If you own a 2016 or newer model Samsung Smart TV, or a Samsung Galaxy Mobile phone, one of the things you have access to is Samsung TV Plus. This free streaming service provides access to over 160 linear streaming channels that you can watch in real-time, similar to watching broadcast or cable TV. However, local TV channels are not included.
To access TV Plus on a compatible Samsung Smart TV, just locate and tap on the TV Plus app icon on the TV’s navigation bar at the bottom of the screen and start watching.
On a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, if it isn’t already included, go to the Galaxy or Google Play apps store and search for Samsung TV Plus. From there you can download and install it.
This type of streaming service is not unique as similar ones include Pluto TV, DistroTV, Vizio WatchFree, Xumo, and The Roku Channel. What Samsung TV Plus and these other services have in common is they are free to watch but with advertising. These services are available on most streaming devices, and also on web browsers.
More Ways to Access TV Plus
With no advance promotion or inclusion (so far) on the TV Plus product page, Samsung has decided to follow the lead of the above-mentioned services, by extending the reach of TV Plus beyond compatible Samsung TVs and Galaxy phones to web browsers and Chromecast Devices (which includes TVs with Chromecast built-in).
The bonus of having Chromecast support is that you can watch Samsung TV Plus from a Samsung Galaxy Android phone on your TV even if it doesn’t have Chromecast built-in but has a Chromecast media streamer plugged into an available HDMI port. There is no log-in required.
NOTE: Not all channels on Samsung TV Plus are compatible with Chromecast.
Samsung TV Plus Features
TV Plus provides access to several channel categories: News/Opinion, Sports, Kids, Comedy, Cooking/Travel, Movies, Music, Sci-Fi/Horror, Latino, and International.
Some of the more than 160 specific channels include Newsy, USA Today, Yahoo! Finance, Weather Headlines, Ion, The Baywatch Channel, Shout Factory TV, ET Live, PBS Kids, Rifftrax, Stadium, Outdoor America, The Walking Dead Universe, The Asylum, and several Vevo Video Music Channels.
Check out the full channel listing (periodically updated).
Some channels, such as Bloomberg TV, offer limited content in 4K resolution, but most are 1080p or 720p. To find out the resolution available for a specific program or movie, click on settings (gear icon) on the playback screen.
NOTE: LG has a similar service on its WebOS-based Smart TVs called LG Channels (powered by Xumo). Since LG and Samsung are arch-rivals in the TV technology space, it will be interesting to see if LG follows suit and decides to expand the availability of LG Channels to devices outside of LG smart TVs, if, for nothing else to remind Samsung that they are always watching.
Where Samsung TV Plus Fits In
There is a lot of channel overlap between Samsung’s TV Plus, LG Channels, Pluto TV, DistroTV, Vizio WatchFree, Xumo, The Roku Channel, and other similar linear streaming services, but there are also some differences that may be exclusive to each. However, since they are all free and available on many smart TVs, media streaming devices, smartphones, or the web, check them all out and see which one you like best.
Why Samsung is taking this step into streaming is a kind of a mystery. Are they testing the waters with an eye towards offering up some original content? Samsung is a huge company but doesn’t own a movie or TV studio. Also, it looks like all of the movie and TV studios are taken unless they start their own or shell out money to buy content from some independent studios. Either way, it would be a big task for the company to undertake.