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Got a new Samsung smart TV? Here are the best apps to download
While many companies have adopted Roku, Fire TV, or Google TV for their native TV interfaces, Samsung is sticking to its guns with Tizen. That means Samsung sets are sometimes missing apps you’d find elsewhere, but if you do your homework, you can cover a reasonably full range of content. Here are our picks for the best Samsung smart TV apps to download.
The best Samsung smart TV apps:
Samsung TV Plus
In an era when just about everything seems to come with a monthly fee, Samsung TV Plus is a breath of fresh air. Samsung’s app offers a unique, regionally-based mix of content at no cost. Viewers in the United States are the best off, with over 250 channels to choose from plus a selection of on-demand content, but there are more than 500 total channels worldwide. Your TV may ship with the app pre-installed.
Price: $9.99 per month
You could easily substitute services like Netflix or Hulu here. If you have access, though, Max has one of the strongest lineups in streaming. It has a great movie selection — like the Extended Edition of the Lord of the Rings trilogy — and shows you won’t find elsewhere, such as Watchmen, Peacemaker, and A Black Lady Sketch Show. Note that the entry $9.99 fee is ad-based, and limited to two screens at 1080p resolution, without any option for downloads. You’ll have to pay for the Ad-Free or Ultimate Ad-Free packages to upgrade those features, and only the Ultimate tier includes 4K and Dolby Atmos. You may already have Max for free if you’re an HBO channel subscriber or a high-tier AT&T customer.
Price: Free / Plex Pass for $4.99 per month
Plex is less an app than a way to amass your own media fortress. You can stream more than 600 free TV channels, enjoy a selection of free on-demand content, and — here’s the key — access all of your local video files if you install Plex Media Server (also free) on Windows, Mac, Linux, or even network-attached storage (NAS).
It’s often the cheapest way to cut the cord, but you might still consider paying $4.99 per month for a Plex Pass subscription. That enables features like hardware transcoding, HDR tone mapping, and the option to skip TV intros. The main attraction may be offline media sync with mobile devices — if you’ve ever wanted to load up your tablet with movies from your personal library, this is the simplest way to do it. You can opt for annual ($39.99) or lifetime ($119.99) Plex Passes to save money.
Price: Free / Spotify Premium varies
Though other music services like Pandora and Apple Music have a footprint on Samsung TVs, Spotify is undoubtedly the king. Overall, its TV app functions much like the mobile one, just adapted to a TV’s larger size and remote control. If you don’t want to download the app for whatever reason, you can always stream from your phone to your TV with SmartThings.
Price: Usually free
You can always scan local TV channels for the weather, but there’s something to be said for a dedicated app like AccuWeather. AccuWeather offers forecasts, radar views, and severe weather alerts for free, at least if you live in a large city. If you find yourself in a rural area, you may have to pay a fee for full access. You can also save multiple locations, and access the app in 12 languages.
Steam is practically the default store for PC gaming, but what if you want to take the action to the big screen? Steam Link allows you to do just that, and it doesn’t cost a dime. The games aren’t necessarily free of course, but you probably already have a few favorite titles in your Steam library. You’ll also want a compatible Xbox, PlayStation, or Steam controller, as well as the fastest possible network connection between your TV, router, and computer.
See also: The best games on Steam
Movies often take a while to get to your favorite subscription services if they make it all, so rentals and purchases are occasionally unavoidable. Fandango’s Vudu is one of the best places to hunt for new releases, and it offers some free content to boot through a limited quantity of ad-supported movies and TV shows.
Price: $11.99 per month plus equipment
Echelon’s FitPass provides access to tons of studio classes and diverse workouts, typically ranging in length from 10 to 45 minutes. While the company is mostly interested in getting you to buy its fitness machines, categories like strength, kickboxing, yoga, and HIIT (high-intensity interval training) let you use your own personal equipment or none at all.
See also: The best workout apps for Android
This one is a must-have and probably already downloaded, since SmartThings is Samsung’s smart home platform. The app is generally meant to link together the company’s own products, but you can also connect accessories from companies like Ring, Ecobee, and Arlo. Voice assistant options include Bixby, Amazon Alexa, and Google Assistant. It also works with Matter-ready accessories.
Tubi is an entirely free way to access movies and TV shows, though you do have to put up with ads and sort through a sea of mediocre titles to find the gems. Indeed you’ll sometimes find movies on Tubi that are hard to find elsewhere, like Dario Argento’s original Suspiria. It’s worth keeping in handy for those obscure movies that make it to your JustWatch list.
The TED app offers curated talks by some of the world’s smartest people. It’s a completely free experience, and you can dive into playlists to see some of the best TED talks of all time. There are currently more than 1,100 videos available.