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LG will license its webOS software to other TV brands



LG tonight announced that the company’s webOS smart TV platform will soon be found on TVs from other brands. RCA, Ayonz and Konka are some of the companies that have already signed. “This has the potential to transform the TV business for both technology and content providers, while at the same time increasing LG’s presence and prominence significantly in the global home entertainment market,” LG said in a press release.

The news comes after LG unveiled a significantly revised version of webOS at CES in January. On LG’s 2021 TVs, the “knives” screen interface has been thrown completely in favor of a more traditional scrolling home screen. I̵

7;ve seen a wide range of opinions from LG’s existing TV customers; some like the new look, since it looks like a streaming device and seems easier to use. Others who have started to appreciate the more colorful and “fun” webOS hope LG will keep webOS 6 out of their TVs from 2020 and earlier. I need a little more time with the software before I can weigh in.

But that redesign is not something that buyers of licensed webOS TVs need 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 like the same as LG TVs from recent years.

LG licenses the platform to other TV brands, and follows in the footsteps of Roku and Amazon, each of which has joined with third parties to release Roku TV and Fire TV Edition TV, respectively. Here’s what LG says the partners will get out of the deal:

WebOS TV licensees receive the well-known and highly acclaimed UX design along with a rich range of features such as voice search and control, integrated AI algorithms and easy connectivity that have earned webOS-positive industry and consumer awards. With LG webOS TV, partners also get a variety of content options, including access to global streaming service apps such as 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.

LG has already set up a number of partners for “powered by webOS” TVs.
Image: LG

What is it for LG? The company will have control over the TV software experience on more devices – and also bring in more advertising revenue. Expanding webOS to more TVs will bring the ad-sponsored LG channels to new eyes. This approach also gives LG more user data to make improvements to webOS, which in turn will benefit the company’s own TV series.


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