Cheap 4K TVs are about to get much nicer to use, thanks to LG smart TV tech

LG's webOS software is coming to non-LG TVs for the first time

LG webOS 6.0
(Image credit: LG)

LG's TVs sit high on our list of the best TVs not just for their brilliant hardware but also for their excellent smart TV software, webOS. It's no surprise when LG makes so many great high-end and mid-range TVs, but for the first time webOS is now on the way to non-LG devices, including more budget-focused sets. As reported by FlatPanelsHD, the first companies to have the software on licence are Konka and Blaupunkt. 

Feature-wise, it's unclear if everything will remain identical to the LG TV version but this is great news for searching for a streaming service on a cheap 4K TV and not wanting to throw the remote control in frustration. This is quite often what lets down otherwise solid hardware when a purportedly smart TV really doesn't feel particularly smart – it could really open up new models to challenge our lists of the best TVs under $1000, best TVs under £1000, and best TVs under £500.

Even Android TV, while excellent for its array of features, can feel cumbersome to navigate so it can only be a good thing that other manufacturers can have a bite of the webOS cherry. The big outlier when it comes to good smart platforms on cheap TVs is Roku TV – we gave our Platinum Award to the UK's 50-inch Hisense Roku TV. But Roku TV isn't widespread yet, and it's great to see an alternative.

We'll start seeing webOS roll out across Konka and Blaupunkt this year. Konka's U4 LCD range in the US and its U2 line up will both have webOS while its other screens still use Android TV. Meanwhile, Blaupunkt will be making the most of last year's webOS 5.0 across its BP range which is currently running Android TV 9.0. 

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Meanwhile, webOS 6.0 has been announced for new LG TVs with a fully redesigned layout. Revealed last week at CES, webOS 6.0 has a more traditional tiled design than the previous iterations. This update promises to deliver even faster access to our most used apps and will launch first on LG's new Mini-LED TVs in 2021. What LG is calling the Magic Remote will now come as standard with dedicated buttons for Netflix, Prime Video, and Disney+.  

The new webOS will also have native support for both Google's Assistant and Amazon's Alexa which also have dedicated buttons on the remote. LG is even promising that the OS will learn our likes and dislikes with a customised Next Picks section with live TV options. Unfortunately though, if you want all this on your current LG TV, chances are you'll be out of luck as LG hasn't previously delivered this style of OS update. 

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Louise Blain

Louise Blain is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in technology, gaming, and entertainment.  She has a weekly consumer tech slot on BBC Radio Scotland and is the presenter of BBC Radio 3's monthly Sound of Gaming show. She can also regularly be found on BBC Radio 4, BBC Five Live, and The Evolution of Horror podcast as well as writing for GamesRadar and NME. Louise loves finding ways that tech can make our lives better every day and no, she doesn't have enough smart lighting yet.