This year’s new smart TVs are improved in many points, and are taking a step in the right direction when it comes to ease of use. The main goal is to take you faster to the content you want to see!
Buying a new TV today will give you access to a new, app-based world of content that wasn’t possible a few years ago. The so-called smart TVs cannot be said to have reached the level of a “supercomputer” yet, but little by little they improve. This year’s models have been given increased processing power and expanded memory capacity to handle more demanding applications than before. But perhaps the most important change is new operating systems and user interfaces, which are better adapted to the many types of content the TV can now have to cope with.
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Better usability and easier navigation
LG was in many ways of rolling the ball started when they last year launched their own user interface WebOS. A cleaner and faster menu system with sleek graphics and a user-friendly point remote control. Suddenly it took no longer «Winter and Spring» to get to whatever content one would see. This put many of the competitors in a slightly awkward light.
A year has passed and the competition has been sharpened: For 2015, each of the 5 major TV manufacturers presents new and improved user interface: Samsung has its Tizen, Sony and Philips aiming for Android, Panasonic has chosen Firefox, while LG has improved its WebOS. In many cases it is about brand new operating systems that have been rebuilt from scratch. It provides better opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities that live in the smart TV concept, but also some challenges. Well known applications like Youtube and Netflix need to adapt to the new platforms.
2015 marks the parade for the first Android TV. With the exception of Philips debut in 2014, as well as various other trial projects, this is the first time we see Android for TV use, for real. It is search engine giant Google (now Alphabet) that stands behind the Android system, which most certainly know from the mobile world. They have long had ambitions to conquer the TV market with their own Google TV, a project that was shelved in favor of Chromecast. Chromecast is a small “dongle” for 199 dollars that you plug into the HDMI input and gives you access to a variety of streaming features. A simple and inexpensive upgrade to older TVs. This year the Android models can be said to build on what Chromecast offers, and it will be exciting to see what Android can offer integrated in the actual TV.
We have checked out all of the new operating systems: Tizen, Firefox, WebOS and not least Android at the most appropriate TVs from each of the manufacturers. We have chosen among the better-specified TV models with good memory and processing power to be able to judge the systems without the hardware as “brake”. We haven’t dived deep into every possible feature the TVs have to offer but instead concentrated on the fine aces one uses most to daily. The aim is to find the fastest smart system with the best usability and best selection of interesting services!
LG WebOS – Easy to operate
The LG system is very fast to operate, but carries a little touch that the LG Gaper very high on the number of features and setting options. Where’s the connection at all?
LG offers quick and easy operation with its point remote control. The menu bar can be tailored to quickly take you wherever you like. Remote control option. Good selection of updated applications.
The menu system is divided into a slightly uoversiktlige way, so navigation is not always as logical or intuitive. The interface feels a bit ‘ heavy ‘ and doesn’t always load as fast as Samsung’s Tizen.
LG first introduced its own WebOS, a graphically beautiful menu system that combined with easy navigation in many ways “put the list” for modern smart TVs. It’s a lot thanks to the point remote Magic remote. Making choices or entering keywords goes easy as a breeze! LG has also integrated the pointing feature in apps like Netflix and Youtube, where one can easily tag the movie you want to watch.
The disadvantages come when one wants to access the more advanced features. This opens the White side menu, and this does not seem as thoughtful as the rest of the WebOS system. In short, it is a jumble of menus and submenus, where not everything is as logically adapted. One must use a combination of Enter button, Back button, arrow keys and mouse pointer, which is not consistent from menu to menu. Confusion!
We’ve tested WebOS on several LG models and a sustained impression is that the software requires much of the TV’s built-in processing power. Some menu choices are characterized by a second delay and the apps don’t always load as fast as you’d like. On the positive side, we have not experienced any failures for long periods of time, and LG comes steadily with updates that are downloaded automatically.
Applications LG has well-known services such as Viaplay, SF Anytime and Netflix in place. The same goes for NRK TV/NRK Super and TV2 Sumo. Own Spotify app lets you play music directly on your TV. Some free apps for demonstration of 3d are also included. UFC TV for the martial arts interested. Beyond that, there’s a lot of “list fill.” Other interesting features include the Miracast that allow you to view your phone’s screen up on the TV screen. LG also has a well functioning control app that lets you control TV’s main features via mobile screen.
WebOS offers a sleek graphical user interface, where the menu bar is organized as an open “deck” where you can click on the content you want to see.
However, the preferences sub-menus are more extensive, and the Magic Remote is a little bit short.
LG WebOS is still among the leading smart systems, but it is noted that competition has become much stronger since last year. The interface is on one side very easy for everyday use, while the more advanced sub-menus appear somewhat cluttered and inconsistent. The selection of apps is good but not class-leading – the title goes to Samsung. WebOS however has great potential, only LG cleans up a bit in the menu structure.
