Updated

Samsung Smart TV Platform 2015 Review

9.0Remote
9.0Design
9.0Usability
8.0Web Browser
9.0Extra Features

For a while, Samsung had the best smart TV experience around, thanks to the huge number of available apps, and also to the great smart remote included with higher-end TVs. 2015’s update saw Samsung create a new smart OS, based on its Tizen OS, in an effort to improve the user experience to something more along the lines of LG’s WebOS. It improved in several ways, but the app selection is more limited than Samsung’s smart platforms from years past.

Picture quality of Samsung smart TVs

Smart TV OS Remote Our Reviews
J5200 Tizen Basic See review
J5500 Tizen Basic See review
J6200 Tizen (2014) Basic See review
J6300 Tizen Basic See review
JU6400 Tizen Basic See review
JU6500 Tizen Basic See review
JU6700 Tizen Smart See review
JU7100 Tizen Smart See review
JU7500 Tizen Smart See review
JS7000 Tizen Basic See review
JS8500 Tizen Smart See review
JS9000 Tizen Smart See review
JS9500 Tizen Smart See review
K6250 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KU6300 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KU6500 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KU6600 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KU7000 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KU7500 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KS8000 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KS8500 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KS9000 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
KS9500 Tizen (2016) Smart See review
Q7F Tizen (2017) Smart See review

Generally speaking, Samsung’s smart TVs have really good picture quality, so people looking for a good smart TV would do well to pick this brand. We reviewed a lot of Samsung smart TVs in 2015. Check out our individual in-depth reviews to get an idea of the picture quality of each model.

The rest of this article reviews the smart features only, that are common with all of Samsung's smart TVs. We used the Samsung JU7100 UHD TV for this review, but will point out differences between models where applicable.

Remote Control

Samsung Smart TV Remote

The remote that is included with this TV is great. As with previous Samsung smart remotes, it offers point-and-click capability, making entering text, browsing the web, and selecting apps a breeze. New this year is that the remote is slim, and curved to fit your hand. From an aesthetic and ergonomic standpoint, it’s a welcome change.

There is a catch, though. To maintain that slim form factor, the Samsung remote had to do away with several buttons. Some of the buttons perform multiple functions – holding down the Menu/123 button, for example, will enable Voice Recognition – but this is not immediately obvious. If you don’t read the manual or watch the tutorials, it’s likely that you’ll find browsing on the TV to be more of a chore than it should be.

Samsung Smart TV  Basic Remote

The cheaper Samsung TVs – the 6 series and lower – have a regular remote that will require you use arrows to navigate, which is slower and less natural. If you plan to use your TV’s smart features a lot, you should get one of the TVs with the smart remote.

Main Interface

Samsung Smart TV 2

Press the Smart Hub button on the remote and a toolbar will appear at the bottom of your screen. Recently-used apps populate the main bar. A separate option to the left opens the ‘Featured’ app selection, which leads to the ‘Apps’ and ‘Games’ stores, as well as shows off apps Samsung is currently highlighting.

Samsung Smart TV 3

The Apps screen is separated into categories, including ‘My Apps,’ ‘What’s New,’ ‘Most Popular,’ and then several more specific categories (Videos, Games, Sports, etc).

A new problem this year is that there are way fewer apps than are available on older Samsung smart TVs. The ‘Sports’ category, for example, only has a handful of apps, and the ‘Kids’ section only has three. Some apps appear in multiple categories.

What’s more, many of the available apps are pretty niche. This will likely be just a temporary situation, and most common apps are available, so the average person will be fine with the selection.

 

Web Browser

Samsung Smart TV 9

The web browser works pretty well. The motion control is very handy, though the scrolling doesn’t work quite well enough. It’s quicker and smoother to click and drag the bar on the right side of the page.

It got a speed test of 796 on Peacekeeper, which is just a bit slower than an iPhone 5, and about equal to the LG TV we tested. It was only able to perform 3/7 of the HTML 5 tests, though, whereas the LG TV completed all of them, and much more smoothly.

It is currently unable to play Flash video.

As with most smart TV browsers, it’s no replacement for a computer or smartphone browser. Light pages and streaming video work fine, but heavy pages with lots of images can take a while to load.

Voice Commands 

Voice commands work fairly well. You need to hold down the “Menu 1/2/3” button to activate them, and you can use them to switch between apps, adjust volume, and search with Bing.

You need to be specific with which commands you issue. “Open Netflix” doesn’t work, for example, whereas “Go to Netflix” does.

