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Samsung Smart TVs set for Tizen OS, PlayStation Now streaming

Samsung's first Tizen-powered smart TVs are set for a CES reveal, and should also let you stream PlayStation games

Samsung has confirmed that all its 2015 Smart TVs will be built around the Tizen operating system, the open-source platform Samsung itself had a hand in creating, and will be getting an official reveal at this year’s CES 2015 show in Las Vegas next week.

Switching to Tizen is Samsung’s effort to break its reliance on Google’s Android operating system, which has already become the defacto standard for smartphones and is rapidly gaining traction in smart TVs too. The company had tried to launch Tizen smartphones last year to limited success in certain territories, but we have yet to see a Tizen handset in the UK, meaning a Smart TV could be our first look at the operating system in action.

“Building our Smart Platform around Tizen is a groundbreaking step towards a much more intelligent and integrated system,” Won Jin Lee, Samsung’s Executive Vice President of Visual Displays, said in a statement. “Tizen not only enriches the entertainment experience for our customers today, but unlocks great potential for the future in home entertainment.”

TIzen TVs will use Bluetooth Low Energy to automatically search for any Samsung smartphones in the home and connect to them, letting you control the TV with your handset or beam live TV to your smartphone with Wi-Fi Direct. Apparently this will be possible even if the TV is in standby.

It’s perhaps no coincidence that the single Tizen smart TV screenshot released so far looks a lot like LG’s WebOS operating system, with a row of icons across the bottom of the screen combining apps, TV channels and shortcuts. The two companies are fierce rivals across all markets, not just TV, so it will be interesting to see how different the two systems work in practice. LG’s magic wand remote suits WebOS well, but Samsung will likely stick with a traditional directional pad remote.

Although Tizen is still mostly an unknown commodity, there’s at least one new feature prospective TV buyers should be looking forward to; PlayStation Now game streaming. Currently limited to North America, PlayStation Now will let you pair a DualShock 4 controller to the TV via Bluetooth and play PlayStation 3 titles over the internet. We’re still waiting for the service to launch in the UK, but we’ve been impressed with the visual quality and low latency when playing in the US.

We’ll be taking a closer look at the TV OS and its game streaming capailities once the show opens on Monday.

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