[CES 2014] It wasn’t a complete secret that LG wanted to use Web OS in its TVs, at least to begin with, but the company has now made it official: Web OS will take LG smart TVs to the next level. This is not the Web OS that you may have known from the Palm days. LG might be using the core code, but it has revisited the user interface (UI) and the user experience (UX) design to make it truly shine on the big screen. LG wants to “make TV simple again” and it we love the idea because it is the one thing that TVs have always been good at. Is it possible to make a Smart TV simple? Maybe.LG’s efforts involve a new way to look at TV content and TV content discovery. This maps perfectly with the two activities most associated with television: watching something and searching something to watch next. It seems obvious, but a quick look at the rather terrible user interface of most televisions or set top boxes will show you that we are very far from this lofty goal. In addition to the traditional “over the air” (OTA), Cable and Satellite content line ups, we now have web videos from Netflix, Hulu and many more Internet services. Since they are typically integrated as “apps”, it does add to the complexity of using the TV because the user experience is not homogenous and consistant.
The solution that LG offers abstracts the “nature” of the content source. It doesn’t matter if the content is coming from Amazon Video or a Cable channel. It will be discovered, presented and switched to and from in the same way. Even video game consoles will appear as “content” alongside Netflix or Youtube. Users will be able to think differently: “I want to play Battlefield” or “I want to watch Batman” instead of figuring out “what device” the TV is connected to. And because users tend to stick to a regular set of activities, LG will have a “history” of content recently watched to be used as a shortcut. This is very similar to a web browsing history.
The idea sounds great, and WebOS is certainly an excellent platform to build this on. Now, we will have to try it for ourselves and see if the user experience lives up to the idea. The LG interface design is modern, simple and beautiful – there is no question about that – and maybe TV can be simple again. In the meantime LG’s 10-foot experience design is one of most beautiful that we have seen in a long while.