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Tizen OS

The screen comes on and the menu pops up. As I am scrolling through the different options, I am struck by how similar the interface is to that of Samsung's smart TV from last year.

There is a primary text window for settings such as network or display. Tap on it and you get a sub-menu of additional options, and clicking further takes you to yet another another sub-menu. If you want to leave this menu, keep hitting the Back button.

It is quite an old type of presentation that only fills up the middle of the screen, and nothing about it screams out that you are using Samsung's proprietary Tizen operating system (OS) on its 2015 smart TVs.

In fact, there is not even a logo shown during the TV's start-up.

The palm-size remote offers gesture control via a pointer, on top of the directional buttons. So it is a surprise that Samsung did not update its menu to incorporate this pinpoint accuracy ability.

Press the Smart button on the remote and a taskbar-like menu pops up, giving you access to the TV's smart apps. Tapping on the main menu takes you to the app store, where you can download more apps.

Pressing the Menu button gives you the traditional options, such as switching between the different sources and accessing the TV's main settings.

If you prefer a traditional numerical controller, there is one available as an on-screen pop-up, which you can use with the pointer.

Compared to the other two TV OSes, there seems nothing exceptional about the Tizen OS. Android TV offers links to let you buy movies from the Play store, and even has recommendations for new YouTube videos based on your viewing history.

LG's webOS 2.0 is more interactive, offering gesture controls to navigate the menus.

Where Samsung's OS shines is in setting the TV to receive content-streaming services. While all three systems are limited by the range of content-streaming apps due to geographical restrictions, Samsung offers the easiest way to access those apps.

Streaming apps such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video offer 4K movies and TV shows via their apps. These come pre-installed in markets where the service is being offered. Singapore users just have to set their 4K TVs with the United States as the location.

Here are the steps with the Samsung OS:

Select TV as the source. Press the Menu button on the remote and select System, then Setup. Continue with the Setup until you get to the Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy page.

Hit the following sequence on your remote: Mute, Return, Volume +, Channel Up and Mute.Select US. Picking one country installs the apps available in that market, but it also removes apps not meant for that market.

Complete the Setup and the OS will install the apps, including Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and more.

With other smart TVs, more steps are required to get the same result.

One more thing. The ability to switch regions is also available on Samsung smart TVs from 2014, so it is not a unique Tizen feature.

Sherwin Loh

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 14, 2015, with the headline 'Tizen OS'. Print Edition | Subscribe