How to use your Samsung TV

How to use your Samsung TV
(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung’s smart TVs are some of the best TVs on the market, but even Samsung's widely-known QLED smart TVs can be confusing. The Tizen smart TV operating system offers plenty of features and a wide selection of apps, but as new features are added each year, like new streaming services, more smart home options and better voice control, it can be harder than ever to know how to do basic things on your TV.

Samsung smart TVs are loaded with intelligent content suggestions, multiple voice assistants and the ability to control everything from your smart thermostat to your washing machine, but all of those neat functions bring new questions. Even simple tasks like setting up the TV for the first time or finding the menus to adjust the picture are more complicated as TVs do more, offer less familiar controls and try to do more of the thinking for you.

That's why we've put together this handy guide to walk you through solving the most common problems on Samsung smart TVs. With step-by-step instructions and illustrations of menus, we're here to make navigating your Samsung smart TV a little easier.

Which Samsung TV do you have?

Finding the right guide to help you with your TV starts with knowing what TV you have. Figuring out which model you actually have can be a little tricky, since TVs aren't usually festooned with logos and model names, but there are a couple of simple ways to find the TV's actual model number.

Once you know the model number for your TV, you can determine the year that it was made, which of our handy how-to guides apply to your set, and even search for additional support materials from Samsung.

Look for the manufacturer label on the TV itself

Look for a label on the back or side of the TV. This will usually be an unobtrusive label located near the connector panel where you'll find HDMI ports and other connections. In the labels fine print you should find the full model number for the TV, as well as the serial number for your individual unit, information about power requirements and FCC certifications, and even a phone number for customer support.

One handy tip, especially if you're setting up a new TV, is to take a picture of this label for future reference.

Find the model information in the TV's settings

You can also find model information in the TVs settings menu. On Samsung QLED TVs this is found by going to the support section under the settings menu, and looking for an option that reads "device information" or "contact Samsung", depending on which model you own.

The TV model number should be listed in the information under this tab.

How to use your Samsung TV

(Image credit: Samsung)

Getting started with your Samsung smart TV

If you've bought an LG TV in the last year, you're working with the best version of Samsung's Tizen operating system yet, and we've got instructions to walk you through the basics. This includes setting up your new Samsung QLED TV, adding or removing apps you find in the Samsung app store, updating your Samsung smart TV software and setting up the voice assistants offered on today's Samsung smart TVs. We've got step-by-step instructions that will navigate you through the settings menus and features to control your Samsung TV.

How to set up your Samsung TV
Getting started with a new Samsung QLED TV starts with a simple act of plugging it in and goes on to include setting up Wi-Fi, pairing the remote control, and connecting your home theater devices. Samsung even offers an automated setup process for use with Samsung smartphones.

How to install and remove apps on a Samsung TV
Your Samsung TV includes Samsung's extensive app store, where you can find popular apps such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney Plus. Whether you want to stream shows, enjoy pro sports, or control your smart home gadgets, you'll find the apps you need with a quick search. Here's how to find new apps for your Samsung smart TV, from browsing the Samsung app store to installing individual apps. Our guide will also walk you through the process of organizing your apps and removing unwanted services from your smart TV.

How to update the software on your Samsung TV
Keeping your Samsung smart TV firmware up to date will let you enjoy the latest new features and protect yourself from new security threats. We show you how to update your Samsung smart TV firmware and how to set up automatic updates that let you enjoy the latest without having to turn off the show you're watching.

How to set up Bixby on your Samsung TV
To enjoy the smartest aspects of your Samsung QLED TV, you'll need to set up one of the smart voice assistants available on current Samsung TVs. Of the three options supported by Samsung TVs, many people will want to opt for Samsung's Bixby assistant.

How to set up Amazon Alexa on your Samsung TV
If you prefer Amazon's voice assistant for controlling your Samsung TV, then you'll be glad to know that you don't need an Amazon Echo smart speaker to get Alexa up and running. Here's how to set up your Samsung smart TV with Amazon Alexa.

How to connect your Samsung TV to Google Assistant
You can set up your Samsung smart TV with Google Assistant, giving your TV all the same ease of use as Google's voice assistant, but without the need for a Google Home speaker. We'll walk you through the steps to get Google Assistant up and running on your Samsung smart TV.

How to AirPlay to a Samsung TV
Samsung's QLED sets support AirPlay built-in, meaning you can take advantage of the feature without an Apple TV 4K (2021) or other Apple streaming box. As long as the proper settings are in place, you can AirPlay to a Samsung TV directly from your iPhone, iPad or Mac.

Using an older Samsung TV

If your Samsung smart TV is older than this year, we still have help for you! we walk you through the ins and outs of older Samsung TVs with our 2018 Samsung settings guides. This guide answers common questions for all Samsung models using the Tizen smart TV operating system, and includes advanced features like the Bixby voice assistant. Even if you're using a model from 2017 or 2018, many of the specifics will remain the same from our 2018 guide.

Brian Westover

Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom's Guide, where he led the site's TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.