LG is overhauling its webOS TV software — and maybe ruining it

There’s actually not a lot of a resemblance between the webOS software program that runs on LG TVs and the Palm smartphones the place the working system had its beginnings a few years in the past. However LG’s TV interface has grown to be amongst my favorites for its effectivity at staying out of the best way. Whenever you hit the distant’s dwelling button, a shortcuts bar with apps, HDMI inputs, and different locations slides up on the backside of the display screen however doesn’t fully overtake no matter’s on-screen. Spotlight a streaming app, and a further row slides as much as reveal really helpful picks and what’s streaming.

Properly, a lot for that.

LG is giving webOS a serious overhaul for its 2021 TVs. Model 6.0 of the software program eliminates the slide-up bar altogether and now has a full dwelling display screen that appears akin to what you’d discover on, nicely, some other TV. The colourful webOS “blades” interface is totally gone. At the least on the floor, all the pieces appears extra bland. It’s only a lengthy listing of stuff. You’ve bought a hero space on the high with massive banners, then “high picks,” adopted by apps, dwelling dashboard / your inputs, and a bunch of different classes.

Picture: LG

LG says “the brand new dwelling display screen offers sooner entry to probably the most steadily used apps and streamlines content material discovery with the flexibility to obtain suggestions based mostly on the person’s preferences and viewing historical past.” You’ll be able to see an enormous “sponsored” slot within the high left there, so sure, you may anticipate some advertisements and paid placement suggestions on the house display screen of your future LG TV. (LG’s newest Magic Distant will even have shortcut buttons for choose streaming apps together with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Plus.)

There might be particular person rows for purchasing, sports activities scores, and the ad-sponsored LG Channels — the place you may stream free programming — on the house display screen. These have been all separate areas of webOS earlier than, however now they’re being moved into the highlight. Sadly, LG advised me there’s no technique to conceal rows you don’t have any use for. I actually hope that modifications.

LG doesn’t often deliver annually’s new model of webOS to previous TVs. So in the event you purchased an LG OLED someday within the final couple years, it’s possible you’ll stick with the earlier interface. However I’ve requested LG for affirmation on this for the reason that annual modifications aren’t usually this drastic.

Earlier variations of webOS have been colourful and fewer obtrusive.
Picture: LG

I don’t wish to give a thumbs up or down on webOS 6.0 till I’ve seen it first hand, however my early feeling is that it looks as if a regression. Possibly it’ll solely take a number of days with one of many new units to get a grasp of this refreshed structure, and this strategy will in all probability be simpler to navigate and extra intuitive for non-techies. However I’ll miss the contact of caprice that webOS on LG TVs had till now.

On the upside, LG says the brand new distant can have NFC capabilities, so you may faucet a smartphone towards it to share content material to the TV display screen. And the listing of voice instructions for Alexa and Google Assistant has been additional expanded in webOS 6.0.

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