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

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 …

  1. Anonymous Coward 101

    It couldn't be worse than my mum's Samsung smart TV. To be fair, it does catch up TV and Netflix well, which is the main thing. But everything else is slow, half baked and confusing. The software was designed in the spirit of 'will-this-do?'. If LG have got away from that, they deserve to do well.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    How long before a TV comes with a tablet for a remote?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      How long before a TV comes with a tablet for a remote?

      Like my previous-generation LG perhaps (thanks to the Android app available for it) ?? If the DRM permits it (which is rare), you can also mirror the content from the TV onto the tablet.

      The Virgin TIVO also has a sensible app. At last.

    2. PleebSmash

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        >How long before a TV comes with a tablet for a remote?

        That's a solution that works well. Current implementations include:

        iPad + PS3

        Android tablet + Chromecast dongle

        Of course these solutions aren't fully intgrated (i.e, you can't use tablet to swtich aspect ratios, switch input, or adjust the picture settings etc).

        One stupid TV 'feature': Sony TVs that turn themselves off after an hour if they receive no input from their own IR remote... we actually use the remote for the FreeSat box / BluRay drive during use.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "How long before a TV comes with a tablet for a remote?"

      My old(ish) 42" LG none-smart TV comes out of standby when I press a button on the XBMC remote control app on my tablet. If it was last on a different source, it tends to try to reconect to that source, but another tap on a button on the app makes it switch to the Raspberry Pi on HDMI3

    4. Kevin 6

      My Samsung Tab 2, and Galaxy Tab 3 act as remotes for our Samsung TV's ;)

  3. monkeyfish

    I actually want one

    That's genuinely the first smart TV package that I actually want. None of this 3D 4K crap, I just want a UI that isn't retarded. Hopefully they will bring it down below 42", as that's still quite a bit too big for my small lounge, I'd like a 32" please.

    1. wheelybird

      Re: I actually want one

      There is a 32" model - I bought it last week. The journalist here might not have done their research properly. :)

      Look for the 32LB650V @ ~£440. It doesn't come with the magic remote - that's an extra £25 from Amazon.

      I had a HP Pre3 and I loved webOS on that. It's not quite as good as a smart TV platform, but it's still quite good. The 32" model is a dual-core ARM processor (I don't know the type/speed). It provides reasonable performance, but perhaps not a smooth as higher-end models. The TV still suffers from a ~30s wait from being turned on before you can fire up the smart TV features.

      In general I think LG webOS is a pretty good first release, but I'd say some of the apps could certainly be refined (especially the DLNA playback app). I just hope that LG release webOS updates for all TVs on an ongoing basis rather than only releasing new versions of the OS on newer model TVs.

      1. Boothy Silver badge

        Re: I actually want one

        webOS user here too, and so far very happy with it. It was one of the selling points to getting the TV.

        But I agree, the current DLNA client is rather clunky, it does work, but is missing things like the ability to browse follders.

        You also can't access things like network shares, which is a shame.

        But on the plus side, it does play MP4 & MKV without any issues so far, both directly via USB, and over DLNA.

  4. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

    Wrong priorities

    I can't say I care much about my TV being smart, I hardly ever use the "smart" stuff on my Sony, but only 3 HDMI ports, FFS?

    I have a Sky satellite box, another satellite box for European TV and a NowTV box. I occasionally plug my camera in to see recently-taken photos. In the future I want to add Blu-Ray, and I can see other people adding games consoles or a connection to a PC or other media streamer. Even my 4-HDMI-port TV is already full.

    Forget the SMART crap, just put 6 HDMI sockets as a minimum. Plus S-Video or YUV component and RGB for the legacy stuff (like my DVD recorder).

    1. Steven Raith

      Re: Wrong priorities

      Without wishing to sound arsey, have you considered getting a second hand AV amp and some small speakers (as not everyone needs a kilowatt of sound, natch).

      Should get lots of HDMI inputs, and a used one might not have internet streaming and iTunes capabilities but if it's HDMI inputs you want, it's a pretty sensible way of doing it, and the generally accepted way of doing it, given that the audio on most tellies these days is...just awful!

      Steven R

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Wrong priorities

        Or a HDMI switch, as using all 4-5 at the same time seems unlikely.

      2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Wrong priorities

        have you considered getting a second hand AV amp

        I have, a new one even, but I already have the TV hooked up to a good audio system with a Dolby surround decoder (I agree 100% with the comments on the quality of TV built-in speakers), and I don't really want to replace it just to add one with an HDMI switch. Not to mention all the additional back & forth cabling between the unit with the TV and set-top boxes and the alcove where the hifi stuff is.

