We run down the best features of LG’s webOS TV interface, found on all of LG’s shiny new telly boxes, including some of our tips and tricks to get the most out of webOS.
LG offers a great range of TVs that have people opening their wallets for those sexy OLED, 4K and HDR displays. But it’s the operating system that we’ve found is the unsung hero of the LG television line-up.
Now scarily in its third generation, the webOS platform was originally an open source program owned by Hewlett Packard, which LG then bought. Fans of the software had already helped to streamline webOS, long before LG got its hooks in. And after all these years, webOS offers a totally new and satisfying way to interact with your TV – something that other brands have since copied.
Here’s why webOS is so great, and the best features for getting the most out of your LG TV.
LG TV webOS tips and best bits: Quick access tabs
One really nice option is the ability to access menus, apps, local network files, AV inputs and more, all from a colourful menu of tabs that appear at the bottom of your TV screen. It’s like every feature is an app in a smartphone menu, something most of us are now well used to. This can be accessed at any time and allows you to dip into the TV’s offerings without much interruption to what you’re watching.
If you’ve opted for one of the higher-end TVs and have the Magic Remote, a quick move to the bottom of the screen will wake the quick access tabs. There you have the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video, BBC iPlayer, Now TV, Spotify and more to open at a click. Those telly processors are plenty fast and apps open near instantly, even with the 4K and HDR-supported likes of Netflix and Amazon Video.
You can also access your TV settings from this menu bar, and even reorganise the order of the tabs, but there is also a dedicated settings button for quick changes to things like picture and sound settings. A nice floating menu means you don’t have to interrupt what you’re watching; in fact, you can see any changes you make as you choose them, to pick your favourite settings to suit what’s on.
LG TV webOS tips and best bits: Set-top box friendly
LG has gone out of its way to make sure you only need to use a single remote for everything (just like the Sky Q wand), and with that Magic Remote you won’t want to use another anyway. By running your cable, Sky or other set-top box through the TV’s HDMI and optionally connecting an included IR blaster, you can control everything nice and easily.
The setup is simple, allowing you to quickly select your box from a list. At the time of publishing there was no option to choose the latest Sky Q box for quick setup sadly, but hopefully this will be coming soon.
LG TV webOS tips and best bits: The Magic Remote
While the Magic Remote is only included with the higher-end televisions, it’s the operating system’s ability to make it work so well that impresses. A slight movement and the cursor will appear on-screen. Then no matter where you point the remote, your wrist movements will be mimicked on the screen.
The detailing is fantastic. Need to enter details to login to an app or search for a movie? Just pop the keyboard up and then move the remote subtly, which allows you to type almost as fast as you could using your fingers on a keyboard.
If you’re struggling with the on-screen keyboard, try voice control instead. It can be activated at any time and is super-quick.
LG TV webOS tips and best bits: Multitasking
Multitasking means that your LG TV can effectively run two apps at once, or keep an app running in the background while you flick through menus. This is really useful if – for instance – you’re watching Netflix and want to pop out for a moment to check the Sky schedule or find out the latest footy scores. Since these “apps” are still running on the telly, you can go right back into one and continue where you left off without the need to wait for loading.
This all works impressively fast. You shouldn’t notice any lag when jumping about even between a handful of inputs. On top of that, we haven’t seen any freezing or fails, even when using multiple apps streaming 4K and HDR content.
LG TV webOS tips and best bits: Flinging media
LG webOS makes watching locally-stored content really straight forward. Streaming from a computer, NAS drive, phone or tablet is pretty simple using the DLNA setup.
If your other device has Miracast, that makes it super easy to just fling media onto the big screen, and you can even screen mirror. This is particularly useful for certain streaming video sites that might not be on LG’s platform, like CrunchyRoll or a certain less reputable insanely popular video streaming website; just open it on your mobile and have it play fullscreen mirrored on your telly. This is easily done via the LG TV Plus app.
LG TV webOS tips and best bits: Bean Bird
You’ve got to love Bean Bird. This is a friendly cartoon bird creature that guides you through the setup menu initially and occasionally pops up again from time to time. Remember the paperclip from Microsoft Word? Bean Bird is not that. It’s much cooler, much more fun and we want to see more in the next webOS update. Take note LG.