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 signed up. “This has the potential to transform 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 comes after LG unveiled a markedly revised version of webOS at CES in January. On LG’s 2021 TV, the “blades” interface is sliding all the way in favor of a more traditional scrolling home screen. I’ve seen a wide range of opinions from LG’s existing TV customers; some like the new look as it looks like a streaming device and seems easier to use. Others who have come to appreciate the more colorful and “fun”
But that redesign is not something that buyers of licensed webOS TVs will have to think about – at least not yet. LG tells me that the “powered by webOS TV” platform is based on webOS 5.0. So it looks just like LG TV from the last many years.
By licensing its platform to other TV brands, LG is following in the footsteps of Roku and Amazon, each of which has joined third parties to release Roku TV and Fire TV Edition TV, respectively. Here’s what LG says its partners will get out of the deal:
Licensees of webOS TV receive the well-known and highly acclaimed UX design along with a rich pool of features such as voice search and control, integrated AI algorithms and easy connectivity that have received webOS-positive industry and consumer awards. With LG webOS TV, partners also get a wide range of content options, including access to global streaming service apps like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and sports streaming service DAZN, as well as LG Channels, the company’s free premium streaming service. Compatible TV models also include the dedicated Magic Motion remote control.
What does LG contain? The company will have control over the TV software experience across multiple devices – and also consume more advertising revenue. Extending webOS to more TVs is getting the announced LG channels in front of new eyes. This approach also gives LG more user data to improve webOS, which in turn will benefit the company’s own TV range.