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Eyes-on: WebOS lives on with LG's new TVs

updated 01:54 pm EST, Mon January 6, 2014

LG revives webOS for use on smart televisions

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, LG finally showed off what it has been doing with the webOS operating system it bought from HP last year, revealing that the platform will power more than 70 percent of the televisions the manufacturer releases in 2014. LG is hoping that the resurrected operating system will fare better than it did on Palm's ill-fated hardware, and Electronista took a look at the new screen to get a feel for just how well that works out.

LG wasn't allowing attendees to mess about with the demo unit it had on display, so we can't yet report on actual interactions with the platform. We did, though, see the potential in the demo loop. LG touts its webOS launcher as a way to "make TV simple again," pointing to the complaints typically surrounding current smart TV interfaces. To that end, the manufacturer included an animated "Bean Bird" setup assistant that helps users get their webOS TVs up and going and walks them through the Magic Remote pairing process.

Bean Bird, LG
Bean Bird, LG's virtual setup assistant.

On the topic of that Magic Remote, it acts both as a typical remote and as a pointer, allowing users to navigate the television's operating system. That's a fun touch, of course, but we'll have to see more of it in action in order to render a verdict on it.

The inclusion of webOS allows for searching for content with one's voice, as well as navigating between features with physical gestures. LG is also including a range of apps for the platform, with Netflix, Hulu Plus, Vudu, and YouTube all on board for launch. Also supplying apps will be Facebook and Amazon, ensuring that users won't have to turn away from the television in order to check their social networks or shop.

As to the look of the actual televisions on display: they're quite easy on the eyes. We're fans of the minimalist aesthetic LG chose for the sets, with their thin bezels and spare facades. The build of the television essentially disappears, leaving one with just those super bright pixels, and that's a good thing.

We're looking forward to getting to spend more time with the resurrected webOS a bit later in the week, and we'll be certain to bring you expanded impressions in the near future. For now, though, it's definitely an interesting reemergence, and one with lots of potential.

by MacNN Staff




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