Camera & Privacy 

Most Samsung TVs do not come with a built-in camera, but the high-end Samsung JS9500 does. It allows for Skype calling and for hand motion control of your TV. You can also purchase a separate camera to add Skype capabilities to other compatible Samsung TVs.

The Samsung JS9500 is also the only Samsung TV that can accept voice commands without the viewer needing to push a button on the remote. Like most devices that are waiting for voice commands (Xbox’s Kinect, Motorola Moto X, Amazon Echo, etc), it has to actively listen to everything it can hear people saying. That doesn’t mean that anybody is actually listening to you speak – just that the data is all being captured by the TV.

You can disable that feature by switching ‘Voice Recognition’ off, and you don’t need to worry about your video content. That isn’t being stored anywhere.

Known Issues 

Initially, we were only able to connect one Samsung smart TV to our WiFi. Any time we tried to connect a second, the connection would fail. This issue appears to have been addressed by a firmware update.

Sometimes, the TV will be connected to the WiFi, and apps that are already downloaded to the TV will work fine, but the Smart Hub will claim that the TV is not connected, and the directory of apps will not be browsable.

There are users who report that the Smart Hub crashes with some frequency. We have not experienced this issue ourselves, but it appears to be fairly widespread, and is in keeping with similar issues from years past.

Occasionally, the video on our TVs does not work. Instead, the screen goes pink and green. This most frequently occurs while trying to play files off of a USB drive, but occasionally happens with Netflix as well.

Conclusion

Samsung's 2015 smart TV platform is a good improvement over last year in term of user experience, even though the app selection is very limited at the moment. So far this year, our favorite Samsung smart TV is the Samsung JU7100. To compare that with the rest of Samsung’s lineup, head over to our list of all the Samsung TVs of 2015.

