Samsung Apps for TVs - What You Need to Know

Stream video, music, use Facebook, Twitter, browse the web on TV

Samsung Smart Hub Example - Apps Screen
Samsung Smart Hub Example - Apps Screen.

Since the introduction of its first Smart TV in 2008, Samsung has parlayed its experience with smartphone apps as a way to expand the capability of its TVs to not only provide a viewing experience from TV broadcasts, cable, satellite, DVD, and Blu-ray Discs, but also access an abundance of internet streaming channels and smart capabilities.

Samsung's Approach to Smart TV

Using its umbrella "Smart Hub" interface, not only does the TV viewer have efficient access to TV setup and setting functions, but internet streaming services, such as Netflix, Vudu and YouTube, as well as a full web browser, and, depending on the model, social services, such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Also, depending on the model, TV viewers can also access content stored on network-connected PCs and media servers.

What all this means is that the TV is not just a way to receive TV programs over-the-air, cable/satellite, but can stream media from your home network and the internet without the need to connect an additional external box, such as a Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, or Google Chromecast, unless there is a specific service (or services) that are not available via Samsung Apps. All Samsung Smart TVs provide Ethernet and Wifi so that connection to an internet service router is convenient and easy.

It Is All About the Apps

The idea of Smart TV in general and Samsung's approach, in particular, is to offer built-in apps that are accessible on your TV, similar to the way we use apps on a smartphone. When you look at your Samsung smart TV menu, it looks similar to a Samsung (or another brand) smartphone screen.

The Samsung Smart TV platform has a few of the more popular apps pre-loaded, with more available that can be downloaded from the Samsung App Store.

The additional apps are accessible via the TV's Smart Hub or onscreen menu (just look for the icon that just says "Apps"). Once displayed on the TV screen, you will see additional app selections grouped in various categories to choose from (What's New, Most Popular, Video, Lifestyle, and Entertainment). Additional apps that are not listed in the provided categories may be found using Search, which is usually located in the top right corner of the Apps menu screen. Just type in the name of the app that you are looking for and see if it is available.

Another thing to point out is that although most apps can be downloaded for free, some may require a small fee, and some free apps may also require additional subscription or pay-per-view fees to access content.

Along with the popular apps that are suited to the TV’s big screen, such as Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, and YouTube, there are music apps, such as Pandora and iHeart Radio, and other unique apps may be based on games or apps that run on other devices. Also, there are apps to connect directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Smart TV As Your Life Hub

Samsung's goal is to enable their TVs to be the hub of our home life. We shouldn't have to run to our computer to check on Facebook or Twitter or to post our status. We should be able to turn on the TV and have access to online movies and TV without any other device. And we should be able to get a variety of content to help us in our daily lives — from morning exercises to an hour-by-hour weather and current traffic report to help you decide how to schedule your day.

In other words, you can turn on your Samsung TV when you get up in the morning. One app will guide you through yoga poses (such as Bea Love Yoga).

Then you can switch to another app (such as AccuWeather), and with a glance, you can keep up with the time and date, see and get the hour-by-hour weather forecast for the day. You can also get weather and local traffic info from Dashwhoa, as well as the latest business news and market reports from apps such as Bloomberg or Market Hub.

Other apps help you keep up with the news, sports, weather forecasts and even help you plan your travel. There are several games for adults (Gamefly and Texas Poker) and kids (Angry Birds, Monkey Madness, El Dorado).

With several hundred apps available on some models, there are some that stand out.

In addition to apps, Samsung has taken the "hub of our home life" concept even further with the inclusion of home control features on some their high-end smart TVs. This functionality uses a combination of apps and optional external accessory devices that work together to control things such as lighting, thermostats, security devices, and appliances.

Examples of Samsung Smart TVs

Most Samsung TVs feature the Smart Hub app platform. Some examples include:

Smart TV Apps on Samsung Blu-ray Disc Players

It is important to note that Samsung Apps also work on Samsung's line of network-enabled Blu-ray and UHD Blu-ray players.

Here are two examples:

The Bottom Line

Samsung's incorporation of an app platform into many of their TVs provides users with expanded content access and meaningful interactivity that allows the TV to become a part of their lifestyle.

Samsung's app selection is not only one of the most comprehensive available on a Smart TV, but the apps are also easy to use and manage.

However, it is important to point out that depending on what model year your Samsung Smart is will determine what the Smart Hub may look like and what apps may be available and how to access and manage them. For example, select Samsung TVs, beginning with the 2018 model year, incorporate Bixby Voice control that can be used to navigate TV and content features, including app access and management.

Also, only Samsung 3D TVs (no longer being made) will be able to access any apps that offer 3D content, and, if you don't have a Samsung UHD TV, you will not be able to access any apps that provide 4K content.

Disclosure: The core content of this article was originally written by Barb Gonzalez, it has been reformatted and updated by Robert Silva