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7 smart TV operating systems: Ranked worst to best

Key Takeaways

  • LG’s WebOS and Samsung’s Tizen offer fast and simple navigation with helpful AI and virtual assistants.
  • Google TV and Roku TV provide high personalization and superior search functions.
  • Fire TV and SmartCast tend to be cheaper, but they will come with ads and promotions.

There are many factors that go into buying the best smart TV to suit your viewing needs. The screen type, size, processing power, refresh rate, and brightness, all play a role, as well they should. Often overlooked, however, is the role of a smart TV’s operating system, which greatly influences how easy or hard it is to find what you want to watch.

Smart TVs are computers, and the OS is the platform it runs on, and when you’re deciding on your next TV, it’s important not to overlook this crucial factor.

Smart TVs are computers, and the OS is the platform it runs on, and when you’re deciding on your next TV, it’s important not to overlook this crucial factor. When rating smart platforms, its important to note how easy and fast they are to navigate, what smart integrations and assistants are offered, and also how they look. After all, you’re going to be spending quite some time looking at your home screen and dashboard.


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Get the most out of your brand new flat panel via adjusting your TV’s picture, sound, and input settings will help you.

Here are the best operating systems for your smart TV, ranked from worst to best.

7 SmartCast (Vizio)

Plenty of integrations as well as advertisements

Vizio Smart TV Platform Smart cast


Vizio is most notable for offering cheap TVs, but that low upfront price comes with a cost in the backend. Nowhere is that more apparent than SmartCast, Vizio’s OS that collects a lot of data and promotes specific content and pushes advertisements.


5 things to consider before buying a Vizio TV

The budget TV brand has tempting prices, but comes with a few compromises.

While it offers the popular apps, it is among the slower platforms, so don’t expect to get where you’re going with any haste, especially if you intend to spend a lot of time scrolling to look for something to watch. It also lacks a built-in voice assistant, although you can connect your own, and the search function isn’t particularly special. It does work with Apple AirPlay and Google Chromecast, and allows you to control the TV with your voice provided your using the Voice Remote or compatible app.

Still, with the prospect of Walmart taking over Vizio, this platform becomes a lot more dubious as it potentially morphs into a commerce platform, similar to Amazon Fire, but without the perks.

6 Apple TV OS

Sleek yet minimal

Apple TV Dark mode


As anyone familiar with Apple products would expect, the company’s TV OS is beautiful, refined, and easy to use. More than any other platform, it makes every show and movie look, just by a title image.

However, it’s still sort of new and relatively lightly populated, especially compared to other platforms.


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Whether your Apple TV is suffering from serious buffering or you’re still watching in HD, here are some telling signs to upgrade.

Apple TV isn’t built into TVs either, so in order to enjoy the smart platform, you need to invest in a streaming device to connect to your TV. Apple’s TV OS naturally best integrates with Apple products, and provides access to on-demand and live content, as well as the opportunity to rent or buy newer titles.

5 Fire TV

For and by Amazon

An Amazon Fire TV Omni QLED.

Fire TV comes from Amazon, but it is often more popular as a streaming stick or device than when it’s built into TVs, mainly because the TVs it comes with tend to be smaller, cheaper, and less impressive than others. Yet, the Fire TV system is ideal for those enjoying Prime Video and all of Amazon’s other interconnected services and apps. The platform is fast, intuitive, and comes with a wide selection of popular and niche streaming services.


How to remove Prime Video’s new intrusive ads

You’ll probably have to upgrade, but you can use the web or any Prime Video app.

With Fire TV, you get the best and worst from Amazon. That includes optimizing the use of Alexa, but also welcoming a lot of ads and promotions for Amazon content and products. There has been some problems in the past with Amazon not really wanting to support competitors. While you can mirror from your phone, Fire TV does not work with Apple AirPlay or Google Chromecast.