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Questions & Answers

61 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
212
My Samsung smart TV says I don't have the latest version of Flash player when I try to stream movies, and then will not download newer version.
You can't upgrade flash yourself. Samsung needs to do it and to send it in a firmware update.
76
I have a Samsung smart TV, and am looking for the sling TV app, but cannot find it. Is sling TV available on Samsung smart TVs ?
Not currently, no.
70
Our Acorn TV viewing on a Samsung Smart TV is horrible. It fails at least once per hour. Will not buy any more Samsung products as there is NO support.
Many people have had problems with the Smart Hub, so this is unfortunately a fairly typical experience. Is there anything in particular that you are trying to do and with which you're experiencing difficulty?
54
Can the Samsung smart TV connect to a wireless Bluetooth speaker?
Only Samsung smart TVs with Bluetooth (not the majority of them) can wirelessly connect to Bluetooth speakers that support Samsung Soundshare.
45
Is there a HBO Go App and does the TV support Amazon Prime Streaming?
Update: The 2015 Smart Hub supports both HBO Go and Amazon Instant Video.
33
How long does it typically take to set up smart hub on my Samsung curved smart TV (JU6700)? I've had it on the screen downloading the terms and conditions and privacy settings for at least 15 min, and it shouldn't take that long. I have fast internet, like 15mb down and 16 up, so i don't know what the problem is.
It took less than a minute. In your case, it's probably just a software issue. Try unplugging your TV from the power for about 30 seconds, then plugging it back in and trying again. If that doesn't work, contact Samsung for assistance.
30
When will Samsung fix the flash player problem?
Likely never. This is a typical issue with smart TVs, and since we haven't seen it resolved in previous years, we don't expect it will be this year either.
25
Sounds like you cannot get a keyboard so you can type in Facebook or an email, correct? Also, can you even get an email add-on, or a Facebook page with this?
There are wireless USB keyboards that are compatible with Samsung smart TVs, and they are a good deal quicker to type with than the onscreen keyboard. Unfortunately, there does not seem to be an email app available for Samsung TVs, but there is a Facebook app. If your email is available online, you could always try accessing it through the TV's web browser.
17
Why would I trust this TV? It started showing popup ads. I unplugged the internet and I will never buy Samsung again.
This was apparently an error made by Samsung, and it should now be resolved. This kind of intrusion into the viewing experience is definitely off-putting, so your anger is understandable. Thank you for sharing your feelings on this.
16
On source mirroring, I am unable to use it with my Apple products. Is there any workaround for this? Other than the Apple TV.
No, you really need an Apple TV to mirror Apple products. They are in a closed ecosystem.
14
Is there any benefit to buying Apple TV if I already have the smart tv Samsung 7100 series? And if I do buy Apple TV, does it take precedence over the Samsung apps?
Yes, an Apple TV is still useful even if you have a Samsung smart TV. You can access your iTunes library or even mirror your iPhone/iPad on the screen (something that you can't do with your Samsung TV alone). You can use both Samsung's apps and the Apple TV. An Apple TV is just like any other device connected to your TV, which you select by changing inputs. Samsung's smart interface can be bring up anytime by pressing the smart button on the remote.
11
If you don't have an internet home provider, can you still get internet on smart TVs?
No, you need to have access to internet already.
11
I have a samsung UN55JU7100FXZA model. I bought about 2 months ago, and I love the tv. Never been able to connect to wifi though for my smart hub initial setup. I've been getting by using my xbox one. My wifi is 54mbps and all my other devices work fine, just not my samsung. Please help.
We also had problems with ours initially for the wifi, so we connected it via an Ethernet cable to update the firmware. The update fixed our wifi issue on it.
10
Is there a Hulu app available?
Yes.
10
Is there an additional cost to connecting to the internet with the Samsung TV browser?
No. You can browse for free once your TV is connected to the network.
10
How do I find the Xfinity app for On Demand in the hub? I've looked but can't locate it. I've tried streaming from the browser, but it states that Flash is needed to play the video.
It's currently not available for this year's TVs.
10
I have lost my TV channels and cannot seem to get them back. I tried to import them again. The search runs looking for cable channels but comes back with zero. Other TV's in the house are working fine, why not my smart TV suddenly?
We've never encountered this issue before, so we're not sure what the cause might be. We recommend contacting Samsung for direct assistance troubleshooting.
9
How can I zoom out the web browser page on my Samsung TV? The page is too big and we can't even search or close any page we open.
In the browser, click the 'Menu' button, then click 'Zoom' and select 'Fit to Screen.'
7
When will Sling be launched as an app on the Smart Hub?
There's no announced date, so if it is coming, it won't be for a while.
6
I have DirecTV. Will I be able to receive all the stations that I now have? I have HBO, Showtime, and ESPN, as well as Local NBC, CBS ABC, and FOX. I have Apple computers linked by WiFi to Century Link phone service. I am looking at JS8500 and JU6500. Will this work?
Your channel subscription won't be affected by the TV you choose, so either would work fine.
5
I have two houses. One with Xfinity cable and internet, and the other with internet (from another company) and no cable. Can I pull up my xfinity cable channels through Samsung's browser and watch TV (which is what I can do using a laptop) at the house with no cable?
The JU7100's browser isn't officially supported. It's possible that it could work, but we don't have Xfinity Connect to try it out, so we can't be sure either way.
