A new line of TVs isn’t the only thing LG is introducing to the world this year. It’s also getting its TV operating system to TVs it doesn’t make.
Buying a TV that isn’t made by a major manufacturer can be a bit of a crapshoot when it comes to the sort of operating system that sits on them. You might get Google TV, or you might get something else entirely.
It’s not like buying a TV from a major brand. While Sony opts for Google TV, Samsung uses a variant of Tizen for its smart TV, Hisense builds its VIDAA U system, and LG has webOS, there’s also the possibility that you might get an operating system that offers virtually no apps and a slightly hamstrung approach to how it’s used.
The idea of having a smart TV isn’t exactly a new thing, but even when we reviewed Panasonic’s OLED TVs before the company withdrew from the TV market in Australia last year, well let’s just say the television operating system wasn’t the best you could find.
Google’s TV operating system is one option manufacturers can go with, but there may also be another, as LG looks set to expand its WebOS platform to more brands in 2021.
The company announced this week that over 20 manufacturers have committed to using webOS, and while LG cites brands we typically don’t see in Australia — RCA, Ayonz, and Konka — there is one on the list that Australians may recognise: Bauhn.
For folks who shop at Aldi, that name may well be familiar, as it’s the house brand Aldi uses for TVs sold at the store, and for other forms of electronics, as well. With Bauhn on the list set to see webOS, it means Aldi TVs could soon run LG’s webOS, though it may not be the same webOS appearing on LG’s 2021 TVs.
LG hasn’t said whether the version of its webOS will be version 6.0, the latest, but given even older LG TVs won’t get the new version, and it’s just solely for the new chips, our guess is that the previous version is what manufacturers will see. That said, the previous version will continue to be supported, something LG told us earlier in the year, and supports apps from pretty much every major smart TV interface, suggesting TVs using webOS should also support a wide assortment of TV service apps. They’ll also apparently include a Magic Motion remote controller, as a motion-based remote is one of the ways to use the LG webOS system.
“By welcoming other manufacturers to join the webOS TV ecosystem, we are embarking on a new path that allows many new TV owners to experience the same great UX and features that are available on LG TVs,” said Park Hyoung-sei, President of LG.
As to when we’ll start seeing more TVs with LG’s webOS, that remains to be seen. Bauhn isn’t the only brand in the list, with Hyundai and Aiwa also there, two brands that occasionally see release in stores in Australia, alongside the likes of RCA, Evo, Asano, Kongo, and a bunch of other brands we’re not used to seeing here. Bauhn, however, stands out, and it could mean Aldi’s next crop of TVs will include LG’s webOS when they pop up next.