Feeds

Remember Palm's WebOS? LG does – check out its smart TVs

We talk to Silicon Valley devs about new smarties

Business security measures using SSL

Feature There’s nothing particularly clever about most smart TVs. While their Internet connected functionality is undeniably useful, the user experience is clunky at best, with apps and streaming services typically kettled away from everyday operation.

But LG’s webOS connected platform is different. Debuting on around 70 per cent of the brand’s 2014 connected sets, it effectively reinvents the Smart TV experience. The aim, hypes LG, is to make TVs simple again.

Danielle Zimmerman LG webOS product manager

"TV is not a management device, it’s a consumption device" according Danielle Zimmerman, LG webOS product manager who takes the "less is more" approach on capable and quality apps

To learn more, we took the brand’s 47-inch LB730V Full HD flatscreen for a test drive and talked to the Silicon Valley software team responsible for developing the platform.

While this featured screen is an £899 mid-ranger, you can get webOS on everything from the entry-level 42-inch LB700V up to the 84-inch UB980V Ultra HD flagship LED panel. It’s not yet on LG’s OLED offerings, but they’ll come later this year and you’ll even find it on some John Lewis branded LED sets made by LG.

LG 47LB730V webOS TV

LG 47LB730V webOS TV is an affordable LED panel but the pricey OLED 4K models will get these launcher smarts too

The screen itself is agreeably svelte, with a fashionably thin bezel, stylish metallic edge trim and ribbon stand. Connections include three HDMIs (with ARC and MHL support), a trio of USBs, Ethernet, plus legacy SCART and component/composite inputs. Wi-Fi is built in. There’s a choice of Freeview HD and DVB-S satellite tuners. The model is also available in 65-, 60-, 55- and 42-inch screen sizes.

LG’s Bluetooth Magic Remote

The Magic Remote hooks up via Bluetooth and features a scroll wheel

Two remotes are supplied, a standard IR doofer and LG’s Bluetooth Magic Remote. Offering cursor-pointer control of the set, the latter transpires to be the ideal way to navigate the webOS UI.

The picture performance of the 47LB730V is generally crowd pleasing. HD images are appropriately dynamic and enjoy vibrant colour fidelity. The set doesn’t quite do a deep black and the edge-lighting draws a little too much attention to itself, but this isn’t uncommon in this class of LED. Picture performance can be considered good then, but not the best reason to buy this set.

LG's Bean Bird mascot prompts users to configure Internet access if they skip it during setup

LG's Bean Bird mascot prompts users to configure internet access if they skip it during setup

So what makes LG’s Smart+ webOS so compelling? Ultimately, it’s a superior user experience. From the friendly set-up, which uses the brand’s animated Bean Bird mascot, to the eye-catching candy-striped Launcher bar, there’s a delicious cohesion to its execution.

Even the choice of fonts (a combination of Miso and Museo) is uniform. This smart platform has been properly designed, not just bolted together like some net-connected Frankenscreen.

LG webOS setup summary

Reassuring feedback: LG's webOS setup summary

The Launcher offers quick access to the likes of BBC iPlayer, Amazon, Netflix, Demand 5 and Now TV. You can customise the order of apps and services as appropriate. If Screen Mirroring is important to you, just drag it to the front of the line.

LG acquired webOS lock, stock and barrel from Hewlett-Packard a year ago. Originally a mobile platform devised by Palm, LG had been working with HP to develop a TV version when the opportunity arose to acquire webOS outright.

LG webOS - you can move apps around in the launcher bar

You can move apps around in the launcher bar

The new operation, located in the heart of Silicon Valley, has given the Korean brand an opportunity to rethink its approach to connected consumer electronics.

“We didn’t take the original WebOS and just bring it to a TV,” LG’s director of product development Colin Zhao told us. “We’ve contextualised the way it can be used.”

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
4K-ing excellent TV is on its way ... in its own sweet time, natch
For decades Hollywood actually binned its 4K files. Doh!
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Get your Indian Landfill Android One handsets - they're only SIXTY QUID
Cheap and deafening mobes for the subcontinental masses
A SCORCHIO fatboy SSD: Samsung SSD850 PRO 3D V-NAND
4Gb/s speeds on a consumer drive, anyone?
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.