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Enhancing Your TV Using the Samsung WatchON App on the Galaxy Tab 3

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You can use the IR blaster built into your Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to remotely control your TV. Samsung pre-installed the Samsung WatchON app onto the Tab 3 so you can set up the Tab 3 to work with your TV and set-top box as well as get the latest show information within the app. In this article, you’ll learn how to set up the WatchON app to work with both your TV set and your set-top box, which in this example is a cable box. Next, you’ll learn how to view TV programs and movies within the app in a variety of categories and also on your own personalized TV page. Then you’ll learn how to open the remote control tray to change the volume and channels on your set-top box. Finally, you’ll learn how to change the remote control options so you can control your TV and set-top box separately.
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Samsung pre-installs two different apps that allow you to control your TV and your set-top box, such as a cable box, from your Galaxy Tab 3. One is Peel Smart Remote, which you can learn about in another Galaxy Tab 3 online article on the Que Publishing website. The other is Samsung WatchON, and you may want to read this article as well as the Peel Smart Remote article to determine which TV remote control app is best for you.

Before you can use WatchON, you need to set it up so it works with your TV and/or set-top box. Note that you have to have a working Internet connection (either through a data provider or through Wi-Fi) for the WatchON app to work.

Set Up WatchON

Open the app by tapping the Apps icon in the Home screen; within the Apps screen, swipe to the second page and then tap the WatchON icon shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Tap the WatchON icon within the second page of the Apps screen

The introductory window appears as shown in Figure 2. You can view all introductory pages within the window by swiping back and forth on the screen. When you finish viewing the introduction, tap the OK button at the bottom of the window.

Figure 2 If you don’t want to see the introductory screen when you open the WatchON app in the future, tap the Do Not Show Again checkbox

Now you see the Channel List Setup screen so you can find your service provider. Type your ZIP code in the Enter ZIP Code field using the keypad shown in Figure 3. When you’re finished, tap the Go button in the keypad.

Figure 3 The keypad appears at the bottom of the screen

After a few seconds, the Channel List Setup window appears as shown in Figure 4 and includes a list of service providers in your ZIP code. Tap the provider in the list and then tap the Next button. For this example, I’ll tap Comcast San Andreas because that’s the service I use.

Figure 4 Tap the service provider in your area within the list

Now that your setup is complete, set up your Tab 3 to be used as a universal remote control by tapping the Next button in the Setup Complete window shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5 If you don’t want to use the Tab 3 as a remote control, tap the Save and Exit button

To set up your Tab 3 as a remote, you need to point the side with the IR blaster toward the TV. On all three Tab 3 models, the IR blaster is located on the same side as the power and volume buttons. When you’ve pointed the correct side of the Tab 3 toward the TV, tap the OK button at the bottom of the Watch On TV screen shown in Figure 6.

Figure 6 Set up the Tab 3 as a TV remote by pointing the IR blaster toward your TV

In the Remote Control Setup window that appears (see Figure 7), select your TV brand in the list; you can view the entire list by swiping up and down within the window. If you don’t see your TV brand, tap the All Brands checkbox and then swipe up and down in the list to view the expanded list of TV brands.

Figure 7 View the entire list of TV brands by swiping up and down in the list

When you find the brand of your TV, tap the brand name in the list and then tap the Next button in the window.

Now that you’ve selected your TV brand, tap the Turn On Your TV button within the window as shown in Figure 8.

Figure 8 If you can’t turn on your TV using the Tab 3, tap the Send Us Report link at the bottom of the window

After you tap the button, the Turn On TV window appears (see Figure 9) and asks you if your TV turned on. If your TV turned on, then tap the OK button. If your TV didn’t turn on, tap the Retry button to see if the next model code contained in the app turns on your TV.

Figure 9 The Turn On TV window tells you how many different models you can test for your selected TV brand

Once your TV turns on, tap the OK button in the Turn On TV window. The Setup Complete window appears as shown in Figure 10 and informs you that you’ll set up your set-top box next. Tap the OK button in the window to continue.

Figure 10 If you don’t want to set up the set-top box, tap the Cancel button

The Remote Control Setup window returns (see Figure 11) and displays your set-top box, which in this example is the cable box that sits next to my TV as part of the Comcast TV service. The app should reflect the set-top box you use based on the service provider you chose. If you don’t see the set-top box you use, tap the All Brands checkbox and then search for your set-top box brand in the list. View all the set-top box brands by swiping up and down in the window.

