it will be running Tizen. While the interface looks a lot like Android, there are some very significant differences.
The most important difference between Tizen and Android is app availability.
Android has been around since 2008. It is an open-source system and developers around the world are constantly developing new applications for it. There are currently 3.5 million apps in the Google Play Store, all of which can be downloaded directly to your Android TV box.
Tizen is also an open-source operating system that has been around since 2015, so in theory, developers could also be making millions of apps for Tizen. Instead, the reality is that Tizen doesn’t have the same traction as Android, and it is mostly Samsung developing apps for it.
The result is that when you head to the Samsung store, while you will find all the big apps such as Netflix and YouTube, you will find a tiny fraction of the apps available on Android. And no, you can’t just download apps for Android onto your Tizen-powered device. They aren’t compatible, and your Samsung device won’t let you do it!
As well as having millions of approved apps available through the Google Play Store, on an Android TV Box, you can sideload other apps that aren’t available there. These could be IPTV applications that give you access to significant quantities of entertainment content, games, or personalization applications.
There is no way to sideload apps onto your Samsung Tizen device; you are limited to using what is available from Samsung. While this will be enough for most streamers, since Samsung has covered most of their bases, including Kodi, more serious streamers will be frustrated.
The Tizen and the Android interfaces look and feel very similar. Many people might not be sure of the difference when they first turn on their Tizen TV.
The Tizen interface is a bit better for streamers than Android. This is because the smart TV version of Tizen, known as Eden, is designed specifically for streaming, and doesn’t have the weight of all the other things that Android tries to do. That lets it work faster and be a bit slicker.
All the main apps, such as Netflix and YouTube, are already installed, as they often are on Android TV boxes; you just need to sign in and start streaming. You can also easily access the app store to download more specialized apps. Both the browse and search functionality are pretty good and feel a lot like Android. You can find what you are looking for quickly, perhaps more quickly than on an Android device, but then you are also dealing with a significantly smaller library. Unfortunately, just like with the Google Play Store, you need to deal with advertising.
If you have other devices plugged into your Samsung smart TV, such as USB drives or an Android TV device, Tizen will detect them automatically and make them easily accessible from your main menu. Most Android TV boxes work in the same way, but the experience can vary greatly depending on the box that you have.
Similar to the Android TV App, Tizen also comes with Samsung TV Plus already installed. This particular app aggregates over 1,000 free streaming channels for you to browse, all using a convenient guide. The app will also suggest content that you might like to watch, but the recommendations aren’t personalized which could be either a pro or con depending on your preference.
There is also a built-in web browser available from the Tizen main menu that is more accessible and navigable than what you get with Android, which is a bit of a surprise.
Smart Home Integrations
These days, we all want to load our favorite series by just asking our TV to do it, and we would like for all of our devices and appliances to integrate with smart home systems when we have them. Set the kettle to boil five minutes before the end of the episode, please!
Android has Google Smart Assistant, which offers fantastic voice commands, and can integrate with other Google smart home devices. This is great if you use Google, but what if you are a fan of another system, like Alexa or Bixby? Tizen integrates with all three of the main smart home systems, so you can benefit from integration no matter which approach you prefer.
If you want a Samsung TV due to its excellent 4K picture and fantastic sound, it will come with the Tizen TV operating system. Most streamers will probably be very happy with Tizen; it has a fast and intuitive interface, and you can easily use all the most popular streaming apps including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, and even Kodi.
You can even integrate with your smart home system, regardless of whether you use Alexa, Google Assistant, or Bixby, but if you want to start downloading personalized skins, specialist gaming apps, or anything else out of the ordinary, you might find yourself disappointed. The selection of apps in the store is highly limited, and you can’t sideload anything special that you are after.
For this kind of flexibility you still need an Android TV box, so what do you do? Our recommendation is that you find a decent but affordable Android TV box to connect to your Samsung TV, so when you want to do something beyond the scope of Tizen you can just switch to Android.
Is Tizen TV good?
Yes, Tizen is a good operating system. It is lightweight and specially designed for streaming, which means that it is fast, and it has apps for all the major streaming services. It does, however, lack the diversity and flexibility available with Android TV.
Do all Samsung TVs have Tizen?
All Samsung TVs released after 2015 have the Tizen operating system.
Does Tizen update automatically?
Yes, if your TV is connected to the internet it will update automatically when updates are available as the default. You can enable or disable this feature in the main menu.
How do I delete pre-installed apps on Tizen?
To delete the apps that come pre-installed on Tizen you need to go to the Settings menu, and then select Support followed by Device Care. From here you can select the apps that you would like to uninstall.
Do you have a Tizen TV? What do you think of it? Share your experience with the community in the comments section below.