LG’s 2014 smart TVs to get a free update to webOS 2.0

LG might be correct in hyping this as an 'industry first,' but we think free software upgrades should be an industry norm.

Making good on a promise it made back in April, LG has announced that owners of its 2014 model-year smart TVs running the company's webOS software will be able to upgrade their sets to webOS 2.0 starting on September 21. The earlier TVs run webOS 1.0.

The company says the update will give owners of 2014 LG smart TVs access to almost all of webOS 2.0’s features. But perhaps the best part is that this update will be offered to users completely free of cost. Contrast this with Samsung’s approach of asking its smart TV customers to buy add-on hardware kits for a shot at receiving future software updates.

“The free upgrade is the first of such kind in the industry, [and] demonstrates LG’s commitment to offering consumers a best-in-class, customized TV experience with the latest and highest quality content delivered from a simple and fast interface,” the company said in a press release announcing the update today.

Introduced earlier this year along with the Korean giant’s 2015 smart-TV lineup, webOS 2.0 is a major step up from web 1.0 in terms of speed and responsiveness. Of course, how it will perform on last year’s hardware is something that remains to be seen.

Models eligible to receive the update are: LB6300, LB6500, LB7100, LB7200, UB8500, UB9200, UB9300, UB9500, UB9800, EC9300, EC9700 and EG9700. If you happen to possess one of these, here’s a quick rundown of what LG promises the firmware update will deliver:

    • Faster Performance: Speeds performance when launching the Home menu, accessing settings and loading applications.

    • Added “My Channels”: Allows users to customize their favorite live TV or set-top box channels on the Launcher Bar for greater convenience and quick access.

    • Improved Quick Settings: Minimizes distraction from content with vertical “buttons” on the right side of the screen activated when the Magic Remote cursor passes over them.

    • Updated Input Selection: Now includes this useful feature as a Quick Menu option for faster access to a variety of inputs.

    • Modified “Live Menu”: Updates the live channel list with a modern look and feel as well as more detailed information.

Why this matters: TV vendors supporting their products long after their release should be the norm and not the exception. That’s especially true for companies that develop both the hardware and the software running on them, as is the case with LG and Samsung.

Content is still king

Even the most responsive and user-friendly smart-TV platform is no good if its apps cupboard is bare. LG webOS TV owners will soon have a little less to complain about on this front as the company is bringing a number of new apps to the platform.

First up we’ve the DirectTV Ready app, which allows a DirectTV subscriber with a compatible TV and the Genie HD DVR to access the service sans a set-top box. And if you happen to have a compatible 4K set, you’ll also be able to stream from DirectTV’s catalog of UHD (ultra high-definition) film and TV titles.

Also coming to the platform later this month are streaming-music apps from Rdio and iHeartRadio.

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Pulkit Chandna

TechHive (US)
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