4. Samsung: Smart Hub and Tizen OS
Samsung is another brand keen to keep things simple. Its Tizen OS clearly owes much to LG's webOS interface, in so much as it consists of icons, apps and shortcuts all accessible via icons held a horizontal strip across the bottom of the screen. A dynamically changing ‘Recent’ box in the far-left corner cycles between recently used apps and TV channels.
But it’s not overly intelligent. A featured section in the center promotes apps you haven't used lately, which can feel like irrelevant adverts, and they keep returning. This isn't based on your activity or habits, which is a shame.
We like the fact that on-screen icons can be changed: a sense of identity is welcome when it comes to some AV inputs and key apps you use everyday.
The OS cuts down on clutter, although this sometimes works against navigation – there are plenty of occasions when it's necessary to go hunting for a specific app. Thankfully that's made easier by a Smart Hub multimedia page that divvies up content from apps and from your own USB sticks/home network.
For reasons best known to itself, Samsung has not signed up to Freeview Play, which means it misses out on the elegance of a roll-back program guide. However, it does offer access to all UK catch-up TV apps; BBC iPlayer, ITVhub, All4 and Demand 5 are all here, as is Netflix, Amazon Video and YouTube.
In the US, there's Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, HBO Go / HBO Now, YouTube, Spotify and Vudu. (Want even more apps? Check out our 10 best Samsung Smart TV apps gallery.)
There are a few nice extras in the Tizen Smart Hub, too, such as a split-screen option for watching live TV while browsing an app, but Samsung's effort doesn’t quite match LG’s webOS or Panasonic’s My Home Screen OS.
Five Samsung TVs with Tizen OS: