LG Electronics diversifies business scope further into smart TV platform market

By Lim Chang-won Posted : February 24, 2021, 11:26 Updated : February 25, 2021, 08:48

[Courtesy of LG Electronics]

SEOUL -- LG Electronics, known for premium OLED TVs, diversified its business scope further into a platform market by providing its software for smart TVs to rival TV brands in the global market, saying it would disrupt "the status quo" in an industry known for proprietary operating systems across different manufacturers.

As an integral component of its home entertainment ecosystem, LG's software platform, webOS, has delivered easy use for LG TV owners through its intuitive interface design since 2014. LG said it would broaden a webOS TV platform ecosystem to other TV brand partners which can get a diversity of content options including access to global streaming service apps.

"The webOS platform is one of the easiest and most convenient way to access millions of hours of movies and TV shows," LG's home entertainment division head Park Hyoung-sei said in a statement on February 24. "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 (user experience) and features that are available on LG TVs."

The move 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, adding that partners get access to global streaming service apps such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and DAZN, a sports streaming service, as well as LG's free premium content streaming service. Compatible TV models also include a dedicated remote controller.

Over 20 TV manufacturers including RCA of the United States, Australia's Ayonz and China's Konka have already committed to the webOS partnership with more partners expected to join, LG said. The webOS ecosystem is supported by technology partners such as Realtek, Nuance, Gracenote, CEVA and Universal Electronics.

LG thinks that if more manufacturers use its platform, they will generate profits and increase contact points with customers to upgrade contents and service businesses. LG said the popularity of webOS TVs is expected to grow as many consumers watch content by connecting electronic devices such as smartphones to TVs due to a COVID-19 pandemic.

As TV makers rush to release smart TVs equipped with operating systems that can run various applications, both software and hardware such as screen size and image quality have become an important factor when consumers choose TVs.

LG has diversified its TV business portfolio. In January, the company acquired a controlling stake in Alphonso, a U.S. software company, to provide customized services and content. Alphonso's software and services including data analytics, media planning and activation would be combined with LG's broad range of home entertainment products.

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