Across all the smart tv options, LG’s WebTV implementation is probably the smartest. WebOS had suffered two series of almost deaths with Palm and HP, before LG brought it back to life as a smart tv OS for their 1080p and Ultra High Definition (UHD) 4K TVs. Even then, it looked like the road wasn’t particularly smooth sailing as recent reports surfaced on how difficult the whole integration had been for LG and webOS, and it remains to be seen what future iterations of webOS will look like if the rumours are indeed true that majority of the original team had left.
WebOS had been rather popular and has generally received positive comments from those who experienced it. Unlike cumbersome interfaces filled with large, unwieldy icons, LG webOS smart TV system introduces a radical card-based interface at the bottom of the screen to simplify things. It references a similar design philosophy to the original webOS based system. In addition, unlike typical smart TV systems which uses a single app running platform, multitasking is standard fare on LG webOS smart TV. Hands on experience didn’t disappoint – the UI was a joy to use and control / switching between applications was pretty smooth. Testing was on the higher end LG UB980T series and I’m not sure if the same internals are used across their lower ranges. I like how LG does not distinguish between smart TV apps and regular TV and inputs. They’re all just cards that we can easily switch back and forth. The interface is really simple and yet powerful – leading me to call it the smartest TV experience available in the market at the moment.
Future competition would be steep as Google looks to once again challenge the smart TV category with an imminent launch of Android TV.
Android TV Boxes which acts as an alternative Smart TV system are so popular due to the app support provided by Android. You can easily run various APKs / Android Apps that get content. There’s XBMC and Plex which offers even greater media access. That’s largely thanks to the popularity of Android OS and deployment on various media devices. WebOS users will not see so many options due to the small user base but as long as LG keeps sticking to the WebOS base, that should help ensure a core functional repository to be built up. As it is, there’s already a PLEX client for LG webOS. If instructions are too hard, you can also visit Plex/web from your webOS browser since the web app outputs HTML5 compatible video streams.
LG webOS isn’t available on all their SmartTV though, it is largely confined to the higher end 1080P series and their 4K range. webOS probably isn’t the only thing you’ll want to hear about. So for the 4K range it is the UB850T, UB950T and UB980T series. In the world of LED TVs, the newest greater technology that has taken off is really Ultra HD 4K. 1080P resolution just doesn’t cut it when a phone like the LG G3 or OPPO Find 7 has a screen with more pixels than your home TV. Ultra HD, also known as 4K, is the next technology advancement after high definition, pushing resolution to 3,840 x 2,160 pixels. 4K TV prices are still expensive but have started to creep down to more affordable entry levels. Concurrently, content providers are also starting to push 4K content. As of now, Amazon and Netflix offers 4K content via streaming but Singapore users would need to access it through a VPN or DNS service such as UnoTelly
As it is, 4K is still largely future-proofing. LG 49UB850T 3D Smart LED TV, 49 inch (124.46 cm) has a IPS 4K panel which is also pretty affordable. The 49″ RRP is at S$2999, and could be purchased at a discount at the typical electronic retailers. There’s also a 55″ model with an RRP of S$3599. Discount can be pretty significant, the 55″ model can be had for $2749 which is a good 32% cheaper.