4 Roku TV

Distinct and diverse

Roku TV showing application search screen

Roku TV has steadily moved up the ranks over the years; recent updates offer lots to be excited about, but also provide a few pauses. Overall, Roku TV is fast and easy to use, and perhaps most notably, doesn’t (yet) try to push you in any particular direction when it comes to what company’s content you should watch. However, as is a blossoming trend, it looks like ads may be coming to Roku TV home screen.


5 Roku OS features I use to get the most out of my TV

Aside from streaming, these are the five features on my Roku device I use the most.

Still, Roku boasts an impressive search function and the ability to stay organized when tracking what you want to watch right now and into the future. It comes with voice control and a versatile remote to enhance convenient control. Roku can be found on TCL, Philips, and Hisense TV models, as well as Roku streaming devices. There’s also Roku City, a unique and fun diversion that was initially a screensaver for the platform, but has since blossomed into a zen-like escape for home viewers.

3 Tizen

Samsung’s flagship system



Samsung’s smart platform boasts a lot of similar features to that of LG’s. To start, it’s found on all Samsung TVs. Like its competitors, Samsung boasts a clean and simple platform which allows users to navigate. Apps can be accessed and scrolled through at the bottom of the screen, and they can also be organized in a way that’s convenient. Depending on your perspective, the OS can either be basic or boring, but it does boast a collection of over 600 free apps available for download.


5 reasons to buy a Samsung TV over a Sony TV

An emphasis on brightness and beauty has me leaning Samsung.

Tizen makes it very easy to integrate any Samsung device, allowing you to cast or mirror from a smartphone or Galaxy Tab. It also offers Alex and Google voice assistance, as well as its own helper in Bixby. The universal search function isn’t the most helpful at times, so it’s welcome that there are virtual assistants to help with navigation. Tizen also allows, and indeed encourages, you to integrate your smart home appliances so that you can control it from the SmartThings hub.

2 Google TV

Comprehensive helper


Google TV has undergone quite a few changes in the last many years, just about all of which seem quite positive. Google TV is an updated version of Android, which may still be found on older TVs. Google TV is currently found most notably on Sony smart TVs, but it is also available on some TCL and Hisense models as well. It operates on the Android system, and offers access to the Google Play Store to download apps as well as Chromecast capabilities.

Smart TV operating systems basically come in one of two forms. They are either built in to the TV, like LG’s WebOS, or they can be integrated using a streaming stick or device that plugs into your TV. That means if you like how your current TV looks but not its OS, you can keep the unit while attaching a streaming stick.


5 Google TV tips and tricks to enhance your smart TV experience

With a few of our favorite settings and features, you can quickly elevate your Google TV and streaming experience.

Google TV offers a high level of personalization, and uses AI to help curate content selections for you. Google TV seems best poised to help anyone like myself who has a lot of shows and films they want to watch, and needs to keep things organized. It also better supports those who have Android devices at home or use a lot of Google programs. Its search function is better than most, and Google Assistant provides even more convenience.

1 LG WebOS

Fast and simple

LG webOS 2023

LG’s platform, which is found on all of its TVs, has been around for quite some time, and like many things LG does with its TVs, other companies tend to follow suit. WebOS is widely considered one of the most intuitive and easy to use, in part due to its simple interface and basic navigation. LG TVs typically come at a high price, and part of that investment goes into a smart platform that doesn’t bombard you with ads or extras.


9 game-changing features every LG TV user should use

From content organization to using your phone as a remote, LG TVs have a lot of great hidden features you’ll wish you used sooner.

WebOS underwent a redesign a few years back, moving around the placement of apps and offering a dashboard at the bottom of the screen, while still maintaining its refined aesthetic.

It also supports virtual assistants in the form of Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as its own built-in ThinQ AI, which helps manage your LG-compatible smart home. LG offers a decent-size collection of apps, including access to major streaming services, though it lacks some nice options, like Crunchyroll. It supports Apple AirPlay, but only models from this year forward will support Chromecast.

Smart platforms are an important factor in determining what TV suits you best. Whether it’s built in to the model or comes via an attached streaming device, the best OS allows you to easily and quickly find exactly what you want to watch, when you want to watch it.

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