        A separate switch is the obvious and probably inevitable option, it's what I had to do when everything was SCART-based, but it's yet one more box and one more remote control that shouldn't be necessary. HDMI sockets aren't physically clumsy like SCART ones, adding a few more to a TV PCB wouldn't be that hard, or expensive.

      3. The Indomitable Gall

        @Steven Raith Re: Wrong priorities

        I gave up trying to connect tellies to hifis a few years ago, as all this digital processing seems to mess up the sync.

        1. Steven Raith

          Re: @Steven Raith Wrong priorities

          Phil, fair enough - it sounded like you might have missed a trick but obviously you've looked at it and dismissed it. HDMI switch it is!

          Gall - really? I've not noticed any issues on the systems my (considerably better off than me) chums have set up. As I say, not so much putting it through a hifi per se, but using a dedicated AV amp which uses the TV just as a monitor with video passthrough and whatever other gubbins are in use.

          Syncing the audio to the video should be a piece of piss given that the AV amps HDMI input and output should be able to compensate for any audio processing lag by just adjusting the timing of the video signal to suit the audio, etc.

          Or am I missing a trick? Wouldn't be the first time....

          Steven R

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    LG 3D

    Unless this has changed, LG use passive 3D as well which was a big bonus - cheap,light comfortable glasses for the whole family - or cinema ones if needed - and no black flicker like I've seen on every active 3D model I've tested.

    I doubt it, but I hope webOS gets back ported to slightly older sets too.

  6. Porco Rosso

    Evolutions of Sony XMB

    The LG interface with is APP-bar looks a lot like a FLAT interpretation of the " XrossMediaBar " of Sony in the PS3?

  7. Aitor 1

    Smart for LG

    Is to track what you do:

    Also, now you either consent to being tracked (a.k.a spied upon) or no smart tv for you:

    So only dumb people buy smart LG tvs... or maybe uninformed ppl.

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Smart for LG

      "Are you sure? No apps. No store. No streaming content. No nothing."

      Maybe they should change 'nothing' to 'tracking' if they want a more truthful representation. But I'm sure that some setup info is uploaded to the mothership even if you don't enable smart TV features.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Could we have a non-reflective screen and bezel and a small footprint stand, that doesn't need a a large coffee table or whatever to stand on. Then I might be able to appreciate the wonderful OS....

    1. wheelybird

      The screen isn't matte, but it's not overly reflective. The polarising layers (for the 3D) seem to mitigate reflections.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I would wait until they fix the bugs...

    1) If the scart input activates the TV (correctly) switches to the AV1 input. However, the TV won't let you switch back to watching TV using the input selector. It will let you switch back if you enter a channel number, but only if it's not the same as the one you were watching.

    2) Related to the above, once you've managed to switch back to watching TV, if you open the EPG and then close it, you're back to watching the AV1 input.

    3) Pressing 'OK' (I think - centre button in the cursor cluster) brings up information about the current channel, pressing it again makes it go away. Most of the time - for some channels it will only work once or twice! This is repeatable for the same set of channels.

    The EPG is a right pain to use:

    1) Scrolling left and right doesn't automatically scroll the time line - you end up on button regions and have to press OK to go backwards/forwards.

    2) Every now and then the EPG jumps to the top line by itself.

    3) If you exit the EPG at some random point in time and then go back in later you are shown the EPG at the point you left it. This may be useful at times, but there's no (obvious) way to go to 'now'.

    And they also need to speed it up. The user interface (even for basic TV use) is so, so slow :-(

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: I would wait until they fix the bugs...

      I suspect GUI speed is probably dependant on your TV model. I've got the 49UB850V and the GUI is quite nippy there. About 10 secs to 'boot up' initially, but responsive after that point.

  10. Boothy Silver badge

    webOS user for about 4 weeks

    I bought a 49UB850V a few weeks ago, and so far have been very happy with the Smart functions.

    Everything is controlled from the same GUI, so not just the 'Smart' functions, but also things like picture and sound settings etc.

    The Magic remote works well, just like using a Wii remote, the standard IR remote hardly gets any usage.

    I also plugged in a wireless USB dongle (HID compliant), for a keyboard and Mouse, and it just worked. With the mouse controlling the pointer, and keyboard allowing text entry etc. Useful for search inputs, or when adding YouTube account details etc.

