Since announcing WebOS earlier this year at CES 2014 in January, LG just congratulated themselves on selling over 1 million WebOS enabled Smart TVs. But what is all the fuss about and why are they selling so many WebOS TVs? The answer is “simple,” no pun intended. The WebOS operating system for their Smart TVs is all about improving the user experience and making it easier to use. It is very easy and even entertaining to set up, and simpler to quickly access exactly what content you are looking for. It even allows you to flip back and forth between apps or different devices while returning exactly where you left off.

LG bought WebOS from Hewlett Packard (HP), which they used as an operating system for their tablets, and have turned it into a very effective and simple operating system for their Smart TVs. LG’s entire theme behind their WebOS enabled Smart TVs is making these TVs simple again without losing any of their capability. Seems like a contradiction in terms but is something that they have accomplished extremely well.

Simple Set Up

Rather than having to read a manual or follow a mundane setup wizard, LG has made setting up the TV a more interactive and entertaining experience. They use an animated character called BeanBird that leads you through the setup process in a very entertaining fashion that is extremely easy to follow. Even if you try to skip a step in the process BeanBird quizes you and tries to convince you to do that step, although he will ultimately let you skip it if you are really intent on doing so. Bottom line is they have really made the setup clearer, easier, and more entertaining.


Simple to Use

They have a very slick remote that is motion activated and works like a Nintendo Wii controller that is much easier to use than your traditional remote. It makes selecting the right icon on the screen quicker and more fun than clicking through icons from one to the next until you reach the one you want. Simply wave the remote and you see the cursor move on the screen in a fairly precise and simple fashion. If you prefer using your Smartphone as a remote, although not likely once you try their motion remote, LG does have a free app on IOS and Android that will control the TV as well.
The home screen is well designed with a set of diagonal and colourful “cards” that sit on top of whatever program or app you are watching. You can see whatever you were watching in full screen in the background while you make another selection. Each card is appropriately coloured to make things easy to find. NetFlix is red, Roku is purple, XBox is green, Facebook is royal blue, YouTube is bright red, etc. You can order these cards any way you want, plus it can show you those that you have used most recently with a simple click, or those that you haven’t used at all with another simple click.

Another clever way they have made it simpler is the devices that you have connected to the TV (XBox, PS4, Roku, etc.) immediately show up as cards on the home screen, rather than making you figure out which inputs you have them connected to. So you see all your apps, your cable or satellite TV, and all your input devices on the same menu of cards, and colour coded appropriately. Simple!

Simple to Connect

Another way WebOS has made the Smart TV simpler is the way you can switch from one set of content to another. So if you are watching a Netflix movie through your Roku or other device and you want to open Facebook, or see how the hockey game is going you can just seamlessly toggle back and forth between the two by just hitting the home screen. When going back and forth it can come back to exactly where you left off. It is like channel surfing but across different apps and even different devices which is a fantastic feature made very simple.

You can also connect with two things simultaneously on the screen using their Live Menu. So if you are watching the hockey game but want to do a web search on your favourite player or other stat, you don’t have to miss any action in the game.

Simple to Find

LG has made searching for content simpler as well. If you put in a movie or TV show title it will bring up results not just from your cable or satellite provider, but also any other app or service that is connected and installed on the TV. Selecting whichever one you want will launch it automatically!

Speaking of simple to find, LG has said that at least 70% of their Smart TVs sold this year will have WebOS. You can find some great LG WebOS Smart TVs in just about every size. Here are some excellent options: LG 50” 1080p 3D LED Smart TV (50LB6500) is a great 50” HDTV that is also 3D; the LG 42” IPS LED Smart TV (42LB6300) is a 42” HDTV that has an excellent IPS screen; the LG 60” 3D LED Smart TV (60LB6500)  is a 60” HDTV that is both 3D and is an IPS panel. 

So if you are more of a technology geek, and there is nothing wrong with that, and you like to spend the time to figure out all the capabilities of your Smart TVs then it matters less on what operating system comes with it. In fact, you may even like it more complicated.  But if you just want to enjoy all the capabilities of your Smart TV quickly and easily then LG’s WebOS Smart TVs are an excellent choice.

Tom Brauser
I love to try new technologies and I have a practical approach to techie stuff - it has to be easy to use and make my life better. I have my house fully wired, with a surround sound system in my family room for music and TV viewing, but also drive music throughout the house as well as outdoors. I Internet stream content on all my devices at home, which provides a huge variety of entertainment to enjoy.