Since the middle of April there is a new app in Germany called “Samsung TV Plus” with which you can watch over 90 TV channels on the go and at home for free. However, the offer does not come completely without restrictions, as TECHNOLOGY BUTTON found out in the app check.
Television over the Internet, the so-called IPTV, is booming. More and more users are doing without a classic connection via cable, satellite or DVB-T2 and instead watch their TV program via app. Suppliers such as waipu.tv and Zattoo are already established brands here. The reception of private channels such as RTL, ProSieben and Co. costs, however. A new Samsung app, on the other hand, is completely free of charge. “Samsung TV Plus offers 100 percent free television. No catch. ”A pretty big promise that the manufacturer makes to its users. But can the company comply with it and how conveniently can the new app be used on the smartphone?
What program selection does Smart TV Plus offer?
Samsung promises access to over 90 free channels with its app. And the range is actually very extensive. The channels are divided into genres for a better overview. In addition to films, there is also music & art, entertainment, news & documentaries, sports, children and much more. Favorite channels can be set up as favorites in the user profile and users can also manage the program reminders here.
Due to the scope of the channels offered, we do not list each individual in this news. Samsung itself has created an overview in which you can also find brief explanations of the various channels. The station list can be viewed here as a PDF .
Well-known channels that can be accessed via Samsung TV Plus include the Auto Motor Sport Channel, CNN, various themed channels from Rakuten TV (comedies, documentaries, dramas, etc.), Focus TV and Spiegel TV, MTV, and Netzkino as well Children’s channels like Nick Rewind and Nick Pluto TV. There is even a special channel for the various episodes of SpongeBob SquarePants.
Samsung TV Plus cannot be installed on every device
The app has been around for a while, but it has recently been officially available in Germany. Samsung offers them free of charge for download both in the Google Play Store and in its own app shop. However, Samsung TV Plus can only be used by owners of a Samsung device. According to the device list, Samsung TVs from 2016 as well as Galaxy smartphones with Android 9 Pie and higher are supported – i.e. the models in the Galaxy S10, S20, S21, Note 10 and Note 20 series.
We tried them on the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
It doesn’t work without registration
Once installed, the app can be used once the data protection rules have been confirmed. Registration is not initially required – many live programs can thus be streamed from the start. Samsung’s statement that you don’t have to register is not always true. Because with some channels there is a note that you have to log into the app separately with your Google account or Samsung account in order to be able to watch them. We noticed this, for example, with the content for children. Funny, you would expect that the adult program with a login would have to be protected from eyes that are too young. But also the offer of Netzkino is only available to viewers after registration.
The films and documentaries are not available on demand in the Samsung TV Plus app. Rather, the program is played one after the other in each station. As with linear TV, users have to switch on in good time if they don’t want to miss anything. At least a reminder can be set in time for the start of a film.
Advertising and image quality
The problem, however, is that it is often impossible to tell in the app which film is currently playing. Often the content is only divided into genres, for example as a family film, science fiction or simply as a feature film. The advertisements are also ugly, but to be expected with a free offer. At the start of a program or in between, short advertising clips are faded in from time to time. Overall, however, the advertising was still within limits.
If you swivel the smartphone, the film is automatically displayed in full screen mode. The quality of the streams fluctuates. With newer films and programs, the playback quality is mostly good and sharp enough for the 6.8-inch display of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. However, there are also various titles that are older. These can be black and white films from the 1920s or older, but also productions from the 1960s to 1980s that do not yet have such a high resolution. Here you can sometimes see individual pixels on the smartphone, the poor image quality should be even more evident on the TV set.
Conclusion: Samsung TV Plus can definitely be worth it
To be honest, we went into the app test with little expectations. In the end, however, Samsung TV Plus made a positive impression. One of the biggest flaws is that the app can only be used by owners of a Samsung device so far. And the missing program details in the smartphone app make the search for special titles a little difficult. We also didn’t like the fact that you have to register for certain channels – Samsung had promised otherwise.
We rate the fact that Samsung displays advertisements between the streams neutrally. This is to be expected with a free offer and we even found the advertising to be less aggressive than the one that is now displayed on YouTube.
However, Samsung TV Plus is not a replacement for Zattoo or waipu.tv. The classic TV channels of the public and private broadcasters are missing. Rather, the app is suitable for occasional viewing of programs, or for those who want to watch news, for example on CNN, in between. For being free, the Samsung TV Plus app offers a lot of power.