LG will license its webOS Smart TV Platform to other brands

LG has announced last night that its webOS smart TV platform will not be limited to itself and will soon be found on TVs from other brands. American company RCA, Australian company Ayonz, and Chinese company Konka are some of those that have already signed on.

“This has the potential to reshape the TV business for both technology and content providers while significantly growing LG’s presence and prominence in the global home entertainment market,” LG said in a press release, according to The Verge.

The news comes after LG revealed webOS 6 at the all-digital CES 2021 in January. On LG TVs of 2021, the slide-up “blades” interface has been removed entirely and a more traditional scrolling home screen has been favored instead. According to Chris Welch of the Verge, a wide range of opinions from LG’s existing TV customers have been received with some liking the new look since it resembles a streaming device and seems easier to use. Others who’ve come to appreciate the more colorful and “fun” webOS hope LG will keep webOS 6 off their TVs from 2020 and earlier.

LG has already lined up a number of partners for “powered by webOS” TVs. Image: LG

But the buyers of licensed webOS TVs do not have to think about the redesign — at least not yet. LG has informed that the “powered by webOS TV” platform is based on webOS 5.0. So it will not look any different from the LG TVs of the last several years.

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LG is following in the footsteps of as far as licensing its platform to other TV brands is concerned. Roku and Amazon have joined with third parties to release Roku TVs and Fire TV Edition TVs, respectively. Here’s what LG says its partners will get out of the deal:

“Licensees of webOS TV receive the familiar and highly acclaimed UX design along with a rich pool of features such as voice search and control, integrated AI algorithms, and easy connectivity that have earned webOS positive industry and consumer accolades. With LG webOS TV, partners also get a diversity of content options including access to global streaming service apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and sports streaming service DAZN as well as LG Channels, the company’s free premium content streaming service. Compatible TV models also include the dedicated Magic Motion remote controller.”

How does LG stand to benefit? LG will have control over the TV software experience across more devices — and also rake in more advertising revenue. The webOS reaching more TVs will get the ad-sponsored LG Channels in front of new eyes. This approach also gives the South Korean tech giant more user data to make improvements to webOS, which will, in turn, benefit its own TV lineup.

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