Samsung says it will use Tizen Linux in all of its 2015 Smart TVs, which will feature WiDi and BLE for content sharing and mirroring from mobile devices.
The Linux-based Tizen OS project has long had a smart TV profile under development, and it seemed only a matter of time before Samsung would put Tizen to work in its popular smart TVs. That time has come.
In a teaser announcement prior to next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Samsung said that all new 2015 Samsung Smart TV models would run on Tizen. The Linux-based OS will enable “flexibility with even more content and devices, allowing developers to easily create compatible content,” says Samsung. Tizen will allow “Samsung Smart TVs to become part of a much larger content ecosystem, and allow easy collaboration with diverse partners for ultimate flexibility and unparalleled access,” says the company.
Samsung Smart TV with new Tizen interface
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Tizen’s future success on Samsung smartwatches is far from a sure bet, and despite recent spec leaks of Samsung’s first Tizen phone destined for India, it has yet to ship. Tizen’s future success on Samsung Smart TVs, on the other hand, seems to be more assured.
Like most other Internet-connected smart TVs, including LG models, Samsung Smart TVs have run on a modest embedded Linux OS. Yet when LG reworked the mobile, app-ready WebOS for its smart TVs last year, Samsung no doubt felt the pressure to move up to its own more advanced Linux stack. Meanwhile, LG recently tipped new 4K TVs running WebOS 2.0.
Samsung has previously experimented with the Android-based Google TV platform, but like most other Google TV products, sales were disappointing. Samsung was Google’s first hardware partner for Google TV, but the Korean firm appears not to be embracing Android’s new Android TV remake.
Then again, Samsung has played both sides with smartwatches, offering an Android Wear watch in addition to its Samsung Gear watches, and it will soon offer the Samsung Z1 phone in addition to its industry-leading lineup of Android phones and tablets. So anything is possible.
Samsung also noted the Tizen stack should help “establish Samsung’s Smart TVs as the control center of any Smart Home.”
Samsung has hinted at this possibility before, and has floated a Tizen-based refrigerator. The TV interaction may well involve technology from SmartThings, the home automation company it acquired last year for $200 million. The SmartThings automation hub is one of the few major automation devices that does not run embedded Linux. However, prior to the acquisition, SmartThings reps said the next-generation platform would likely run on Linux.
Samsung Smart TV details
Samsung offered no product names for the new Samsung Smart TVs, but supplied some details on the Tizen interface, as well as Smart TV content offerings. The Tizen stack will feature a redesigned “Smart Hub” interface that displays the most recent content, as well as tailored content recommendations. The Smart Hub also offers an “optimized four-direction control,” says Samsung.
The Samsung Smart TVs use Wi-Fi Direct and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) for sharing content between the TV and mobile devices in both directions. The TV can automatically search for and connect to similarly equipped devices within Bluetooth range. In addition, users can watch live broadcasts or TV on their mobile devices from within the home network, even when the TV is powered off, says the company. Samsung mentioned no requirement that the devices be Samsung smartphones and tablets, which are required for optimal use of its smartwatches.
The TVs will offer the PlayStation Now cloud-streaming game service in North America. Users with Sony DualShock 4 controllers can play hundreds of PlayStation 3 games on Samsung Smart TVs with no PlayStation console needed.
Samsung announced several other content offerings for the new Smart TVs, including Samsung Milk Video, Samsung Sports Live, and a Bingo Home: Race to Earth gaming title based on the DreamWorks Animation movie “Home.” Samsung has also partnered with Ubisoft to bring Just Dance Now to the Samsung Smart TV platform. The multiplayer game lets users “play and dance in front of their TVs using the Samsung Smart Remote and Samsung mobile devices,” says the company.