Today at CES 2014, thanks to the reboot of the failed WebOS, LG has relaunched their Smart TV product line. But it has a brand new style and this time it looks like they may have just gotten it right.
Originally belonging to Hewlett-Packard, the WebOS was never a success. It launched back in 2009 at another CES, and there were whispers about its reappearance at the CES 2014. With LG buying out the platform back in March of last year, no one was really sure what form it would take, or what would be done with it.
Now we know: LG is making another attempt at releasing Smart TVs, and are focusing more now on simplicity for consumer user, and developers being able to easily create apps to use on the new WebOS. A departure from the status quo that is sure to make their new line a much more user friendly and integrated version of their past attempts.
We are extremely excited to be able to introduce webOS optimized for LG Smart TV here at CES 2014, VP In-kyu Lee said to the gathered CES crowd this morning.
The beauty of webOS is that it provides so much freedom, and is so simple to use. We feel confident that consumers will find navigating, exploring and switching between different forms of content on webOS a truly enjoyable, not frustrating, experience.
They seem to have delivered.
Rather than giving one connected device or feature priority, they have opted for equality. Using cards for each purpose, everything from gaming consoles to traditional inputs have level footing. It provides a more integrated experience, for ease of use whether it is a cable DVR box or an app.
What is so great about that is ability to switch from one source of content to another, all from the same platform.
We wanted unity. Everything is the same, be it your Xbox, your source, or some apps, product and design manager Itai Vonshak told TheVerge.
If you’re watching Netflix and want to switch to see what’s happening in a game, then go back to YouTube, it should be all the same thing.
Like a lot of Smart TVs, the WebOS operates on a motion controller. But the overall interface is more simple, so it should flow better than others. You have a series of icons that can bring up full page previews, if chosen. Otherwise, they can be swiped through on the bottom of the screen when you bring up the menu, going from one program to another without having to return to the home screen.
Apps will have notifications enabled to show the user when new content is available, or recommend content similar to their tastes. LG is even going to have their own app store, with both official and third party developed apps for you to download, accessible from the TV itself. This will include 3D content, games, movies, music and more.
When you first setup, there will be a little bird there to help you. It will flitter across the screen, helping users go through the initial setup process for better customization. Annoying? Probably. But with how many integrated features are involved in the new LG Smart TV WebOS, it seems like it would be worth it to go through that setup process.