Samsung is about to make the best cheap TVs much better – here's how

Samsung joins LG in licensing its smart TV interface to other TV manufacturers

Tizen TV
(Image credit: Samsung)

One of the things that elevates the best TVs is their software: no matter how great the hardware, a crappy operating system or an unfriendly interface can ruin the experience. And some of the best smart TV interfaces right now are on the best Samsung TVs and the best LG TVs, which feature Tizen and webOS respectively.

Wouldn't it be great if you could get that experience on cheaper TVs? Soon, you'll be able to. Samsung has announced (opens in new tab) that it'll be licensing its Tizen smart TV system to other manufacturers, "allowing more consumers to enjoy a premium smart TV experience".

We're not talking the world's biggest brands here, although there are a couple of recognisable names such as Akai and RCA. Other firms include Bauhn, Linsar, Vispera, Sunny and Axen. The first such TVs will go on sale in Australia imminently, with other countries – New Zealand, Spain, Türkiye and the UK – following suit later this year.

What TV tech is Samsung selling?

Samsung is licensing its TV OS and key features including Samsiung TV Plus, its free streaming TV and video platform; its Universal Guide, which provides a consistent interface across multiple streaming apps; and Bixby, Samsung's personal digital assistant with voice control. 

Samsung isn't the only tech giant doing this. LG licences its webOS too, and has done since last year. Once again it's budget brands that make up the majority of licensees: Konka, Blaupunkt, Seiki and so on.

According to the Korea Economic Daily, LG isn't doing this out of the goodness of its heart. "Our medium to long-term strategy is focused on transforming into a software company," a senior LG Electronics executive said. "We can't survive by selling devices only." Samsung is likely to be thinking along similar lines: if it can't sell you the TV, then at least it can get you into its ecosystem.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).