In 2015, Samsung switched to Tizen OS for its smart TV environment. The interface has been further improved in the past years, and is now mainly known under the name ‘Smart Hub’, a name that, incidentally, deserves it perfectly. The smart interface brings almost all functions within a few clicks on your fingertips. In this guide we will guide you through the most important functions of Samsung Tizen Smart Hub.
Installation of Samsung Tizen Smart Hub
Our guide is based on a Samsung QE75Q900R. The first screen immediately shows that you can perform the installation in two different ways. Either use the remote control and follow the instructions on the screen, or you install the ‘SmartThings’ app from Samsung and you do the complete installation of your TV on your smartphone.
Which of the two you choose makes little difference, the process goes through the same steps. You choose language, country, and a pin code. In a next step, the TV tries to recognize all connected devices in order to offer universal operation. You can also set this up afterwards.
Next you determine the settings for the internal TV tuners, network connection, and tick the necessary privacy warnings and permissions. Finally, you can optionally add a Samsung account (for paying content in the app store), zip code (for the electronic guide) and choose a number of additional apps to appear on the start screen. You can also add additional apps afterwards.
Even though you used the remote control during the installation, you should also install the Smart Things app on your smartphone if you want to use it as a remote control.
The Samsung Tizen Smart Hub start screen consists of a bar at the bottom of the screen that leads you directly to all your content. At the bottom left of the first tile you will find the icon for the Ambient mode (see below) and the three horizontal lines that give you access to the rest of the menu.
You show those extra options by clicking twice. In addition to the icon for the Ambient mode, you will find the following icons (from left to right): notifications (clock), settings (gear), inputs, the search function (magnifying glass), and finally all apps (four circles).
The Smart Controller
Samsung supplies a ‘smart controller’ with the more expensive models. This slim remote control is made of light metal with a minimum of keys. It is comfortable in the hand, and the keys have the perfect pressure sensitivity so you can operate them easily. Because they have some relief, you can also find them back on the touch.
Do not worry about the small number of keys, the synergy between the Samsung Tizen Smart Hub and Smart Controller is excellent and you operate everything very smoothly. Tip: The volume and channel keys are tilt keys, but they also have a function when you press them. You activate the ‘mute’ function by pressing the volume button. And if you use the built-in tuners you activate the electronic program guide by pressing the channel key.
The icons are pretty obvious. At the top from left to right: the option key, the microphone and Ambient mode. Bottom: Back, Home and Play / Pause. With the help of the option key you place a number block at the bottom (or at the top) of the screen and you can use the color keys.
The Smart Controller also serves as a universal remote for your peripherals. Open the Samsung Tizen Smart Hub, go to Sources (penultimate icon on the left) and scroll in the options all the way to the right, to ‘Set universal Remote Control’.
You go through a very simple installation procedure per connected device and ready. We were able to operate our set-top box for digital TV (Telenet digicorder) and Blu-ray player with the Smart Controller.
Depending on the device you will get options in the second bar on the start screen (as in the case of our Telenet set-top box). It is also possible that you call up extra options via the play / pause button, with which you change the d-pad into a block of playback buttons. The legend for the new functions will appear on the right side of the screen.
All your content
On the start screen you will not only find all your content, the screen will also adapt to you as soon as possible to new viewing pleasure or important functions to lead. After the start bar a second bar appears on the basis of the icon that you have chosen. For example, if you choose Google Play Movies, Netflix or YouTube, you immediately get a selection of proposed content. If you choose the icon for settings, you will get a number of shortcuts to the most important settings. Choose your live TV, stations will appear there, etc.
The start screen offers space for ten icons. You can put more in it but you have to scroll further. You want to put the most important things in front. You do this by choosing an icon, for example YouTube, and then pressing the down arrow (d-pad at the bottom). You then get the options: move, delete. Choose move and move the tile to the desired location, and confirm with ok.
You can also add sources to the start screen. Select the icon for the inputs, and choose the desired source, then click the up arrow (top d-pad), and you will see the following options: add to start page, edit. Via the edit option you can adjust the icon and the name of the entry.
The Samsung app store has a very wide range. On the home screen select the apps icon (four circles), and you get the list of all the apps that are installed but not on the home screen.
Just like the external inputs (see above) you can easily add them to the home screen from here. A second click on the apps icon will take you to the full app offer.
We recommend these recommendations as a good start selection for everyone. Please note, availability of some apps depends on your country.
Streaming services video: Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play movies, Moviemax, Dvdpost, Pathé, Videoland
Streaming services music: Spotify, Deezer, Tidal , TuneIn, Digital Concert Hall (Berliner Philharmoniker), With Opera on Demand,
For the Netherlands there are NPO, RTL XL, NL Ziet.
In addition, the store has a whole range of other streaming services such as Wiener Staatsoper, Facebook Watch , Dailymotion, Vimeo, Mubi, Rakuten, Movie box live, Red Bull TV, Lego TV, etc.
Plex: Kodi is unfortunately not available on the Samsung Smart hub, but as an alternative media library, you install Plex. Plex requires that you have a Plex server in your home network that contains all your media.