    It also plays MKV files (including over DLNA if your server supports it) , which was a nice bonus for my, ehem, library.

    There are quite a few apps that can be downloaded form the built in store, although so far I've not tried any of them.

    Annoyingly the official Android app is just a place holder currently, due later this year apparently. But you don't need it to do things like send Youtube feeds from your tablet/phone to the TV, as the standard Youtube app recognises the TV anyway.

    There is still room for improvement though. the DLNA client doesn't show folders, it's just one large list of everything. With the only filters being by type (video, pictures, music).

    But it's early days, and the system has already had one update since getting the set, so I expect more will be coming.

  11. John Tserkezis

    "Here's what you just did"

    After LG's recent past actions (re channel logging), that bothers me a lot.

  12. stu 4

    privacy agreement

    Interestingly my LG updated its firmware (700megs) a few weeks ago.

    It came up and forces you to agree to the new privacy agreement, or no more smart tv.

    I wonder if this is legal ?

    I've never used the smarttv part tbh - it's plugged into my macmini and that's what I use all the time, so I gave it a 'yes' for an easy life, and knowing it won't be able to track anything.

    however, it does seem a bit rich, effectively disabling your tv if you don't agree to changes in privacy conditions after an update.

    here's someone detailing the same issue:

    1. Red Bren

      Re: privacy agreement

      It's not the first time an entertainment system manufacturer has given its customers a Hobson's choice of "Install the new firmware or we'll turn (y)our product into a brick!"

      Sadly, because this post-purchase bait-and-switch wasn't killed at the earliest opportunity, we've all lost effective ownership of our electronic goods.

    2. Mark 65

      Re: privacy agreement

      Pretty sure that's a breach of EU rules. As with most things they try it and see if anyone complains.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I hope HP are crying !

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When will they learn that a smart TV without a remote with a proper keyboard its idiotic?

    1. Boothy Silver badge

      Re: Remotes...

      So plug one in. It's got USB, HID keyboards and mice work fine. (with the LG webOS TVs anyway)

  15. Keef

    I've read the LG advertisement - sorry - El Reg article and...

    I've just bought the exact model reviewed, it's okay but I wondered what the fuck was going on when I first powered it up.

    I'd never heard of Bean Bird and was confused by the stupid animations I was presented with, some fucking cartoon animal apparently sleeping with ZZZs drifting up the screen,

    Really intuitive LG, well done chaps.

    The telly's okay though.

  16. i1ya

    Javascript & HTML again

    It is worth mentioning that WebOS user interface, Enyo (, is built using Javascript and HTML. LG did nice job by picking and continuing development of this open-source project. I spent some time using Enyo and think it is not too bad. It allows to create applications without single line of HTML (nodes are defined using Javascript). Some decisions of its developers are disputable, but at least the framwork was designed to subclass existing widgets, create custom controls and re-use code with ease. So, another distant brother to Firefox OS is growing :)

  17. Mark 65

    Am I alone...

    In wanting my TV to just be a TV and not an attack surface that requires constant firmware updates?

    1. Keef

      Re: Am I alone...

      I've registered my telly and removed any means of connection to the 'net.

      Well, there is the HDMI link back to Rupert's Sky box, which in turn is connected to the 'net.

      So I guess an OSI layer 1 link exists, if any of the higher layers can be transported over that I don't know.

      Anyone on here from the NSA/GCHQ to advise?

  18. SpamBot

    What about spying on you?

    Does this TV still spy on you?

    My current LG recently upgraded it's firmware and offered me a EULA that basically turns off all the "smart" features unless I agree that the TV sends all my viewing data to LG, and LG can send it outside the EU and do what it likes with that data. The data it collects includes the filenames of files played from my internal network, so names of kids if they're in the filename etc etc.

    Of course there is no way to downgrade the firmware, and there was no warning of the change in EULA BEFORE the upgrade happened.

    I could go to court but that will cost me more than the TV did...

    (& before anyone says yes but every website does the same, there are ways I can stop/block websites, and the websites haven't taken my money up front for a premium product and then changed the deal after I've parted with -a lot- of my cash. Changing the terms post purchase *IS* against the law in UK, but of course despite many reports, including one from Which, the regulator/government in UK does nothing to actually protect citizens).

    At least I have the knowledge to packet sniff my TV and block the addresses of the LG spy sites, but lots of other people probably don't.

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