5
Do any of the Samsung Smart TVs enable you to sync with Netflix and YouTube through a keyboard? In other words, how is it possible to avoid needing to navigate with arrows?
Yes, you can connect a wireless USB keyboard to any of the Tizen TVs, which allows for easier text input in your apps. For the TVs with a point-and-click remote, you can also navigate by moving the remote in the air and then clicking on the letters you want.
4
Will this get cable TV from wifi instead of paying for another cable port?
No.
4
I have a Samsung curved TV. Can I run HBO Now on this TV? Maybe through the web browser, or another way?
The browser can't run HBO Now, because the service uses Flash Video. You can connect a PC and use its browser to watch HBO Now, though, or you can connect an Apple TV or Sling TV device. It's also likely that Samsung will get HBO Now support at some point, though that may not be for a while.
4
Can the web browser be used at fullscreen (without nav bars, etc)?
Yes. Go to the browser Menu and open 'Settings.' Then, under 'Hide Tabs and Toolbar automatically,' select 'Use.' With that selected, the Tabs and Toolbar will only be visible when you move the pointer to the top of the screen.
4
It would appear that Acorn TV is not available on my Samsung UN55JU6500. Is that true? Would you expect it to become available? Thanks in advance!
It's not available for Samsung's UHD TVs, and there's unfortunately no timeline for when it will be.
3
I've seen people be able to watch ESPN video on Samsung tablets. Can you screen-mirror and watch ESPN3 or other ESPN video on a Samsung Smart TV? Or is the flash issue still a problem?
Update: It is possible to mirror ESPN3 to Samsung smart TVs.
3
Do all of your smart TVs have the ability to access Skype? We are looking at a 32" one.
Samsung TVs with the Tizen smart features do, but so far we haven't found other brands that let you use Skype.
3
My smart apps Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, YouTube (these are the only ones I use) seem to crash or freeze. I then have to call Samsung and they reload the app. This is getting tiresome, at least every 2 weeks. I would ditch it for Roku 4 or Fire Tv but unlike their advertisements they do not truly support or display 4k. My Samsung does. I bought the 65 in 4k curved just for 4k, so I am stuck with Samsung. Has this problem occurred often?
We don't have much reports about this but if reinstalling apps doesn't help, try to reset the TV to factory defaults (Menu - Support - Self Diagnosis - Reset) and update the TV to the latest firmware (Menu - Support - Software Update) then reinstall your apps once more.
3
I tried mirroring my PC screen to the Samsung J5200 after installing suggested software but it did not work - the software running on my laptop did not find the TV. It seems Smart View is useless to me. In theory with this I should be able to view my PC screen on the TV without using a cable or AppleTV or Roku. Any advice?
On the J5200, screen mirroring is available for mobile devices but not for laptops (SmartView). You would need an external device to achieve screen mirroring with your laptop.
3
Will I be able to get Sling TV on my Samsung SUHDTV Series 7 if I subscribe? If not, would I be able to get it by using Roku streaming stick?
The Sling TV app is not available for the SUHD TVs, but you'll be able to get it with any of the current Roku devices.
2
Thank you. What about getting a Gmail email add-on and accessing it through the browser. Could I send and receive mail that way?
At present, there is no Gmail add-on for Samsung smart TVs. You can, though, send and receive your emails by logging into Gmail with the browser.
2
I am a real movie buff and TV addict. Which best serves my needs, the Sony X850C or Samsung UN75JU7100? I will be buying the 75" either way. Thank you.
The Sony X850C has better blacks, so if all you want to do is watch movies and TV, it's the better choice.
2
I just bought the UN65J6300, will this TV hookup to a DirectTV whole house Genie wirelessly? Also does it have a camera built in or can I add a Samsung camera to it? Lastly, can I upgrade the stock remote to the voice command remote?
Yes, it will. It doesn't have a camera, but you can add the Samsung TV Camera if you'd like. You are not able to upgrade to the smart remote, unfortunately. Only the JU6700 and higher models can use those.
2
Great site. Does the JU7100 have the Verizon Fios app like older Samsungs did?
No. That app was discontinued.
2
I use a thumb drive on an ancient Boxee to watch movies on my just-as-old Samsung DLP. It plays MKV, MP4, AVI, FLAC, and other vid formats. Can the smart features of a new Samsung play any of these formats using either its USB port or through a Cat6 connection to my home server?
If Samsung can't, can you recommend another brand with really smart SmartTV features?
The Samsung TV we tested could play all of those file formats via USB, but keep in mind that some of those file types are only containers. It's possible to have a compatible container, but an incompatible file codec, which would result in the file being unable to play.
2
When I got to the web browser on my Samsung smart TV, and press the remote control, the onscreen keyboard don't show up. Instead, the history web pages are listed. Therefore, I can't enter a new URL. I can only pick from the history. Anyways to get the onscreen keyboard back?
We were unable to recreate your issue. This sounds like a bug with the software. You can try to reset the browser settings, to do so click the 3 lines at the top right of the browser to access the menu, and select 'Settings'->'General'->'Reset Settings'.
1
Can you watch iTunes movies or play games from the Mac App Store on this?
No. For iTunes, you will need to buy an Apple TV.
1
The second question asks if there is an HBO GO app and your answer is "Yes". I have a 2015 model UN65JU670D and cannot find an HBO GO app. No Showtime app, either. Is there more than one version of the 2015 Smart Hub?
That question was asked in 2014, and the 2014 Smart Hub did have HBO Go. The 2015 platform still does not. We've now updated the answer to reflect this.

