LG is reinstalling its WebOS TV software – and may be corrupting it

While the OS operating system was introduced many years ago, there is really no resemblance between LG TVs and webOS software running on Palm smartphones. But LG’s TV interface has become one of my favorites for its functionality of staying out of the way. When you hit the remote’s home button, a shortcut bar with apps, HDMI inputs, and other locations slides to the bottom of the screen, but anything on the non-screen can’t move completely. Highlight the streaming app and slides an extra row to reveal the recommended selections and what is streaming.

Well, so much for that.

LG is giving WebOS a big overall for its 2021 TV. Version 6.0 of the software gets rid of slides together and now has a full house Screen Sounds great from what you can find, well, any other TV. The color webOS “blade” interface is completely gone. At least on the surface, everything looks more benign. It’s just a long list Content. You’ve got a hero field at the top with big banners, followed by a bunch of apps, home dashboard / your inputs and other categories then “Top Picks”.

Image: L.G.

LG says “The new home screen provides quick access to frequently used apps and streamlines content search with the ability to receive recommendations based on user preferences and viewing history.” You can see a large “sponsored” slot there on the left, so yes, you can expect some ads and paid placement recommendations on the home screen of your future LG TV. (LG’s latest Magic Remote will also have shortcut buttons for select streaming apps, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney Plus.)

There will be individual rows for shopping, sports scores and ad-sponsored LG channels on the home screen – where you can stream free programming. Before this WebOS was all a separate field, but now it is being moved into the spotlight. Unfortunately, LG told me you have no way to hide the rows. I really hope that changes.

LG doesn’t usually bring a new version of WebOS to the previous TV every year. So if you’ve ever bought an LG OLED or LCD TV at some point in the last few years, that’s it Possibility You will be able to stay with the previous interface. But I have asked LG for confirmation of this because the annual changes are usually not this drastic.

Earlier versions of WebOS were colorful and less offensive.
Image: L.G.

I don’t want to give a thumbs up or down on WebOS 6.0 until I see it first hand, but my initial feeling is that it feels like a regression. It might take just a few days with some of the new sets to hang this refresh layout, and this approach will probably be easier to navigate and more intuitive for non-takers. But I will lose touch with the webOS scams so far on LG TV.

On top of that, LG says the new remote will have NFC capability, so you can tap the smartphone in front of it to share content on the TV screen. And the list of voice commands for Alexa and Google Assistant has been expanded to WebOS 6.0.