With LG having arguably the best TV OS platform with webOS, aside from Apple’s iOS for its Apple TV platform that is a set-top box and not an actual TV (yet), the world of operating systems for TVs has been evolving.
Samsung has already has already had Smart TVs for years now, with various apps for streaming, browsing the web, voice control, gesture control and more, but now Samsung is going all-in with the Tizen OS platform it is a major part of, with the company having already previewed a Tizen powered Samsung Smart TV back in June 2014.
Samsung’s history with Tizen has been a bit strained - it has released a watch with Tizen, which wasn’t the ginormously massive success Samsung presumably hoped, with the Korean megacorp having to released an Android Wear powered watch - but its brand new smartphone-in-a-watch, the otherwise very cool Gear S - is Tizen powered.
The Gear S is a dramatically better watch than the first one it released with Tizen, and looks a lot like a Galaxy S5 with curved screen shrunken down to the size of a 2-inch screen on your wrist - but it doesn’t run Android or Android Wear apps.
Samsung was also going to release what looked very much like a Galaxy S5 but running Tizen in Russia, but this was mysteriously pulled before launch.
The company is also going to release a sub-$100 Tizen powered phone in India as we looked at here along with the question ‘what for?’ given the paucity of actual apps which make a smartphone a truly valuable device, no Android app compatibility and plenty of actual Android models at sub $100 prices already on the market.
Even so, there is a Tizen Association which has a vision to see Tizen used in all kinds of connected devices, which is says is ‘from smartphones to in-vehicle infotainment and beyond’ - and presumably includes all those juicy ‘Internet of Things’ devices that are supposed to be in our collective futures.
Thus, with Samsung now pledging to use the Tizen OS in its 2015 Smart TV range, it is fulfilling part of the Tizen dream - to become a very popular platform that does indeed power all manner of devices.
Apps that are written for the Tizen TV OS could, presumably, be relatively easily ported over to any future Tizen-powered phones, and the effort could actually help Tizen phones become a reality.
That said, a TV is still a very different beast from a phone you carry in your pocket, so whether this development will truly spur Tizen on to become a viable smartphone OS and not just a more niche TV OS for Samsung only is yet to be seen.
According to TizenExperts, Samsung is planning for its Tizen Smart TV range to deliver a big upgrade to Samsung’s existing and already quite advanced TV OS platform, so we’ll definitely be seeing during CES 2015 this week just how true this turns out to be.
In the meantime, Samsung has basically just upped the stakes big time against its Smart TV competitors, although we’re sure that LG, Sony and others aren’t sitting by, either.
There’s also any future update to the Apple TV set top box and potentially even future actual Apple television sets to consider, all of which has undoubtedly helped spur Samsung on to try and control as much of its own destiny with an OS it can far better control than Android as possible.
There's also The Verge reporting that 'Samsung is about to launch the most seductive TV of all time' - so the hype is certainly ramping up!
Still, in the end, most people just want to watch TV, and probably don’t care too much just how smart the TV is, especially with TVs able to mirror smartphones, run Chromecasts or with an Apple TV box, mirror iPhones and iPads, with the last two providing a vastly superior ‘Smart TV’ experience when mirrored onto a TV than any other single Smart TV has ever done up until now.
This last point is something I looked at back in 2011 when Samsung launched its 2011 Smart TV range - you can read my thoughts on that topic from 2011 here!