TV Vlaanderen / Canal digital: With this app you can use the channels of the satellite TV Vlaanderen (or Canal Digital ) without a satellite dish on your roof. Of course you do need a subscription.
Steam Link: Play the games from your Steam library on the big screen. Your computer runs the game, and the images are sent to the TV via the home network. You can play with keyboard and mouse or gamepad.
Twitch TV: Fans of game streams can now also hit the big screen. Follow Fortnite, PUBG, DOTA2, Path of Exile, Hearthstone, just to name a few.
If you want to use your smartphone as a remote, install the Samsung Smart Things app. However, the possibilities are limited to a simple remote control. Also Ambient mode (see below) can be configured here.
We also liked the possibility to integrate content, and for example start up apps via your smartphone.
Samsung TVs have no built-in Chromecast such as Android TVs but do support casting from YouTube and Netflix. That works exactly like with Chromecast. Just click on the cast icon that appears on your mobile in YouTube or Netflix.
Do you dislike the large black area of the television in your living room? Then Ambient mode is a possible solution. If you do not watch TV, switch the TV to Ambient mode (with the button on the remote, via the menu or via the smartphone app). Ambient mode then displays images or even quiet animations on the screen making it part of your interiur.
You can choose from a number of decors, a simple clock, news messages or the weather. Of course you can also supply photos yourself that you can present in different layouts. You do this via the Smart Things app on your smartphone (click on the ambient mode button in the lower right corner of the screen)
Via the settings of Ambient mode you can adjust the brightness and color of adjust the image. Make best use of the automatic brightness, so the image adapts to the amount of ambient light.
Finally, you can also adjust the background of Ambient mode. Choose a different texture or color, but even better, you can also let the TV blend into the background of the wall behind it. To do this, open the SmartThings app, and look at the settings in the ‘Ambient background’. Click on the ‘base’ or ‘auto’ button at the bottom to take a picture of the TV with the underlying wall in the picture. The TV then tries to disguise itself as well as possible and seems to be a bit transparent in this way. Success depends, of course, on how complex the environment behind the TV looks like.
The SmartThings app on your television gives you access to the smart devices in your home, at least those of Samsung. You can view the images from the camera at the door or get a message from the washing machine when it is ready.
Via the smartphone app you can add compatible devices, but only ‘Deako Smart Lighting ‘is supported as not Samsung brand. For now, no Philips Hue or other popular smart home devices. You can also set scenes in the app, these are actually macros where you give multiple commands to different devices. Ideal if you want to start your cinema with one button.
The SmartThings app is a great idea, as soon as several manufacturers and devices are supported. Currently it is almost an empty box. You can not do too many things with it.
Tips for the Samsung Tizen Smart Hub settings menu
Those who want to quickly select a new image mode do not have to go to the complete settings menu. Click the Home button and scroll left to the gear. The top bar now contains all sorts of settings that you can quickly change here.
If you want the full menu, simply click on the gear.
- ‘View format settings’ : select ‘image format 16: 9 standard’ and set ‘Fit to screen’ to avoid the outer edge of the image being cut off.
- ‘Auto Volume’: Does it bother you that different sources and programs often use a different sound volume? Activate ‘Auto volume’, this setting leveling out the biggest differences.
- ‘Sound delay’: if the synchronization between image and sound is wrong (sometimes occurs when using external sound solutions) then you can enter the necessary delay here (only if you use the digital optical output)
- ‘Network, Expert Settings’: Check ‘Enable with mobile’ if you want to start the TV with your smartphone
- ‘Management External Devices’: Here you find the options to enable HDMI-CEC (Anynet +), and the game mode
- ‘Management External Devices / HDMI UHD Color’: Connect an Ultra HD HDR source to a specific HDMI input, activate at that input than HDMI UHD Color so that you get the very best image quality.
- ‘ECO solution’: Select ‘detection of ambient light’ if you want to use the light sensor. The brightness of the image is then adjusted based on the ambient light in the room. With ‘Minimal backlighting’ you can find out what the lowest setting of the backlighting is.
- ‘If you want to run Software Update’ or parts of ‘Self-diagnosis’ (such as a reset), then the current source may not be the app store or an app because then those options are grayed out. Choose the built-in tuner or an HDMI input
- ‘Software update’: Check ‘automatic update’ if you always want the latest firmware. You can also start the update manually via this menu. On the right side you see the current version of the firmware
- ‘Self-diagnosis’: if you want a full reset of your device, choose ‘reset’ in this menu
- ‘About this TV’: do you really want all info of your device (model, serial number, software versions), then you look here
Samsung also offers voice commands but they are still not available in Dutch for the time being. You can use the search function without changing the menu language, but then it only understands English. Some of the commands are also available (such as ‘Menu’), but if you want to experiment a little, you better choose the settings ‘General, System Management, Language’ and switch to English.
For an overview of the possibilities, simply say ‘Help’. You can adjust the volume or channel, adjust the picture mode and sound mode or select another input. Just start up Netflix, YouTube or other apps by entering the name.
Samsung uses his own assistant, Bixby, but that is not available in Belgium and the Netherlands. Possibly there will be a change next year. For now you can ask info about the weather, and the time.