Samsung Tizen – Super-fast
Tizen is the name of Samsung’s own operating system, but they could just as easily dubbed the “Turbo”!
Samsung’s operating system is working very quickly and witnesses of good interaction between software and processing power. The ability to quickly switch between different apps and not least a good selection of such, gives the feeling that we have with a modern smart TV to do.
Neither Samsung has managed to organize its menus completely logically. We count three different types of menu systems! It does take some time to get to know the advanced TV.
Samsung’s smart Hub has long been among the most user-friendly and best-updated Smart systems. So why change in something that works? Samsung has probably marked the competition, and seen the need for a new platform that can fill new needs and not least, be tailored to leverage their powerful processors.
The answer is Tizen, which was originally designed to be a mobile alternative to Android, but was not some success (so far). Now, Samsung has given Tizen new life in the TV world and is focusing heavily on this as its new smart platform.
The first impression one gets from the Tizen main menu can remind a little about the LG WebOS. The menu bar is located at the bottom of the screen with the content categorized into small windows. However, there is a noticeable difference in speed between the two systems. First, Samsung has an “Instant On” feature that starts the TV at lightning fast from standby. One jumps faster from menu to menu, and from app to app with less delay. The TV can also have multiple applications active at one time (so-called multitasking), as well as controlling external TV tuners. For example, if you see a Youtube video, you can jump to live TV (such as news) and back to the video and pick up where you left off. A big step in the right direction compared to older solutions!
Thanks to a great popularity in the Nordic countries, Samsung has been easy to find partners, something the app-selection bears the mark of. All of the famous major services are present on the Samsung platform and more are underway to be converted into Tizen. An example of this is the HBO app, which Samsung still is alone in offering integrated in the TV.
Tizen menu system is graphically delicious and very fast. However, it takes a little time to get comfortable with all the menu choices.
Samsung is based on a long tradition of solid smart TVs and this year’s models are no exception. The Tizen platform Works Lightning Fast, offers the best of the app selection, and is graphically very delicious. There may be some menus to deal with if you really want to dypdykke in all your TV has to offer, but the surface is easy to get comfortable with. The introduction of a now well functioning point remote control, as well as the fact that you can now “multitask” by jumping in and out of a Folders makes us hold a button on Samsung in this year’s Smart TV race!
Firefox-Simple and comfortable
At first glance, Panasonic’s new initiative is not emerging as the smartest TV in class, but one can easily be fooled by an old fox!
Panasonic has created a very simple menu system without unnecessary Crimea krams, which is simple and easy to use. The Firefox platform offers smooth operation with relatively few errors.
The range of interesting applications is comparatively limited.
Panasonic has as a TV manufacturer always stressed simple but well-functioning solutions. An example of it is their remote control that looks nearly identical year after year, with large, powerful buttons and easily readable numbers and letters. In recent times, however, we have felt that the Smart Viera platform started to go on the years, and a ‘ him change ‘ to new interface was high time. The choice fell on Firefox, a name many people associate with the familiar browser. Panasonic and the developer Mozilla have collaborated to tailor their own interface to TV use.
The Firefox system offers delicious graphics and great circular icons on the main menu. Where many of the other smart TVs seem slightly “overloaded” with features you have less use for, Panasonic is more to the point. Here’s the TV experience that has been put into focus rather than bombarding the user with lots of “noise”, and we like that.
This year’s new remote control has got its own Netflix button which takes you straight to the popular stream service. Panasonic also provides a separate remote control with a touchpad for some models, but this does not simplify navigation to a significant degree. All in all, we prefer the traditional control. The interface works so to speak smoothly, the menus load quickly and we experienced little “bugs” during the test period.
But Firefox is still a little short on the most spectacular smart platforms in pure and shear performance. In particular, the Samsung Tizen that is experienced lightning fast in use and has an even better range of applications. However, Firefox appears far better integrated and adapted for TV viewing than Android does currently. That says quite a bit!
Applications beyond essential apps like YouTube and Netflix as well as some local apps in the form of NRK TV don’t have Panasonic’s many apps to offer. A separate Firefox browser is included for you that will surf the web via your TV screen. Panasonic also offers remote control over the Internet and mobile with app TV Remote. It is also possible to share image between the two screens: the app TV Anywhere gives you access to your TV channels via the Internet, anywhere in the world! If you own more Panasonic TVs, you can also share your TV signal between these over the network.
Simple is just the first name: pressing the “Home” button gives you three choices: direct TV, applications, and peripheral devices. Here it is difficult to trample wrong!
Panasonics doesn’t necessarily have the best app selection, but offers a delicious and straightforward user interface.
Panasonic’s Firefox debut doesn’t necessarily blow up boundaries when it comes to graphics, speed, or range of applications, but is very consistent and easy to use for both young and old. The impression is that Panasonic as usual has bet more on quality than quantity. An excellent choice for those who would like to have a smart TV with the main apps, but who have to check when things get too advanced or “fancy”.