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LG Smart TV platform review

John Archer

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Reviewed:

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LG Smart TV platform
  • LG Smart TV platform

Summary

Our Score:

7

Pros

  • Good interface
  • Lots of content

Cons

  • Many of the smaller apps are pointless
  • The system's infrastructure seems rather unstable
  • The system can run slowly

Key Features

  • BBC iPlayer
  • AceTrax
  • Blinkbox
  • ITN
  • Cartoon Network
  • Manufacturer: LG
  • Review Price: free/subscription

Competition, it would seem, breeds innovation. For the more LG falls out with arch-rival and fellow Korean brand Samsung, the faster it improves. This is especially true where Smart TV functionality is concerned. For while Samsung initially set the pace in this key new TV area, LG has been falling over itself to catch/keep up.

The result is that whereas LG’s 2010 online TV offering lagged well behind Samsung’s, its 2011/2012 offering has caught up almost completely.

For starters, LG also uses a Smart Hub screen to provide you with a one-stop jumping off point to a large number of different sources, including, again, both AV inputs and ‘Smart’ features such as video streaming platforms and smaller apps. LG’s Smart Hub isn’t quite as slick and well organised as Samsung’s, but it’s still much better than the onscreen menus of most other current Smart TV systems.

LG has also put together a pretty inspired system for presenting all the second-tier apps you can browse through with a view to downloading. Basically the app ‘store’ appears as a virtual ‘book shop’, with icons for all of the apps - organised by genre and type - appearing on virtual bookshelves. Excellent.

LG Smart TV platform

LG’s attempts to keep up with the Joneses have also seen it adding more content so fast it’s become hard to keep up with it all. Certainly its Smart TV platform now has plenty of good video stuff to keep you entertained, including the BBC iPlayer, AceTrax, YouTube, Blinkbox, PlayJam, ITN, the Cartoon Network, HiT Entertainment, Autocar, the RedBull TV ‘extreme sports’ channel, and the MLB.tv baseball service. It also has a striking wealth of more niche video services, and dozens and dozens of small utility/game/news apps - including Twitter, Skype and Facebook.

While we mostly admire LG’s enthusiasm and drive in hunting down content, though, our admiration comes with a couple of pretty serious riders.

First, as with Samsung’s Smart TV system, the wealth of smaller, non-video apps available contains rather a lot of tripe. In fact, we’d say the majority of the smaller apps aren’t worth the screen space they appear on. This means it can be harder to find the genuinely useful apps than it should be.

The other problem with LG’s content explosion is that it seems to have got ahead of the ‘engine’ behind LG’s Smart TV service. We’ve consistently found when using LG TVs over the past 12 months that they’re more prone to crashing out when using Smart TV features than the Smart TVs of any other brand. We’ve also found LG’s Smart TV menus to load and respond rather sluggishly.

These are important issues for LG to sort out, since it’s likely that a normal user would only have to experience crashes and long delays a handful of times before they felt put off forever from bothering with their TV’s Smart functionality again.

Overall Score

7

boatbodger

May 12, 2012, 7:45 pm

I concur with the review. Right now, the BBC iPlayer on my set is not working. I asked LG by email and had a response back very quickly saying:

Dear Mr Miller.

Thank you for your email regarding your 42LS570T.
Based on the information you have provided me with and reading through your query, I can advise you that unfortunately the bbc iplayer feature is temporally unavailable due to complications of the application. please be aware that this will be rectified in the near future. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause at present.

Scott

April 17, 2013, 3:57 pm

Unfortunately, LG also has to revise their customer service. I purchased a movie through their apps store, and it didn't play although I have a perfectly fine high speed internet connection and everything else works fine. I contacted them through their site immediately, but they charged my credit card anyway. The only way to contact them is through a web form on their web site. If they are going to have access to my credit card, I want better customer service than that.

Ian Kirkpatrick

May 13, 2013, 2:15 pm

Buffering is a constant problem on Internet Radio, Youtube .... Why

sha

November 11, 2013, 8:16 am

slow internet speed will cause buffering issue

Sarah

November 15, 2013, 10:14 pm

My smart part of the tv is just not very smart, it's fiddly to use, not once have I been able to use itv player it just keeps saying optimising and you tube is rubbish on it and nothing new has come on the apps worth bothering with since I got it a year or more ago! The tv itself is good but have to say lg your apps are pants!!

Tim

December 5, 2013, 11:28 am

Slightly dissapointed with my LG smart TV purchased a few days ago as one of the reasons we wanted it was to use Skype. Having switched it on for the first time I found I had to buy a dongle as an extra to connect to wifi. Now when I got connected and tried to use Skype I find we now have to buy an LG webcam and microphone at another extra cost as the one we have for the computer is not compatable. It looks like everything we need to use is going to cost us extra money which is not what we believed when we bought it in the first place.

Guest

December 16, 2013, 12:13 am

I am sorry, but what about the TV review? I mean it was the review of the smart feature. What about the rest of the tv? Like picture quality and so forth?

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