Update: The 2015 Smart Hub now supports HBO Go.
1
Can I use the new Intel streaming stick with my Samsung Smart TV?
Yes.
1
Does Samsung have, or plan to add, a FSTV (free speech television) app, like the one ROKU has?
It doesn't currently have it, and there's no list of upcoming apps available for us to see if it's coming.
1
I am purchasing the JS8500 model and I want to know if the WWE app is available. Thanks.
Yes, it is.
1
We bought a UN55JU6400 55-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV (2015 Model) and I want to know if I can program my Samsung remote to work with my Time Warner cable box DVR? I can't see anywhere in menu or settings how to do this.
You can't use the Samsung remote to control the cable box but you can do the opposite (use cable box remote to control the TV). Take a look at the Time Warner instructions here.
1
I mirror my laptop and my desktop PC to my Samsung TVs all the time while using the ESPN app. I've done so using screen mirroring that's built into the TV and also by using a Microsoft Adaptor on another model that doesn't support mirroring itself. I do this to watch ESPN3-only games on one of the big screens.
Thanks for letting us know! We'll update the answers accordingly.
1
Is the showtime anytime app available? If not, that would be absurd. Thanks
No it is not. Supported devices are detailed here.
0
With web browsing, will I then be able to watch conferences or church services on Livestream? I do not think these TVs come with this app pre-installed.
We didn't test that website, but it probably works.
0
I'm blind, and purchased the JU7500 TV because a Samsung representative told me that it would have some voice guidance features: in other words, the menus would be read using a text-to-speech voice. I don't have the TV set up yet, so I haven't been able to confirm this. My question is this: is there a way to purchase a dumb remote, if you will, that has physical buttons instead of the touchpad? Short of that, will I be able to control any TV functions with the remote provided by my cable company? Thanks!
You can use a regular Samsung remote instead of the Smart remote. If your cable company's remote is programmable, you'll likely also be able to set that up to control the TV.
0
Does Samsung smart TV work without cables? Do I need cable for smart TV?
The software is in the TV, so you would just need to connect your TV to your wireless network to get it running. And no, you don't need cable.
0
Why does the Samsung (online) App store say an app is available for my TV (UN65JU7100FXZA), like Ultraflix, but when I try to search for it on the Smart hub, the app isn't there to download? I just bought the TV two days ago, and I have the latest version -1222.
It doesn't appear on our JU7100 either, so it's just not available yet.
0
I am able to use AT&T Uverse to watch live TV on my Samsung Galaxy 5. Will I be able to access Uverse in the same way to watch shows on the TV?
There's currently no equivalent Uverse app available for Samsung TVs, but you can connect a different device to the TV to get that option, if you want. A list of devices with the Uverse app can be found here.
0
I have a samsung 55 inch 6300. Can I download my own apps from an app store or the ones I choose from samsung .
All the apps you can use with the J6300 are under the smart menu 'Apps'. You can't select another apps store.
0
I have Google Fiber. Will the Samsung TVs be able to show my programs without being physically connected to the network or TV box itself? Do the Samsung TVs have independent tuners that allow them to capture broadcast TV?
Smart Samsung TVs can access content of streaming apps wirelessly but any cable box will need to be physically connected to the TV. All Samsung TVs have tuners that work with over-the-air antennas.
0
Will the JU7100 work with DISH Network? Nothing is mentioned about it except for cable programming.
Yes, DISH will work fine.
0
Just bought model UN55J620D which does not have Bluetooth. Can I connect a wireless keyboard via the USB port?
Yes, a regular wireless USB keyboard will work fine.
0
I have one of these (J5500) that came with a dumb control, can I buy a smart one?
No. The TV isn't compatible with the smart remotes.
0
Are JS7000s compatible with smart remotes?
Unfortunately, no, they aren't.
0
When using the browser app on the J6300 it seems impossible to move the cursor from the username field to the password field. Once the keyboard opens to enter info into the username field, there is no way to exit to jump to the password field, as "Done" assumes you've entered all info. Is there a way to do this that I'm not seeing?
No, that's the same as our experience has been. It might be worth contacting Samsung, just in case there is some hidden feature we're both not seeing, but it seems like a limitation of the system.
0
Any chance the JU6500 will be compatible with the touch remote?
It isn't impossible that it become compatible with a firmware upgrade since the TV already offer some kind of bluetooth connectivity but we don't have any information pointing to such future improvement.
0
I have 2015 55” JS7000 SUHD TV, is it compatible with Smart Remote? I found Samsung motion control useless. Is there an aftermarket point and click remote which could work with my TV?
The JS7000 isn't compatible with the smart remote but you can use any other basic universal remote with it like any of the Logitech Harmony remote.
0
My JS7000 SUHD TV's Tizen browser asks for Flash plugin when playing videos on ABC news website while I can play the same video in Apple Safari and MS Edge in html5 video format (both don't support Flash). Why doesn't the ABC news site feed the Samsung browser html5 video?
It really depends on how the website has been coded. Most of the browsers offered in smart TV platforms have problems with Flash. Unfortunately, unlike for computers, there is no option to update or install individual plugins.
0
HBO Go is now available.
We've updated the answers about whether it's available. Thanks!
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