LG announced tonight that the company’s WebOS Smart TV platform will soon be available on TVs from other brands. RCA, Ayonz, and Konka are some of the companies that have already been signed. “It has the potential to re-shape the TV business for both technology and content providers, while increasing LG’s presence and prominence in the global home entertainment market,” LG said in a press release.
The news came after LG revealed a significantly overheated version of WebOS at CES in January. On LG’s 2021 TV, the slide-up “blade” interface is completely dug in favor of a more traditional scrolling home screen. I have seen a wide range in the opinion of LG’s current TV customers; Some new looks like it looks like a streaming device and seems easy to use. Others who have come to appreciate the more colorful and “fun” webOS hope LG will keep webOS 6 away from TVs in 2020 and earlier. I’ll need some more time with the software before I can get in.
But this redesign is not something buyers of licensed WebOS TVs have to think about – at least not yet. LG tells me that the platform “powered by WebOS TV” is based on WebOS 5.0. So it will look very similar to LG TV for the last several years.
In licensing its platform to other TV brands, LG is following in the footsteps of Roku and Amazon, each of whom have joined third parties to release Roku TV and Fire TV Edition TVs, respectively. LG said its partners would exit the deal:
WebOS TV licensees receive familiar and highly acclaimed UX designs with a rich pool of features such as voice search and control, integrated AI algorithms, and easy connectivity that have earned WebOS positive industry and consumer acclaim. With LG WebOS TV, partners also get a wide variety of content options, including Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and sports streaming service DAZN, as well as LG channels, the company’s free premium content streaming service such as the global streaming service app Access is included. Compatible TV models also include a dedicated Magic Motion remote controller.
What’s in it for LG? The company will have control over the TV software experience across more devices – and will also take in more advertising revenue. Expanding webOS to more TVs will bring ad-sponsored LG channels to new eyes. This approach also gives LGOS more user data to improve webOS, which in turn will give the company the benefit of its own TV lineup.