Figure 11 View all set-top box brands in the window by tapping the All Brands checkbox

After you tap the set-top box brand in the list, tap the Next button at the bottom of the window. The next screen shown in Figure 12 invites you to switch to the next channel by tapping the Go To Next Channel button. Before you tap the button, make sure your set-top box is already on so you can test the connection between your set-top box and the Tab 3.

Figure 12 If the app doesn’t work with your set-top box, send a report to Samsung by tapping the Send Us Report link at the bottom of the window

After you tap the button, the Change Channel window appears (see Figure 13) and asks if the channel changed to the next channel. For example, if you were originally viewing channel 3 then you should see what’s on channel 4. If the channel changed successfully, tap the OK button. If the channel didn’t change, tap Retry to send another code for your set-top box stored in the WatchON app.

Figure 13 The Change Channel window tells you how many models you can test for your selected set-top box brand

After you successfully change the channel and tap the OK button in the Change Channel window, the Congratulations window appears as shown in Figure 14 so you can finish the setup process by tapping the Confirm button.

Figure 14 Change the TV and set-top box settings by tapping the Reset button

Browse TV Shows and Movies

Now you see featured TV programs and movies on TV from your service provider within the On TV page on the screen shown in Figure 15. You know you’re in the On TV page because the page button is blue within the menu bar at the top of the screen (just below the Status Bar).

Figure 15 Tap on a tile to get more information about the TV show or movie on the screen

The Categories bar at the bottom of the screen allows you to view shows in four different categories:

  • Favorites: Opens the Favorites screen so you can view all your favorite movies, TV shows, and channels.
  • TV Guide: Opens the TV guide screen so you can view all TV shows that are being broadcast in the current half-hour block, such as between 6:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. You can also view previous and upcoming half-hour blocks so you can get more information about a show you missed and/or get information about upcoming shows.
  • Timeline: Shows a list of favorite TV shows that are currently playing during the current hour as well as popular shows that will air during upcoming hours of the day.
  • Genres: Opens the Genres page so you can view shows currently playing within the current half-hour within a specific show type category. By default, you view all the shows in the Action/Adventure category, but you can also view shows in many other categories such as News, Comedy, and Drama.

When you open one of these category pages, you can return to the On TV page within the Samsung WatchON screen by pressing the Back button or tapping the WatchON icon at the far left side of the menu bar.

In the On TV page, swipe from right to left to view featured TV shows and movies you can get on demand (for a price) in the On Demand page. The Categories bar on this page allows you to view titles in the Favorites, Featured, Movies, and TV Shows categories.

Use WatchON as a Remote

You can use the WatchON app as a remote control by tapping the Remote icon at the far right side of the menu bar. The TV control tray appears in a dark gray area on the right side of the screen as shown in Figure 16. This area contains a power button, buttons for changing the volume and channels, and a numeric keypad for adding a channel number directly.

Figure 16 The down arrow appears at the bottom of the TV control tray

Turn on the TV and set-top box at the same time by pointing the Tab 3’s IR blaster at the TV set and then pressing the power button at the top of the tray. When you change channels, you do so on the set-top box; the volume buttons control the volume on the TV.

Since the TV and set-top box have separate controls, such as TV controls for changing the picture, you can change specific TV and set-top box settings by tapping the down arrow at the bottom of the TV control tray that you saw in Figure 16. The Room control tray appears as shown in Figure 17.

Figure 17 Control the set-top box by tapping the Set Top button

By default, you can change TV settings by using the control keypad buttons on the screen including the arrow buttons for getting around and the OK button to confirm a selection on your TV screen. If you use your TV to control an external device connected to your TV, such as a DVD or Blu-Ray player, then you can use the playback control buttons below the keypad buttons. At the bottom of the tray you may also see some additional buttons for changing TV settings.

You can change set-top box settings by tapping the Set Top (or STB) button. The remote control options for this box mirrors what you see on your set-top box standalone remote control. For example, you can tap the Info button for getting information about the program you’re watching and tap one of four pre-set buttons to access different features on your cable box.

Close the tray by either pressing the Back button or by tapping the Remote icon in the menu bar.

Note that if you want to change more settings, you can press the Menu button and then tap Settings in the menu. Within the Settings screen, you can add another television and/or cable box to control, add parental controls, view and change all shared devices connected through the Media Hub app, as well as check how much storage you have on your Tab 3 for storing multimedia files.

That’s a Wrap

The WatchON app contains more functions that haven’t been covered in this whirlwind tour, so take some time to set up the app yourself and explore all the app features so you can have the Tab 3 at the center of your digital life.

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